‘Reacher’s Alan Ritchson Had a Smaller-Than-Average Storyline on ‘New Girl’

Movies


The Big Picture

  • Alan Ritchson’s memorable role as Matt on
    New Girl
    forced the characters to acknowledge their shallowness through the issue of a micropenis.
  • The episode skillfully addresses the delicate topic with humor while respecting the character’s medical condition.
  • Despite his diverse talents, Ritchson’s
    New Girl
    role continues to be a source of recognition for the actor.


Actor Alan Ritchson is now known by millions as Jack Reacher, portraying Lee Child‘s modern-day knight-errant in the Amazon Prime series. Future audiences could also know Ritchson as Batman, given the actor’s current campaign to don the cowl in upcoming DC movies. But before Ritchson played Anders Lassen in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare or Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he was largely a TV actor, best known as Thad in Blue Mountain State and for a memorable guest star on a particular episode of New Girl.


The hit sitcom New Girl starred Zooey Deschanel, who played Jessica Day. Jess’ roommates Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston (Lamorne Morris), along with Cece (Hannah Simone) and occasionally Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), fleshed out the ensemble cast, whose adventures typically focused on the dating scene. One such episode, aptly titled “Micro,” saw Jess’ new beau confess to having a micropenis, which she refuses to let get in the way of their relationship but ultimately does. And who better to poke fun at themselves in the role of this less-endowed suitor than chiseled and charming Alan Ritchson?


New Girl

After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her – most of the time.

Release Date
September 20, 2011

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
7

Studio
Fox


Alan Ritchson Played A Guy With A Micropenis On ‘New Girl’

In 2014, Ritchson joined a long list of special guest stars on the hit sitcom New Girl, who usually appeared as love interests for the regular cast of characters. Justin Long and Josh Gad both played potential suitors for Deschanel’s Jess, while Lizzie Caplan and Megan Fox were paired up with Jake Johnson’s Nick Miller. In the case of Season 4’s fourth episode, however, Jess scorns the guys for judging women based on their breasts, only to be confronted by a near-equivalent issue with her new beau. Enter Alan Ritchson as Matt, a handsome and initially charismatic artist.


After dating Nick for most of Season 3, JJess is thrust back into the awkward world of dating in this episode. Having bet the guys she could never be as shallow as them, Jess is faced with the dilemma of breaking up with an incredibly attractive man for something as shallow as his micropenis. Not only that, but things go from bad to worse when Matt turns out to be a cheater and an all-around jerk who blames his inevitable breakups on his micropenis, never considering that his personality is the problem. In a hilarious turn of events, Jess stays with Matt longer due to his micropenis than she would have if his genitalia weren’t an issue.

‘New Girl’ Makes Fun of Alan Ritchson But Not Of His Character’s Medical Condition


Jokes about small penises are (ironically) low-hanging fruit, but despite the easy target, New Girl opts to make fun of Ritchson’s character but remains relatively respectful of the medical condition his character claims to have. In the episode, Matt is very upfront about his medical condition, informing Jess immediately after they agree to go on a date. This makes Matt’s micropenis less of a punchline and more of a premise, tackling the issue in the best way possible. The joke is never at the expense of Matt’s condition but rather at Jess’ hypocrisy. As the Guardian defined it, “The butt of a joke as a result of making a choice [is] a legitimate target. If they haven’t made that choice, not so much.”

Jess manages to do the right thing and ignore Matt’s condition, if only for the sake of a bet. The joke really lands, though, when Jess finds herself locked into a terrible relationship with a man who turns out to be intolerable, regardless of his genitals. It’s revealed that Matt is a hilariously pretentious graffiti artist and a cheater who’s shallow in his own right. The true punchline of the episode is that Matt blames his failure to keep a girlfriend on his micropenis rather than considering that, if anything, he’s the problem. Maybe karma is responsible for his package after all. Ritchson is hilarious as the arrogant “himbo,” leaning into his good looks for laughs.


Ritchson Still Gets “Micropenis” Shouted At Him To This DayAlan Ritchson as Matt in the New Girl

In 2022, Alan Ritchson joked on a Reddit AMA that his role in New Girl continues to haunt his public image despite his long list of characters and accomplishments in the meantime. While promoting Reacher, the actor took to Reddit on an account he’d owned since 2015. “I’m no lurker,” he told his fans. “I’m on Reddit every day reading what you nerds squabble about.” So, you got fish jokes for Aquaman?” he asked, referring to his time as the Sea King on Smallville. He also mentioned his Titans character. “Hank Hall slipping into that Hawk costume keep you up at night? Rest easy, I’m right here.” But inevitably, the topic of micropenises came to up.


One user asked, “Are you recognized from Titans or New Girl more?” Ritchson’s answer continues to be the greatest part of the AMA. “I’ve had ‘micropenis’ shouted at me from way too many passing cars.” This is incredible to consider, especially in light of Ritchson’s talents, which extend beyond acting. Alan Ritchson is also an accomplished singer who even appeared on early seasons of American Idol. After failing his Season 2 audition, Ritchson returned to audition again in Season 3, where judge Paula Abdul found herself smitten by the mere appearance of the then-20-year-old heartthrob. He sang Stevie Wonder‘s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and earned a unanimous “yes” from the judges.

For a performer as funny, charismatic, and multifaceted as Alan Ritchson, it’s bizarre to think that a guest spot on a 10-year-old episode of a 20-minute sitcom could overshadow so many of his amazing achievements. But, when we consider the healthy way in which the shocking subject was tackled and the self-deprecating nature of the role, it’s no surprise that “Micro” casts such a large shadow over Alan Ritchson’s filmography. Pun intended.

New Girl is available to stream on Hulu in the U.S.

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