After appearing once in the pilot episode of Fox comedy New Girl, Damon Wayans Jr. was nowhere to be seen in the succeeding episodes and even seemed to have been replaced by Lamorne Morris' Winston Bishop. Two and a half years later and Damon made his triumphant return to the apartment to reunite with his old friends for six episodes.

New Girl
Coach Returned To 'New Girl' During Last Night's Episode.

His character disappeared after Jess (Zooey Deschanel) moved in to the LA apartment with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield). However, Coach's return has ramifications for Nick and Jess' newly kindled relationship and his presence harks back to a time when all the flatmates were living as single guys together.

"Coach coming gives Nick [Jake Johnson] and Schmidt [Max Greenfield] kind of a nice opportunity to step back in time together and be their pre-Jess [Zooey Deschanel] selves," says executive producer Brett Baer, via The Hollywood Reporter. The testosterone-fuelled storyline as the guys pal up again and reminisce about the old days creates tension between Jess and Nick right in the middle of their newly coupled bliss.

Zooey Deschanel New Girl
What Kind Of Effect Will Coach's Return Have On Jess & Nick's Relationship? Jess Is Romanced By Guest Star Taye Diggs.

"It was important for us to demonstrate that Nick going back in time was going to have a ramification with his relationship," says Baer. "Nick is literally between Coach and Jess and trying to play cool single guy."

Apparently, the show briefly considered a plotline where Jess would accompany her friends on a trip to a strip club but decided in favour of a chance for the teacher to be romanced by another guest star, Taye Diggs, who plays charming barista Artie. This is just as well because Coach isn't exactly as great as she may remember: he discounts her new relationship, insults Schmidt and practically ignores Jess whilst he catches up with his Chums.

It emerged that the reason why Damon was absent from all but the pilot episode was because he landed an even bigger role in Happy Endings which called for his roommate space to be filled by Winston. Looks like he won't be around for too long before he leaves New Girl again: Schmidt and Nick were shown devising ways to get him drunk enough to go home.