Jessica “Jess” Day makes a big impression on the New Girl audience from the moment she’s introduced in the pilot, comparing finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her to a woman trapped in a horror movie. She sings her way through excitable situations, is open with her feelings, and makes a whole new set of friends when she moves into apartment 4D.
Jess is an open book throughout the series. She’s not one to hide how she feels, and she’s always ready with an anecdote about her past. There is still, however, plenty of things for New Girl fans to learn about Jess — or perhaps, a few things they might have missed while watching the show.
10 When Did Jess Begin Teaching?
As the series begins, Jess is a middle school teacher who loves to sing and do impressions. She’s been teaching at Coolidge Middle School for six years, which comes up several times throughout the first season. What’s interesting to note, however, is that’s likely her first teaching job.
Jess is almost 30 with a master’s degree, so she would have completed her education about six years before the series starts — just in time for her to get her teaching job at Coolidge. That means that 2006, the year she lists starting her job on her roommate application, is also her first year as a teacher.
9 When Is Her Birthday?
Nearly all of the main characters celebrate a birthday at some point in the series, though the date of their birth is never stated on-screen. In the case of Jess, her birthday was revealed when FOX released roommate applications as promotional images for the show.
Jess’ application revealed her birthday as February 13, making her an Aquarius. Interestingly, most astrology fans seem to agree that Jess fits the sign of Pisces better, and with the dates never referenced in the show, it’s debatable as to whether or not her February 13 birthday is considered canon.
8 What Is One Hobby Jess Never Reveals In The Show?
Fans of New Girl know that Jess loves to knit, plays the guitar, and has an obsession with all things crafty. She does, however, has one hobby listed in that roommate application that never makes it into the show.
Jess writers fanfiction. Specifically, Nancy Drew fan-fiction. Fans of the detective now have the CW’s adaptation of the series, but it’s different than the fanfiction Jess describes in her application. Jess actually likes to write from the point of view of the criminals before Nancy catches them.
7 How Many Episodes Of New Girl Does Jess Appear In?
Though the show is very centered on Jess in the beginning, it becomes much more of an ensemble by the time the second season rolls around. That’s a good thing because it leaves room for characters to come and go.
When Zooey Deschanel became pregnant with her daughter while filming the fourth season, the show moved right into shooting season 5 so that the writers could find a way to have Jess absent for a few episodes for Deschanel’s maternity leave. Jess ends up appearing in 141 episodes of the show’s 146 episode run.
6 What Was The Original Comfort Movie For Jess?
The first episode of the series sees Jess watch Dirty Dancing on a loop. It’s her go-to comfort movie when she’s had a bad breakup. Dirty Dancing, however, wasn’t in the initial script.
The first script for the pilot features a lot of things that would be changed by the time the series started shooting. One of those is Jess’ choice in movie. Her original comfort movie is actually Pretty Woman. She watches it so much that by the end of the script’s draft, her new roommates are quoting the movie along with her. Because the movie is quoted and quick clips are shown in the episode, it’s entirely possible that Pretty Woman was too expensive for the producers to get the broadcast rights for. It’s also possible that in editing, the change was made simply because the writers liked Dirty Dancing better. Fans might never know.
5 How Many Times Does Jess End Up In The Middle Of An Awkward Proposal?
As the characters in New Girl evolve, there are a lot of marriage proposals and weddings. Jess ends up right in the middle of several of them. She ends up helping Paul propose to his new girlfriend after he confesses to cheating on her with Jess, but that’s only the first one.
When her father starts dating someone she went to high school with, Jess is initially uncomfortable with the idea. But after realizing how much her father loves this woman, Jess decides to help him propose — and gets run over by a bunch of cyclists in the process. She also gets proposed to by a football player after spending just one day hanging out with him, and helps Winston propose to Aly in a bathroom when Aly thinks she’s a criminal. Jess even finds herself present for Schmidt’s proposal to Cece when Schmidt decides to forgo attempting to date her again after finding out Cece is still in love with him, finds the ring Schmidt’s mother has for her girlfriend, and has to chase a dog across town when Nick plans to propose. That’s seven proposals Jess has been present for.
4 Which Actress Almost Played Jess?
When Zooey Deschanel became the titular New Girl, she also became a producer on the series, allowing her a certain amount of input in the character of Jess. Jess draws a lot from Deschanel’s own personality and series creator Elizabeth Meriwether. Deschanel, however, wasn’t the choice for the character.
Before Deschanel was cast, television veteran Amanda Bynes was up for the part. With a string of successful movies and a place in teen sitcoms, she could have made Jessica Day a very different character.
3 What Do Nick And Jess Name Their Son?
While Nick and Jess are dating, Nick drops a bombshell: he already has a name picked out for their firstborn if they stay together. The name is a result of losing a bet to Schmidt. Some fans might have thought that Jess would never agree to losing out on the chance to name her son because of a bet made to Schmidt, but they would be wrong.
Nick reveals the name is Reginald VelJohnson, the name of the actor who starred as Carl Winslow in Family Matters. When the series finale flash-forwards several years to see how the group ends up, Jess and Nick’s son is, in fact, credited with the character name of Reginald VelJohnson, so she did honor the bet.
2 Which Actresses Inspire Jess?
In addition to Deschanel and Meriwether, Jessica Day actually has some other inspiration from the world of entertainment. In an interview, Meriwether revealed two other women helped to inspire Jess.
Meriwether binge-watched the series Green Wing when she started writing New Girl’s story and found inspiration in the performance of actress Tamsin Greig. Meriwether cited Greig’s “tonal shifts” in the series as a focal point. Greig also went on to star in Episodes. Meriwether also mentioned Diane Keaton in the interview and her “honest” performance in comedy.
1 Where Is Jess Originally From?
Fans of the series hear quite frequently that Jess is from Portland, Oregon — “land of books.” That isn’t the case in the original pilot.
In the original version of the script, the series is set in New York instead of Los Angeles. Jess moves to New York to teach, just as she becomes a teacher in Los Angeles in the finished series. That pilot, however, reveals that she’s originally from Michigan instead.