Like an enigma wrapped in the ridiculous, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) has always been New Girl's biggest and most hilarious question mark. What is his first name? Have we ever heard it? Seen it? Read it somewhere on screen? Nope. Not until Tuesday's episode, that is.
"It only took us six years," says executive producer Dave Finkel, laughing at the long-awaited reveal, which was almost not a thing that happened at all. "We wrote an episode in the first season and we had his name in there, but we cut it. It was like, 'Nah...let's save that for later.' And his name was different then."
Adding that "it's always been a source of discussion in the writers room about when to reveal it and what would be the funniest version of it," Finkel's co-EP Brett Baer recalls that the biggest challenge to keeping Schmidt's first name under wraps came last season with his wedding to Cece (Hannah Simone). Not only did they have to write around his name for the ceremony, "when you go back and watch those episodes, whenever you see their [wedding] invitation, there is a thumb covering his first name."
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But now, it's his last name that Schmidt is having problems with after he begins to, ironically, make a name for himself.
"He's become more ensconced at work and is trying to figure out what his legacy will be," explains Finkel. "And it's Cece who helps him realize that it's time to use his first name, to take it back. It's at her prodding, based on Schmidt's frustration that there are other Schmidts doing other things in the world."
In this exclusive clip, we see the couple slowly come to that conclusion together (although, sadly, there is no follow-through on why he was throwing lightbulbs against the garage).
With so many seasons of not having a first name, the guys admit that they have been all over the map with potential monikers.
"It's been a hundred different things over the years," says Finkel, who credits series creator Liz Meriwether with finally figuring out what it should be during a lunch early last season. "We were all sitting and bulls**tting around," he offers. "And I think it was Liz who said it...then everybody was like, 'Yes, that's it! That is what it's gonna be.'"
Whatever they decided on, Baer feels the name is "the gift that keeps on giving. You'll be hearing a lot more of it" going forward.
And speaking of the future, the producers also confirm that there will be, in Finkel's words, "forward movement" in the Jess-Nick storyline in the April 4 season finale.
"Their friendship has been the core of this relationship since the beginning of the show," continues Baer. "When they tried to have a romance three seasons ago, neither one of them was evolved enough in the way the other needed. Through their friendship over the last couple of seasons and by connecting without any romance involved, they have actually grown the aspects of this relationship that they need to possibly come back together again."
New Girl, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox