Post Mortems
New Girl Schmidt's Name is Winston

New Girl: Here's the Story Behind Schmidt's LOL First Name

The following story contains major spoilers about Tuesday’s New Girl. Proceed at your own peril. And we repeat — if you haven’t watched the episode, don’t read any further.

Is New Girl big enough for two Winstons?! The Fox comedy posed that very unlikely question in Tuesday’s penultimate Season 6 episode when it was disclosed that Schmidt’s elusive first name is eerily, coincidentally, hilariously similar to bestie Winston’s. Actually, it is Winston. 

Below, exec producers Brett Baer and Dave Finkel break down the story behind the long-awaited revelation, while also weighing in on the episode’s other major plot turn — the breakup of Nick and Reagan and the looming second coming of Nick and Jess. The pair also offers an update on New Girl‘s very uncertain future beyond next week’s finale.

TVLINE | How long have you known that Schmidt’s name was Winston?
BRETT BAER | Dave and I wrote an outline for [Season 1] Episode 14 where we revealed what Schmidt’s name was and we decided to hold off. It was just too early. But the funny thing is, it wasn’t [Winston] at all. Over the course of six years there have been a lot of iterations of what Schmidt’s name was. And we stumbled on the [Winston] idea early into Season 5. I think [series creator] Liz [Meriwether] came up with it over lunch, and we thought it was hilarious. And then it became a question of when to pull that trigger. There was some debate about doing it during [Schmidt’s Season 5 wedding to Cece] and then we decided to wait.
DAVE FINKEL | We were waiting for the moment when it felt right and most impactful. And we still don’t know if there will be a Season 7, so it’s one of those things where if we’re going to do it, we better do it [now].

TVLINE | Did you keep it a secret from Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris?
BAER | It was a secret. We kept it in the writers room for as long as we could. And I have to say, the table read [for this episode] was one of the best table reads we’ve ever had because everyone was learning about it at the same time. I could tell by the response they were having while reading the script that they seemed to dig it.

TVLINE | The other big development in the episode: Nick and Reagan broke up. Does Megan Fox still have a role on the show should there be a seventh season?
BAER
| Absolutely. One of the great things about this show is we’ve established this great family of characters that will sometimes leave the show and then reappear in surprising ways… We’re so fortunate to have such incredible and funny actors on the show, and when they’re available to return we will always find ways to weave them back in.

TVLINE | Is Nick and Jess’ seemingly inevitable reunion also a byproduct of the show’s uncertain future? Like, it’s now or never?
BAER | That obviously plays a part in it. I think it would be really disappointing to have the show go off the air and not give the audience a satisfactory conclusion to a story line that’s been the engine of the show since Season 1. That said, we’re obviously hoping [for a Season 7]. We have ideas for how to propel the show into the future. But we didn’t want to go off the air without answering this question.
FINKEL | People are so rabid about [Nick and Jess] it would be unfair to deprive them of [a resolution].

TVLINE | Alternately, if they do get back together in next week’s finale and the show does get renewed for Season 7, then you’re back to trying to figure out how to make Nick and Jess as interesting together as they were apart. 
FINKEL | They will still be characters in flux. I definitely think they’ve grown in massive ways since the last time they were together, but are they ready for each other yet? I don’t necessarily know. They are still weirdos.
BAER | We’ve also got a couple of ideas on the table that [would give] us some creative opportunities to move things in a different direction [in a potential Season 7]. I don’t want to get too specific. But we don’t feel too hemmed in by anything.

TVLINE | Ten-year time jump?
BAER | There’s been talk… [Laughs]
FINKEL | There has been talk.

TVLINE | Jake Johnson’s gut seems to be telling him Season 6 will likely be the end. Is your gut saying the same?
FINKEL | We still feel like we have stories to tell. And given where the season finale ends, you can sort of see where we could pick up and where future stories can come from.
BAER | All indications are that it’s a very good possibility that we are coming back. I think what Jake was responding to was the fact that we were trying to… end the season in a way that could satisfy audiences.

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22 Comments
  1. Tali says:

    Oh man, that is hilarious

  2. Rachel says:

    I do have to say that the nick aly scenes were quite hilarious.

    • Angela says:

      Nick is my favorite character, probably because Jake Johnson makes his eccentricity so believable, and his scene partners always seem to react realistically.

