New Girl Improved One Of Friends’ Most Controversial Elements

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There are many similarities between New Girl and Friends, but the former did something better than the latter: Fat Schmidt. Let’s take a look.

New Girl and Friends have some things in common, but there’s one thing that Jess and company did better and the six friends from New York City: Fat Schmidt. Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, New Girl is a sitcom that made its debut on Fox in 2011 and was so well-received from the beginning that it lived on for six more seasons, coming to an end in 2018. The series was praised for its tone and the performances of its main cast, and while it has some similarities to other sitcoms, particularly Friends, it took notes and improved some of its elements.

New Girl followed Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), a young teacher who after finding out that her boyfriend was cheating on her, moved into a loft with three strangers she found on the internet. After a period of adjustment that wasn’t easy for anyone, Jess ended up being very close to her roommates Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Nick Miller (Jake Johnson), and Winston (Lamorne Morris), with her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone) also joining the fun. While all the characters were well-received by the audience, the one who made the biggest impact was Schmidt, and a part of his backstory, although it mirrored that of Monica Geller in Friends, actually improved it.

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Related: New Girl: Why Schmidt Never Used His First Name (It’s A Plot Hole)

Schmidt was introduced as a ladies’ man who was too concerned about his image and what others thought of him, to the point where he could be very cocky and even offensive, so much that Nick and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) had a “douchebag jar” just for him. Viewers better understood why Schmidt acted the way he did when New Girl began to show flashbacks of him in university, where it was revealed that he was overweight, which is exactly what Friends did with Monica. In fact, Monica and Schmidt share a couple of traits, such as always wanting to be in control and wanting people to like them, but New Girl managed Fat Schmidt better than Friends did with Fat Monica.

Among the many problems of Fat Monica are that the characters (which are her friends and family) constantly mocked her weight problems, she was used for the laughs, and she was an exaggerated and childish version of Monica, which was also portrayed as a loner, loser, and unlovable, thus perpetuating the TV and film stereotype of overweight individuals. Fat Schmidt, on the other hand, was the same Schmidt viewers met in the present timeline of New Girl, and he never let his weight get in the way of dating. Schmidt dated Elizabeth (Merritt Wever) for four years during his “Fat Schmidt” time but broke up due to his change in behavior after his weight loss. Surely, Schmidt became more confident and thus cocky once he lost weight, and if anything, “slim” Schmidt was an exaggerated version of Fat Schmidt. Unlike Monica, who lost weight after Chandler made a mean comment about her, Fat Schmidt most likely decided to lose weight just because he wanted to, as he had been overweight all his life.

Surely, Fat Schmidt isn’t flawless, and he shares the same problem as Fat Monica: fat-shaming. While Monica’s friends and family were the ones who constantly reminded her of her “fat past”, it’s Schmidt the one who often reminds others that he was overweight, and makes a lot of emphasis on how much his life changed after he lost the extra weight. Fat Schmidt wasn’t unlovable nor dumb and useless, but New Girl sent the message that had he not lost weight, he wouldn’t have been as successful as he was. Still, New Girl took note of what Friends did and improved its “fat character” portrayal, but not without a couple of flaws.

Next: What Happened To Schmidt After New Girl Ended

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