Spencer is the ex-boyfriend of Jess Day. He calls her "Jess-Jess." They dated for six years and lived together in his L.A. home, but they broke up because he cheated on her with, and then immediately started dating, a pretty redhead named Rochelle that he believes is perfect for him. He is extremely self-involved and kind of a loser, who takes irrational stands against things like the post office. He's too cheap to spend his own money, so he uses Jess' things, as if they're his, even after they break up, but Jess is naively attracted to what she says is his beautiful hair. Even though everyone around her thinks Spencer is a jerk, Jess still has a hard time letting him go, and his part in her past looms over her as she attempts re-enter the dating scene throughout the first season of New Girl.
Looking to spice up her love life with Spencer, Jess heads home early, sitting in the back of a cab with nothing on but a trench coat. Once home, she calls out seductively for Spencer, who emerges, nervous and half-naked, from the bedroom. He's surprised to see her home early, and she introduces him to "Tiger Boobs" - her self-selected stripped name - before she starts gyrating against a large throw pillow and a houseplant, trying - and failing - to be sexy as she sing-narrates her own striptease. Spencer tries to get her to stop, but he can't. She whips back around, only to discover that Spencer's not alone - a pretty, but also half-naked, redhead is now standing in the hallway gawking at her. Immediately, Jess knows what's going on, and she's seriously stunned - her boyfriend of six years has been cheating on her.
She moves out immediately and eventually ends up moving into the loft with Nick, Schmidt, and Coach, after a short stay with her best friend Cece. She likes that the loft gets so much light, noting that Spencer hated light. Despite their initial reservations about moving in with a female roommate, the guys agree to let Jess move in - though they immediately start kicking themselves when they realize that Jess is still heartbroken over the end of her relationship. She spends a week sobbing on the couch, watching Dirty Dancing six or seven times a day, both missing and hating her ex. Hoping to get her off the couch, Schmidt offers to help Jess find a rebound to help get over Spencer.
They find her a date, which she nearly bails out on because she's so afraid to date again after Spencer's betrayal. It takes a pep talk from her best friend Cece to get her out the door. But Jess' date stands her up, so the guys instead join her at a fancy restaurant, and launch into a horrific rendition of "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing to cheer her up.
Weeks after the break-up, Coach has moved out and Winston, Nick's lifelong best friend, has just moved back in. Five minutes after meeting him, Jess asks if she can borrow a tank top, because most of her clothes and belongings are still at Spencer's house. She settles for a velour track jacket from Schmidt's "lost and found," and Nick is adamant that she calls Spencer to get back her things and face her cheating ex. She refuses, saying she's not afraid to go back and get them, but as she reminisces that it's complicated because her stuff belonged to both of them, Schmidt throws her a basketball to play with, to get her mind off him. But the game ends in her breaking Nick's TV, so she's given no choice. She has a TV at Spencer's, and her roommates won't go without one. She admits that she doesn't want to get in a fight with Spencer because she wants to be friends with him eventually - which none of the guys understand because he's her ex. But she says it's as if Spencer has a power over her - like a Wizard and his Mage - with his "really beautiful hair." Exceptionally nervous, Jess agrees to call Spencer to get back her things.
Spencer bikes up to Jess at the park, and as he removes his neon yellow helmet and shakes out his long blond hair, the old feelings of lust flood back to Jess. They make small talk and get caught up, and Jess asks how his new girlfriend is doing. Spencer says that Rochelle is great, and Jess is clearly jealous. Spencer says they have a lot in common - like the fact they both love bikes. When Jess points out that she, too, loves bikes, Spencer wistfully tells her, "Not enough." Taking the insult in stride, Jess tells Spencer she needs her stuff back - her clothes, TV, plants - and he says he would have brought them with him to the park, but he rode the bike without the basket. He immediately changes the subject on her when she insists she needs them quickly, and he tells her that he needs something, too. Unable to say no to him, Jess gets roped into driving his new girlfriend to the airport, listening to them sing an obnoxious rendition of "Bust A Move" together, but she doesn't get back her things.
She finds Cece, and the two women return to the loft. Jess has been crying and Cece is angry, letting the guys know that it's her job to tell Jess to call Spencer, not theirs. Nick suggests that Spencer is Jess' kryptonite and that she's afraid to get back her things because she knows that as soon as she does, their relationship is "over over." He tells her to get her stuff back and move on because Spencer's a jerk. Cece agrees with him, and Nick forces Jess to punch a pillow that acts as Spencer's face. She punches, harder and harder until she's "punch dancing" against the pillow. Still, Jess gets up the nerve to go to Spencer's and get back her stuff, and Cece and the guys agree to go with her for support - and to help her carry her belongings.
On the drive to Spencer's house, Jess and the gang discuss what she'll say to Spencer - who she refers to as Mr. Crabs - when she gets to his house. Nick tells her to simply demand back her things, and go get them. They're listening to Winston's pre-game pump-up mix, which is a combination of heavy metal and screamo. But the music fails to pump up Jess, and she drives right past Spencer's house and around the block several times. Finally, she pulls over in front of the house, to the strains of Vanessa Williams' "Save the Best for Last."
