Your television is a world inhabited by great looking people. It’s the only place where you have cops, doctors, and lawyers who could easily be models. And that’s because many of them are played by former models. Most successful actors are, in general, pretty good looking people (or are Steve Buscemi). And it’s all because it is no secret that people prefer to look at attractive people when they flip on the TV. Ask the folks who do the casting for Big Brother or The Real World. They have their choice of thousands of normal people for those “reality” shows, yet the final cast always ends up looking like an Abercrombie catalog.
What makes the “hot people on TV” phenomenon interesting is when you have a character that is supposed to be a total mess, but all their dating options are still hot people. A perfect case is New Girl’s lovable but hopeless Nick Miller.Not signed in
Now Jake Johnson (and thus Nick Miller) is actually fairly good looking guy. So none of the following is a critique of his looks. But if you watch the show you know that each week they reveal at least one bizarre (and often hilarious) fact about Nick Miller that establishes him as a total train wreck of a person. These are the types of fatal flaws that in real life would send women running and would force a Nick Miller-type to dramatically lower their standards. But none of that happens in TV land. Through five seasons of New Girl, broke, unhygienic, sarcastic, grumpy Nick Miller has dated characters played by some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, and in some cases the planet. To illustrate how improbable this would be outside of a TV show, let’s look at some manipulatively photogenic photos of the women playing Nick Miller’s flames paired with actual facts about Nick Miller the character:
At the start of the series Nick is recovering from a breakup with Caroline, played by Mary Elizabeth Ellis (below). Ignore for a second that in a crossover show scenario Charlie from Always Sunny in Philadelphia would straight up murder Nick for dating The Waitress. In New Girl we have Nick Miller, who doesn’t believe in either the moon landing or dinosaurs, dating woman who looks like this:Not signed in
Now Caroline had issues of her own, we can’t discount that. But we are just getting started. Later, Nick starts dating Julia, played by Lizzy Caplan, who is a successful lawyer. So we have Nick Miller who is so broke that his friends take turns leaving a little money in his pants pockets so he can get by, dating a lawyer that looks like this:
Successful lawyers love dating broke dudes, that’s a saying right? In that same season we find out Nick is dating a string of college women, one of which is played by Katrina Bowden (Frank from 30 Rock would be crushed). So again, we have Nick Miller, who doesn’t have a wallet and keeps his money and ID in a sandwich bag, attracting women like this:
Still in season one, Nick starts dating Angie. It turns out Angie is an erotic dancer. Which Nick is not OK with at first. Bu that's odd, because you wouldn’t expect someone who eats candy off the ground in a parking garage to be so judgmental. Other than being a flight risk, Angie is otherwise great and normal and another completely unlikely pairing for a barkeep whose greatest accomplishment was writing half a zombie novel:
Nick also dates Amanda played by Lake Bell. Nick must appear to be a pretty good catch to her somehow, maybe it’s the fact that he is 30 and doesn’t have health insurance, or that his friends worry about his health so much they crush up vitamins and mix them into his food. And here's Lake:Not signed in
Oh, and there’s more. There’s Shane (played by Odette Annable) who was Nick’s boss when they hooked up a few times. Dating an employee is a big risk, why would you take that risk if that employee is Nick Miller? Nick at one point in the show claimed he hadn’t done laundry in 5 months (and believes that towels never need to be washed). And here’s what Shane (Odette) looked like:
There’s Amelia (Maria Thayer), who apparently was looking for a guy who just loses full glasses of milk in his room and finds them weeks later. What a catch for that young lady who certainly appears could do no better!:
Recently, Nick had a little fling with Reagan, who is played by quintessential hot person, Megan Fox. Reagan is a fit, successful, and relatively well adjusted woman who is thrust into the New Girl loft. And of course within a few episodes she hooks up with Nick. So in this pairing a guy (Nick) who has feet that are described as "hooves" that are so dirty the bottoms are permanently black, is hooking up with this woman:
This starts to seem pretty crazy when you see them all in one place doesn't it? Shall we keep going? While they didn’t actually date, Holly was very interested in Nick in season 2. Holly was played by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Brooklyn Decker. So, Nick Miller, who at one point claimed “I’m not convinced I know how to read, I think I just memorized a lot of words” and a character played by Brooklyn Decker:
Here’s Nick again so you have a side by side comparison for that last one. In this photo he is excitedly exclaiming "I found a piece of garbage and it has chocolate on it", which he then eats, of course. So yeah, Brooklyn Decker, and this:
ONLY on TV would you see this. And I guess that’s what we love about it. Anything can happen, even super improbable couples. Nick Miller is kind of a hero for average (or maybe even below average) guys. He certainly has a way with women, despite all odds.
And we didn't even get into this one:
Frank Anderson and collaborator Max Wolter (this article) write for The Renaissance Fan.