New Girl technically ended in 2018, but for obsessive fans like myself, the sitcom lives on via streaming services and viral Twitter accounts like @nocontextmiller, which churns out gems like, “Stop being so mean to me or I swear to God I’m gonna fall in love with you!”
And now, amidst a recent wave of beloved shows being rebooted and spun off (Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Game of Thrones, etc.), we’re hearing murmurs about a potential New Girl reboot. Interesting! Co-stars Zooey Deschanel, Hannah Simone, and Lamorne Morris recently launched a podcast revisiting each episode (a la Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s hit pod Office Ladies), suggesting they, too, still hold a candle for Apt. 4D.
But Max Greenfield, who played Schmidt, isn’t so sure if the time is right for a New Girl revival—and he makes some great points. “I think if Liz [Meriwether] wanted to do it, who created the show, obviously, she thought there was some way back in. It would definitely be something I would be open to, but it’s tough,” Greenfield told E! News on Friday. Unlike the recent Friends reunion, he said, New Girl’s finale just “wasn’t that long ago.” (Friends ended in 2004, so it’s been 18 years, compared to four years since New Girl.)
A reboot so soon would also probably have to unravel all the happy endings the main characters got in the finale, he said. “The writers worked really hard on wrapping it all up in a way that was hopefully satisfying to the audience and satisfying to these characters. If you go back into it, it means you got to undo that, and that to me is argument enough to really question whether to go back or not.”
While Schmidt and I may disagree on a lot of things—namely Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—I have to agree with him here. Look, I love nostalgia! Starting new shows and diving into new worlds is agonizing for me. To relax, I much prefer turning to old reliables like Parks and Rec, The Office, and New Girl for a 17th rewatch.
But reboots come with pretty significant risk, especially if the original show’s finale was actually great (unlike, say, How I Met Your Mother). And if not much time has passed, what was even the point of making a finale? It’s akin to Tom Brady retiring and then un-retiring after a week, or hugging someone goodbye on the sidewalk and then realizing you’re both walking the same direction. It’s just kind of awkward.
I don’t know that there’s a set amount of time that makes a reboot acceptable. Sex and the City took about 20 years to return in the form of And Just Like That, and while the latter obviously couldn’t match the original series (a reboot rarely can, but this one didn’t stand a chance without Samantha), the show still managed to be kind of great on its own. No one expected to see the same four young single women talking about their dating lives, but it was still interesting to see where those women ended up after marriages and kids and all the things life threw at them over two decades.
Other shows have jumped the gun. How I Met Your Mother was rebooted just six years after its finale—and while I found How I Met Your Father to be passably charming, critics universally panned it, writing that the show is “stale,” “unbearable,” and “offers no reason to watch other than fondness for the original.” As critic Rylan Bassett aptly observed: HIMYF “uses the same universe, same apartment, same formula and basically the same title” as HIMYM, and “in doing so, they invite the same standards”—which any reboot would fail to meet, especially as the original remains fresh in everyone’s minds.
New Girl could go that route and launch a reboot in the next couple years called Newer Girl or New Boy, or whatever, that’s watchable enough but inevitably lacks the magic of the original. And I’d probably still watch it, honestly. But Greenfield is right: There’s a reason why Friends wasn’t rebooted as something like Still Friends! a few years after it ended, following Rachel and Joey in their same apartments with slightly nicer furniture and a couple extra smile lines. Perhaps it cheapens a beloved, iconic TV series to not let people miss it for long enough to be able to appreciate it in a new form.