Class Difference in New Girl

One of my favorite shows on television is New Girl. For those of you not i. The cult following with me, I will give you a little background. The show features a spunky school teacher named Jess who moves into a loft with three male roommates. There are plenty of discussions to be had about the shows representation of gender, race, etc. but I would like to focus on what it says about class difference by focusing on two characters: Nick and Schmidt.

These two characters have been friends since college, and while they may live in the same place, there is very clearly a vast difference in the amount of money they make. Schmidt has a high paying corporate job while Nick is a bartender. There are plenty of jokes made about their differences in wealth, but the important thing is the reasons that are illustrated for their different situations, and what they suggest about class difference as a whole.

Right off the bat, we know that they both attended the same college, so it is made clear that neither one of them had opportunities that the other didn’t. Nick went on to law school after graduation but wound up dropping out during his final year. This is all information we gain on the first few episodes, and it automatically puts the idea in our heads that Nick is in a lower paying job because he is lazy. He had the chance to be a lawyer but he gave up at the last minute. Schmidt ,on the other hand, has had a position with his company for years, and throughout the show, we watch him make many advancements and achievements in his work. We are also made to have no sympathy for Nick in his situation because he clearly had the means to attend both college and law school, so he has no excuse for not being in a better position.


You also find out, if you watch even one episode, that Nick is incredibly ill tempered. He is constantly irrationally angry, aggressive, and blows up on somebody in almost every episode. Schmidt is much better at keeping his cool, especially in a work environment. Nick is also completely inept at anything that adults do everyday like cooking, managing money, and even maintaining his personal hygiene. He is always in a dirty shirt and jeans and often doesn’t even have clean underwear. Schmidt however, eats healthy, has a great deal of wealth, and has a closet full of suits organized not only by color, but photographed in a binder to pick out the best one for each business meeting. Schmidt paints the picture of an ideal employee while Nick has almost no desirable qualifications. Once again, we are shown that Nick’s lack of success is due to his own shortcomings.


Lazy, aggressive, unintelligent, under qualified, poor work ethic.These are all qualities often associated with the working class to explain their financial situations, all of which place all the blame solely on their shoulders rather than anything g class. None of these qualities are necessarily true about the members of the working class, but these stereotypes are incredibly common. In this show, the characters Nick and Schmidt are beat friends and even live in the exact same apartment. But these stereotypes are still clear as day and make it known that people are in certain economic positions in life have only themselves to blame.


6 thoughts on “Class Difference in New Girl

  1. I love this show! I like that you used it as an example of the different types of representations and frameworks of the working class. For me, it is so easy to get wrapped up in analyzing the working class in family sitcoms I completely forgot there were shows with these-aged people out there. Soon we’ll be graduating and going out into the real world, and watching Nick’s character helps encourage me to work as hard as I can because it does seem pretty true – you’re a failure in the working class if you don’t put in any effort. The show does a good job using Schmidt to show that even if you are in the working class, if you make an effort and do your best, good things will follow. Nice analysis!


  2. I think this is a really great example of class difference. I’ve watched this show before and never really thought of the characters in that way, because with their class descriptions, it feels like you should like Schmidt more, but in the context of the show, I personally don’t like Schmidt at all, he seems cocky and arrogant, until they show portions of the show that is showcased in his job. An example of this is the Christmas party in which he had to dress up as sexy Santa, because he was one of the only guys that works there, this showed him as being degraded for being a man, and made you feel sorry for him, just like every other episode makes you feel sorry for Nick. Great post overall!


  3. Having recently watched a few episodes of New Girl for our group project, I definitely can see how Nick is stereotyped as a “working class” citizen. In one of the episodes I watched Nick was portrayed again as being lazy, incompetent, and even unintelligent for procrastinating in finishing his novel. It is interesting how the working class is such a stereotyped group, especially on TV when in so many ways it is inaccurate. I think this is a great comparison between the two roommates and really makes you understand and notice the working class stereotype even more.


  4. I love this show as well and knowing all the characters, i can really tell how the show really trys to play off of their economic status into how the characters act. Whether it be from Jess being a quirky, care free girl who appears to not have a lot if any money based on her clothes, attitude, and demeanor, too Schmidt who obviously has the most money amongst the group and appears to be the most logical and smart one.


  5. You had such a great observation about the two characters of the show New girl. I like the way you analyzed the two different characteristics of those two guys, which clearly gave the portrays of two different classes in the society. Even though this could be stereotypical, but the show did make a good job about giving the audience, especially the young ones, to work hard on your career in order to have a better economics position and better living standard also.


  6. Thank you for bringing this up! I’ve been watching all three seasons of New Girl and the way Nick is represented drives me crazy. I like how you address how Nick represents the middle class and shows them as lazy, angry and not clean. I think it would also be interesting to point out that Schmidt dates gorgeous supermodel while Nick is rarely able to main a relationship and he when he does it’s with someone who is also middle class. Examining the romantic relationships that Schmidt and Nick have also says something about their class.


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