Two weeks ago, one of my strongest held beliefs was questioned and turned into a trending topic on Twitter. As someone who doesn’t practice a religious faith, I am, naturally, talking about an affront towards one of my TV boyfriends, New Girl’s Nick Miller. Nick Miller, brought charmingly to life by actor Jake Johnson, is a man who has perfected both the grumpy turtle face and the kiss of a coal miner greeting his wife. In late January, a Twitter user announced, “There’s no way Nick Miller pulled all these women.” The tweet was accompanied by photos of four gorgeous women Nick dated over New Girl’s seven seasons on FOX: Reagan (Megan Fox), Julia (Lizzy Caplan), Angie (Olivia Munn), and the sitcom’s heroine Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel).
Social media debate erupted over the pros and cons of Nick, whose credit score was once lovingly likened to that of a “homeless ghost.” But, for those still questioning Nick’s ability to attract an eligible bachelorette, it’s clear they haven’t seen New Girl’s second Valentine’s Day episode — season 4’s “The Crawl,” which aired in 2015 — in a very long time (or ever).
Go watch “The Crawl” — after you finish reading this — and you’ll realize Nick isn’t simply catnip for the beautiful wide-eyed brunette ladies who populate New Girl. Nick has the kind of charisma that can move entire mobs of people. The appeal of Nick Miller is undeniable.
“The Crawl” begins with Nick at his lowest. Cool girl slacker Kai (Russian Doll’s Greta Lee), granddaughter of Nick’s “best friend” Tran (Ralph Ahn), has just broken up with Nick because he is “too ambitious” (a critique Nick has never received previously). After all, no one is claiming Nick’s charm may not fade over time for certain women — just that it’s strong enough to capture someone’s attention long enough to start a relationship. After a week of hiding out in his bedroom, post-split, Nick emerges to announce that an establishment called Doug’s Ale House has just opened up in the perfect location to complete his long-imagined downtown L.A. bar crawl. Nick requests everyone’s attendance at his self-created crawl, which is happening that precise evening. On Valentine’s Day night. Still all of Nick’s friends move their schedules around to give Nick what he wants.
This move, in itself, is power.
The case for Nick really picks up as the New Girl crew settles into the crawl. At the second bar, a random bargoer (literally credited as Random Guy on IMDb) overhears Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) mention Nick’s bar crawl in conversation. Within milliseconds, Random Guy is in front of Nick, baring his soul. “I just got dumped, so this holiday is really kicking me in the penis. It’s been a real kick in the gooch,” he admits. Without missing a beat, Nick says, “Not anymore it’s not,” and invites a complete stranger on the crawl. It’s clear that Random Guy innately knows that Nick won’t judge him for showing his true self.
The motto of the crawl is born: “The crawl is for all.” One clinking of glasses between Nick and Random Guy turns into a chorus of cheers-ing with multiple strangers standing around Nick, pulled into his inviting energy. The next time we see Nick’s crawl followers, the group has ballooned to at least nine people. “The single, the lonely, the close-talkers, the shockingly pale, the stank-mouths,” Nick lists, describing the “crawlers.” If most people were to say such a thing about worshiping strangers, it would sound terrible. But, from Nick, the words are pragmatically loving; he knows these people’s flaws and he still wants to hang out with them anyway. By the fifth stop, Nick’s acolytes are so expansive, the crawl group can pack an entire bar. At this point, Nick also rekindles the affections of his co-worker Mike (Ben Falcone) after a litany of inebriated (and odd) kind words, much to Mike’s chagrin. “Oh no, my crush is back. I hate myself,” Mike complains when Nick is out of earshot.
At the end of the crawl, Nick ferries almost two dozen people into Doug’s Ale House. As he comes to the sad realization that his decade of work is complete, Jess tries to cheer him up by naming his unavoidable sway over strangers. “You’re a smart and talented guy. And tonight we found out that you have a weird, Manson-esque charisma!,” she says.
That same charisma is what started Nick’s relationships with Julia, Angie, Raegan, and Jess. When we first meet Julia in season 1’s “The Story of the 50,” you can see how much she appreciates Nick’s unapologetic weirdness at a lawyer party, calling him “ridiculously attractive” for his relentless awkwardness. Nick starts dating Angie when he gets personal with her at the bar, urging her to dump her terrible boyfriend. Nick nearly gets throttled for his drunk meddling, but Angie appreciates Nick’s thoughtfulness and makes out with him while sitting on top of the Griffin bar. Jess and Raegan — Nick’s longest term relationships — fall for Nick while living with him in the loft, where he is boundlessly his messy self. Nick also cares about their well-being more than anyone else around. Please never forget Nick tossing Jess a box of tissues and calling her “honey” as she tearfully processes their breakup in season 3. It’s one of the sweetest moments in a purposefully very sweet show.
On Valentine’s Day, all of Downtown Los Angeles could not help but fall for those charms.