Damon Wayans Jr. will be leaving “New Girl” at the end of Season 4, TVLine reports. If the Coach-leaving news sounds familiar, it should — because it happened already. This will mark the second time the actor is saying goodbye to the show. However, unlike the last time this happened, there’s not a whole lot to be sad about. Fans of the show were doing just fine without him, and will likely slide back into a Coach-free lifestyle.
Back when the FOX comedy premiered in 2011, it was upsetting news the actor couldn’t continue due to his contractual obligations with David Caspe’s now-canceled ABC show “Happy Endings.” The show about four roommates was just getting its feet and it felt like taking someone out that started with the show would have catastrophic results. The Coach goodbye was hard, but at least at that time fans could still see him on “Happy Endings,” so all was not lost.
In Coach’s place, the show introduced Winston (Lamorne Morris), who at first was hard to adjust to because he wasn’t Coach 2.0. Now in the show’s fourth season he has become one of the weirdest, most adorable characters in the mix. Viewers fell in love with Winston and his quirky personality, his obsession with Ferguson the cat as well as his struggle to find a career that complimented his unique persona. Then when Cece (Hannah Simone) became more in the fold with the rest of the roomies, Coach was a distant memory.
Just as fans had forgotten he existed, it was announced he was returning to the show as a Season 3 guest star. While at first it was nice to have him back for a bit, by the time it was announced he would be a series regular in Season 4, it just seemed like too little too late. The loft had become too crowded. Plus audiences had already become so invested in Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston, there was little room for Coach.
Much like Nick and Jess being a couple, it’s really hard to pinpoint just why Coach was so beloved in the beginning, but now not so much. By this time it’s easy to say Wayans’ talents are better used elsewhere as opposed to competing with the scene stealers of the “New Girl” group, who all have set the tone for the show fans have come to love.
Looks like the “New Girl” opening credits will have to change again come Season 5. Wayans will reportedly appear in every episode throughout the remainder of Season 4 and will be given an open ended exit so he can guest star as his schedule permits.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to come back to ‘New Girl’ in Season 3 to reprise the role of Coach,” Wayans tells TVLine. “Working with this incredibly talented and funny cast and crew has been one of the best experiences of my career.”