‘New Girl’: The One Way Schmidt Was Just Like ‘Friends’ Character Joey Tribbiani
Seven years after Friends aired its final episode, New Girl premiered it’s very first. The two shows, about 20-somethings figuring out their lives, were similar in a lot of ways. Viewers can draw parallels between several of the characters, but Schmidt from New Girl and Joey Tribbiani from Friends were perhaps the most similar. Max Greenfield, the actor who portrayed Schmidt, designed it that way. He has made it clear that he took a lot from characters like Joey and Barney from How I Met Your Mother, too.
Joey and Schmidt were both womanizers who were still lovable with a big heart
Schmidt and Joey’s most obvious common trait was their womanizing ways and their redemption stories. Joey, years before New Girl creators dreamed up Schmidt, hit on every woman who happened to walk by him. He was known for sleeping with girls, never calling them back, and hitting on women in inappropriate scenarios. For example, he tried to pick up Rachel in the pilot episode while still wearing her wedding dress. He had a huge heart through it all, and he proved that when he fell for Rachel Green.
Schmidt had similar womanizing tendencies. With something to prove, Schmidt’s main goal was to pick up as many girls as he could. Just like Joey, though, he had a huge heart and was willing to go out of his way for his friends when they needed him most. He, also just like Joey, retired his player card when he fell in love with Jess Day’s best friend, Cece Parekh.
Joey and Schmidt both were both the more over-the-top characters of their respective shows
Aside from their love for the ladies, Joey and Schmidt were the more over-the-top characters on their respective shows, too. In a lot of ways, they were both caricatures of real people with exaggerated attributes. Those exaggerated attributes were unique to each character. Joey was portrayed as dim and easily confused. Schmidt was bright, but overly fastidious and controlling.
Schmidt and Joey both had interesting characters to play off of, though. Joey had Phoebe Buffay and Monica Geller. Phoebe was flighty and incredibly free-spirited. Monica was a neat freak who liked to control everything around her. New Girl fans could argue that Jess’s character was similar to Pheobe, and Nick Miller’s persona bared a resemblance to Chandler Bing.
Max Greenfield used Joey Tribbiani as inspiration for his New Girl character
Greenfield has been open about his inspiration for his signature character. Schmidt was a unique person, but Greenfield used the archetype created by Joey to craft Schmidt’s persona. He said that he realized, pretty early on, that Nick and Jess would be the main focus, but that he could easily become that third wheel who always hit the punchlines.
In an interview with Indie Wire, Greenfield insisted that he could “go big” and, essentially, become the Joey of New Girl because of his colleagues. He said, “…my feeling was if you were going to have these two grounded characters who were doing incredible work — just really, really good solid single cam acting — there needed to be the big explosive joke hitter. You needed that.”