When “New Girl” first premiered on Fox in 2011, it became an instant hit, reaching more than 10 million viewers with its pilot episode alone. But its commercial, and later critical, success didn’t stop the screwball comedy from growing and finding ingenious, if lovably preposterous, ways to bestow nuance onto its characters.

In fact, the Emmy-nominated series remained steadfast in its commitment to audiences and characters alike. Even amid its well-documented fumbles and lesser-favored plotlines, “New Girl” dedicated itself to stitching its pieces back together, relying on a finely crafted thread of self-awareness and evolution.

What started as a starring vehicle for titular new girl Zooey Deschanel transformed into a formidable ensemble piece thanks to the writing panache of creator Liz Meriwether and her team, as well as the bursting comedic talents of Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris.

With its unique mixture of running quirks — take its fictional non-sequitur drinking game True American or the fact that every episode references bears in some capacity — “New Girl” holds its own alongside earlier sitcom heavyweights. While the series has been likened to a 21st century era “Friends,” it can be easy to see influences from such shows as “Seinfeld,” especially if you consider Nick’s deep cynicism and the group’s elaborate propensity for childish mischief.

But despite how riotous and cheerily incomprehensible the series can get, “New Girl’s” through line — above all else — is a rich empathy that never fails to instruct without moralizing, unburden without shaming and care without conditioning. It’s this deep tenderness that led the show to renewed popularity on Netflix amid the height of the pandemic.

So, whether you’re viewing “New Girl” for the first or 100th time, don’t be surprised to find yourself — as Meriwether felt when closing out the series in 2018 — unwilling to let these characters go. And for when you inevitably come across Loft 4D’s doorstep, make sure to pay a visit to its 25 best episodes, ranked by Variety for your (re)watching convenience.