Apparently, There’s a Bear in Every Episode of ‘New Girl’
Have you seen every episode of New Girl? Have you memorized each and every offense for which Schmidt had to put a dollar in the Douchebag Jar? Can you tell which season an episode is in just from whether or not Winston has a cat or a girlfriend? Okay, but did you notice there’s a bear in every single episode?
Yes, eagle-eyed viewers of the show, which ran from 2011 to 2018 and has enjoyed sustained popularity and relevance on Netflix, spotted there is a bear of some kind in all 146 episodes (maybe—getting to this in a bit) of the series, either seen or referenced in dialogue.
Some of them are obvious: Nick, from Chicago, is a huge fan of the Chicago Bears (or as Jess calls them, the Brown Bears). Josh Gad plays a character named Bearclaw. But other bears are subtle: a picture of a bear on a fridge or on the California state flag in a courtroom scene.
The Grand Unified Theory of Bears in New Girl comes, as all such theories do, from Reddit, in a recently recirculated thread that actually ended six years ago. According to users on that thread, which went up midway through the show’s run, the bear references aren’t as obvious (or, perhaps, real) in the “newer” episodes, unless Winston’s nickname “Winnie the Bish” counts as a Winnie the Pooh reference. However, according to one user, a commentary track on the season one DVD makes it clear there is supposed to be a bear reference in every episode. So this might have been something the writers did at first intentionally and always, but it phased out over time.
It seems I have no choice but to, in the name of journalistic integrity, rewatch the entire series from the beginning. Hard work, but someone has to do it.