New Girl saw Coach leave, return, and then leave again, and through one seemingly unimportant line, he retconned his role in the pilot episode – here’s what happened. Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, New Girl debuted on Fox in 2011 and came to an end in 2018 after seven seasons. New Girl was very well received from the beginning and was praised for its sense of humor and the performances of its main cast, particularly those of Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson, who became the breakout stars of seasons 1 and 2, respectively.
New Girl followed Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), a young and bubbly teacher who after finding out that her boyfriend was cheating on her, moved into a loft with three strangers she found on the internet. After a period of adjustment that wasn’t easy for anyone, Jess became very close to her roommates Schmidt (Greenfield), Nick Miller (Johnson), and Winston (Lamorne Morris), with her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone) also joining the fun. However, Winston wasn’t part of the group when Jess moved in, and instead of him, the third roommate was Coach (Damon Wayans Jr), who made quite an impression in the pilot episode.
Coach (whose real name is Ernie Tagliaboo), was Schmidt and Nick’s roommate when Jess moved in, and he wasn’t exactly the best at talking to women. At the time, he worked as a personal trainer as he’s a former athlete, hence the nickname “Coach”, but he had no idea how to treat Jess when she arrived at the loft, especially as she spent days crying over her recent and abrupt breakup. New Girl even gave a quick glimpse at how Coach yelled at his female trainees at the gym, further proving that he didn’t know how to talk to women and had a hard time understanding them, but he eventually got along with Jess after asking her for advice, though it didn’t last for long as he left the show after the pilot episode. Coach returned in New Girl season 3 after breaking up with his girlfriend and moved back to the loft, and it was during this second chance that he shared something that completely retconned his role in the pilot.
When Jess and Cece had a big fight, Coach revealed that having sisters allowed him to understand women better, which completely changes his role in the pilot. His role in the first episode of New Girl was that of the roommate who works with women but has no idea how to approach them, and ends up coming off as aggressive and insensitive. It’s exactly that issue what allows him to get close to Jess and get to know her as he asks her for advice and she gladly agrees, though he had a lot to work on as he quickly lost his temper. If having sisters helped him understand women, he would have never had the problem he had in the pilot episode, and he wouldn’t have yelled at the women he trained at the gym nor at Jess demanding that she stopped crying.
Surely, when he returned to the series he still had trouble connecting with women as seen when his first date with Cece was a complete disaster, but at least he knew how to talk to her, unlike in his first appearance. Given that he was absent for a long, long time, it’s understandable that the writers of New Girl forgot about Coach’s problem to understand women when they decided that he has sisters and that helped him connect with other women, and while it’s a detail very easy to miss, it does change his role in the very first episode of the series.