While her friends wait supportively in the car, Jess storms onto Spencer's doorstep to get her things. He's surprised to see her, and he wraps her in a hug. She's falling for his charms again until she realizes that he didn't water her plants, even though she asked him to. The plant at the front door has died since the end of their relationship, and Jess is suddenly overcome with strength she didn't know she had. She smashes the potted plant on the front lawn, and races past Spencer into his house to collect her things. He calls after her to remove her shoes because she knows he keeps an Asian household. To his dismay, she begins to throw things around while she grabs her possessions. Chasing after her, he suggests they could start a shared system for her things, but she's not interested.
Loaded down with half her belongings when she comes back outside, she realizes that Spencer is wearing one of her homemade t-shirts and loses it, demanding that he give it back before she drops the TV on the lawn and tries to tear it right off his back. Cece, who hates Spencer, doesn't even acknowledge him as she heads inside to get the rest of Jess' things, while a standoff breaks out on the lawn with the guys. Spencer wants to "rap it out" like adults, insisting that the shirt (which promotes "Miss Day's Jam-boree") is his because she gave it to him as a gift. But she made the shirt herself and wore it for a school fundraiser, so she wants it back. Spencer doesn't like Jess' new roommates, and once he realizes he's going to lose the battle for her things, he tries to convince Jess she can stay with him until she finds a better place to live. But Jess admits that she loves her new roommates, and isn't going anywhere. Further, she thanks Spencer for breaking her heart, acknowledging that if he hadn't she still would have been in love with him, and no doubt would have married him. Now, she says she's free of him, and she's relieved. Spencer is no longer her kryptonite - all he is, Jess says, after spending six years trying to figure him out, is "a guy with really beautiful hair."
As the guys help Jess gather her things off the lawn and load the car, Schmidt slaps Spencer across the face, making sure to hit him with his thumb ring. Cece emerges with Jess' bike - the one with the basket - but throws Spencer back his bell. The group leaves victoriously, with all of Jess' things.
Jess is nervous about inviting over her latest crush, Paul Genzlinger, to meet her roommates, especially because she has planned a Thanksgiving dinner against their wishes. But she's also really excited about it and begs Nick, who's being grumpy, to be nice. Nervously, she tells him that Paul is the only guy she's liked since Spencer.
Now officially dating Paul, Jess is ready to take their relationship to the next level, but she worries that she's not sexually experienced enough, and blows their first night in bed together. After all, she dated Spencer throughout most of her 20s, and reveals to Nick, Schmidt, and Winston, when they catch her watching porn, that with Spencer she had just four sex moves that she used over and over again. She says she doesn't know whether there are any trendy moves she should be trying, or if she's doing it all wrong. The guys manage to convince her that Paul loves porn just like every guy on earth, and she freaks out that she won't be able to please him.
As a result of her fears, she buys barely-there lingerie and almost chokes Paul in bed, causing him to nervously run from the loft before they're able to do it.
Paul tells Jess that he loves her after they've been dating only a month, but she doesn't feel the same way. This is a first for her, telling Nick that she's always the girl who loves more. But she realizes that Paul is a great guy, and she talks to Cece in the bathroom at Schmidt's office Christmas party, letting her best friend convince her that she can't force something she's not ready for so soon after the end of her relationship with Spencer.
She and Paul ultimately break up that night, but it's Nick's fault, not Spencer's.
Jess has to deal with an overdue traffic ticket, which now involves a court date because Spencer refused to forward her mail to the loft in protest - he's against the post office. She has asked Nick's new girlfriend Julia, who's a lawyer, for her help arguing the ticket, but all it does is highlight how different from each other the two women are and causes friction between Jess and Nick.
On Jess' first Valentine's Day as a single girl in six years, she's grossed out by the happy couples all around her and convinces Schmidt to be her wingman on a night out. She doesn't want to stay home and is hell-bent on finding a one-night stand because it's something she's never done before. It doesn't go well at all, and she almost tries to sleep with Schmidt, but Nick stops her just in time.
Jess is complaining to Cece about Russell, the wealthy, successful, and nice father of one of her students. She thinks he's a snob and reminds Cece that she's only attracted to guys that are afraid of success and think someone famous stole their idea - she likes "an underdog." Cece reminds her that Spencer didn't even own sheets - he slept on a pile of washcloths - and suggests that Jess is afraid of the fact that Russell has money and his life together, and would actually take care of her. When Jess tries to object, Cece incredulously points out that Spencer wore jellies.
Regardless of her objections, because he's well outside her dating 'comfort zone,' Jess is able to look past them and dates Russell for a few months.
- Spencer has several irrational dislikes that would qualify him as a hipster in pop culture: light, government institutions like the post office, bed sheets, and wearing shoes in the house. Jess also implies that he's afraid of success and thinks that famous people steal his ideas.
- He wears jelly shoes.
- He has a cat, judging by the noises emanating from his house when Jess gets back her things. ("Kryptonite")
- He is significantly taller than the guys in the loft, a fact acknowledged by Nick during the lawn standoff in "Kryptonite" when he tells him, "I don't like you, Stretch."
- The first guy Jess likes, and subsequently dates, post-Spencer, is Paul Genzlinger. Spencer's immaturity later factors into her decision to date Russell.
- Ian Wolterstorff's last appearance as Spencer is in Season 1, episode 2 ("Kryptonite"), but his character is mentioned throughout the first season.
- He loves bikes
- He cheats on Jess with Rochelle.
- Cece says that he would never have a job.
- Schmidt assumed he would have a handlebar mustache.
- (To Jess): "Jess, take your shoes off! We keep an Asian household!"
- (To Jess): "Let's just talk about this. You know, rap it out."