  3. Gina says:

    I love when we get to see Nick be Nick. I feel like Reagan took that away from him because she didn’t understand it. This episode was great. And I loved the introduction of Winston St. Marie Schmidt.

  4. A. D. says:

    Jess is so grating anymore..worst part of the show…Nick and Regan were great together…just end the show.

    • Helen says:

      Nick and Reagan sucked and had zero chemistry. Thank God she’s gone and we’re back to the main cast.

    • Lauren says:

      In what world were Nick and Reagan great? Their scenes were cringeworthy and void and honestly, worst pairing ever in the show, even worse than Jess and Robby.

    • LM. N says:

      I’m not sure you’re watching this show. Nick and Reagan were the worst and only made it more obvious Nick and Jess are endgame. It didn’t help that Megan Fox can no longer move her face and show emotion, but it was just plain lazy writing. Hopefully Nick and Jess will be back as good as they were in the first few seasons and we can forget Reagan was ever a thing.

  5. peterwdawson says:

    I love it just in concept alone: you get so many shows where no one shares the same first name, even when it comes to common names like Steve or Jim, and now we have one where two main characters have the seemingly less common given name of Winston. Everything else was just icing, delicious icing.

  6. Lauren says:

    Winston St Marie Schmidt. I love it! Great episode.

  7. annna says:

    Nick and Jess are interesting together, thank you very much. I just want one more season to wrap everything up. Come on Fox!

  8. jimmijeggo says:

    Cheers for putting a spoiler in the title of your article. This came on my news feed before I watched the episode. Absolute joke

    • A fan of TV says:

      If you watch the show regularly the Nick/Reagan/Jess stuff is no shock, and what’s Schmidt’s name is not a spoiler, it’s a gag. Breathe.

  9. Larry says:

    Nike and Regan were great together but cmon Nick and Jess are endgame.

    • carmackkate says:

      That’s the pace of TV news for ya!
      TVLine most likely knew about the reveal ahead of the episode (they published an article naming famous characters whose names we didn’t fully know,) and publishing this article immediately after the episode airs gives them a leg up on google searches, people looking to discuss the reveal, and those wanting to read reviews.

  10. Mike L. says:

    I thought last night was the best episode of New Girl in a while. That being said, the last 2 seasons have not lived up to what the show once was. I think I’d be ok if it doesn’t come back next season.

  11. Kailani says:

    i can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. It was PERFECT.

  12. carmackkate says:

    I LOVED it!
    They timed it the reveal very well, it aided the story but didn’t distract from bigger story lines (like it would have had they revealed it during the wedding.)
    Loved the throwback to the Winston and Schmidt “fight” in the episode “Puzzles.”

    I’m hoping for a Nick-Jess reunion next week and am wondering how they’ll film it with Zooey being pregnant, no wide-angled shots or Nick sweeping her off her feet, I’m assuming.

  13. Stephanie says:

    In college, my husband’s name was Richard and a guy I went to school with was also named the same thing. Whenever I talked about going out of town with Richard, the people at school would get very confused, so from then on he was known by his last name. On top of it, we became very good friends with the college friend Richard and his wife. Needless to say, 20 years later and even through my divorce, we still call college friend Richard by his last name.

  14. Ella says:

    I really liked Nick and Reagan together. Them turning that relationship sour so quickly was a huge disservice to both characters and very poor writing. Jess is just horribly annoying and Zooey is lucky she has a great supporting cast to propel this show forward.

  15. sonia says:

    so happy nick and regan finally broke up. worst couple ever. hate megan fox characther so bad.
    Nick and Jess are always been the essence of the show since s1 for me. So I’m happy we have them reunite, hoping in s7 and the possibility to see them together. I’m disagree with the conception they were the ploblem of s3. for example biirthday is one of my favorite ep of the show.

  16. karmilleryn says:

    The related gallery, “TV Characters with Mystery Names,” was great, but it was missing what I consider to be 3 big ones (WARNING: SPOILERS FOR “NCIS: LA,” “THE NIGHT SHIFT,” AND “GREEK” BELOW):

    1. what Callen’s “G” stands for on “NCIS: LA” (“Grisha,” revealed along with middle names “Aleksandrovich Nikolaev,” in S7E16, I believe)

    2. what Callahan’s “TC” stands for on “The Night Shift” (“Thomas Charles,” revealed in either S3E10 or 11, I believe)

    3. what Cappie’s real name was on “Greek” (“Captain John Paul Jones,” revealed in the series finale, I believe)