Nick Miller wasn’t always going to be the lazy one of the loft, as the creator of New Girl had a very different plan for him. Here’s what it was.
Nick Miller became one of the most popular and beloved characters of New Girl, but had the production crew gone with the original plan for the character, he wouldn’t have had the same impact. Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, New Girl debuted on Fox in 2011 and was very well-received from the beginning, which allowed it to continue for six more seasons, coming to an end in 2018. What critics and viewers liked the most about New Girl was its tone and sense of humor, and critics pointed out the performances of Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson as the best from seasons 1 and 2, respectively.
New Girl followed Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), a young teacher who moved into a loft with three strangers she found on the internet after she discovered that her boyfriend was cheating on her. Adapting to a new roommate wasn’t easy, but Jess ended up being very close to her roommates Schmidt (Greenfield), Nick Miller (Johnson), Coach (Damon Wayans Jr), and Winston (Lamorne Morris), to the point where they became family. Jess and Nick ended up getting married and a flashforward in the series finale showed that they had a son at some point, which speaks volumes about the character development of both, but especially Nick’s.
Nick was a law school dropout who worked as a bartender. He was lazy, very sarcastic, and apathetic, and spent a big part of season 1 trying to get over his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Caroline. Nick was the complete opposite of his best friend Schmidt, who constantly worried about Nick’s present and future – and, with time, Jess and Winston also became very worried about him. Nick’s (a bit too) care-free personality helped him become very popular with viewers, but that wasn’t the original plan for the character, and he was actually going to be the exact opposite of what viewers are now familiar with.
Speaking to Wake Up in 2013, Jake Johnson revealed that Meriwether’s original plan for Nick was for him to be the smartest one of the group, so much that he didn’t need to say that. Meriwether saw him as “the everyman one, who’s stepping away and commenting on what all the crazy people are doing around him”. Meriwether reportedly followed the advice given by producer Jake Kasdan and focused on casting good actors and writing the characters for them instead of forcing them into the roles she had envisioned. This prompted various changes in the characters, among those Nick, who ended up being completely different from what she had in mind at the beginning.
There was a hint of innocence in many of the things Nick did throughout New Girl, which was a big part of his charm. Nick’s attitude was, more often than not, quite relatable, and being the one resident of the loft who refused to be an adult for so long resonated with the audience. Thankfully, Nick wasn’t stuck and actually grew a lot over the course of seven seasons, so much that he lost his fear of commitment and built his own family with Jess.