In the first episode of Hulu’s High Fidelity remake, Zoë Kravitz is reeling after a bad breakup, when she meets a nice guy who will help her rebound. We know he’s a nice guy because the show gives us all the classic clues: He’s kind of a dork, he talks about road trips, he’s into Phish (a big crime in the world of High Fidelity), he means to stick around after their first hookup but doesn’t due to a series of quirky circumstances, he has a dorky name (Clyde … Clyde!), and of course, he’s way too handsome for a normal person but conventionally handsome by TV standards.
But you already knew all of those things about the character, because he’s played by Jake Lacy, our foremost impresario of onscreen nice guy-ness. Not having met Jake Lacy in real life, I can’t speculate about his actual personality, but on-camera, Lacy radiates the energy of someone you would absolutely take home to meet your parents, and then maybe dump shortly thereafter when you get a little bored. That, or some similar story arc, is generally the fate of the Jake Lacy Nice Guy, with minor variations: Sometimes he ends up with the main character, sometimes he’s a bit more of a jerk, but always there’s a powerful “aw, shucks” energy. In honor of Jake Lacy’s latest stint as a nice guy on High Fidelity, we’ve rounded up 11 flavors (all vanilla) of the trope, ranked from nice to most nice.
11. I’m Dying Up Here
Nice guy name: Nick
Nice guy qualities: Lacy plays a washed-up comedian with very long sideburns and hair, who relies on a lot of “edgy” dated humor and is sad, like all the characters on I’m Dying Up Here. This is probably the jerkiest version of Jake Lacy Nice Guys out there, one that leans hard into his more bro-y attributes. Also, the show didn’t really work.
Nice guy rating: Would not date.
Nice guy name: Richard
Nice guy qualities: Wears nice coats, wildly oblivious to the fact that Rooney Mara’s Therese is not interested in him sexually. Subtract points because he does not handle the realization that Therese is into Carol well.
Nice guy rating: Would consider for use as a beard, but ultimately not deploy for reasons of apparent homophobia.
9. Billy & Billie
Nice guy name: Keith
Nice guy qualities: I have not seen this DirecTV Audience Channel (?) comedy (?) about stepsiblings who fall in love (?) created by Neil LaBute (???), but apparently Jake Lacy was in it. Considering he does not play one of the stepsiblings who fell in love, he was probably a nice guy in it.
Nice guy rating: Would date, but only if not a stepsibling.
8. Love the Coopers
Nice guy name: Joe
Nice guy qualities: He’s a soldier who randomly decides to tag along for Amanda Seyfried’s family Christmas to cover for the fact that she’s secretly dating a married guy.
Nice guy rating: He ends up kissing Olivia Wilde and it all spirals apart, so maybe not the nicest, but definitely worth using as a prop in ever-complex family dynamics.
7. The Office
Nice guy name: Pete
Nice guy qualities: Nicknamed “New Jim” after joining The Office late in the series, provided a stable relationship for Erin after the chaos of her breakup with Andy. Loses points for the fact that his arc took place in the bad seasons of The Office.
Nice guy rating: [Billie Eilish voice:] He’s a niiice guy.
6. Miss Sloane
Nice guy name: Forde
Nice guy qualities: Lest you forget what happens in Miss Sloane, a movie seemingly written by someone who had crushed and then snorted a box set of West Wing DVDs, Jake Lacy plays a male escort who becomes the only emotional outlet for Jessica Chastain’s tightly wound lobbyist. His profession might be out of the ordinary for your typical onscreen Nice Guy, but every other thing about him is pure Nice Guy.
Nice guy rating: Would use to vent about the dangers of the gun lobby.
Nice guy name: Ron
Nice guy qualities: Is a stable, supportive partner for Michelle Williams’s Gwen Verdon as her relationship to Sam Rockwell’s Bob Fosse gets increasingly toxic, has a nice time hanging out on Long Island with all the theater people, is a composite character and therefore did not actually exist.
Nice guy rating: Would date, but would ignore his advice about not doing Chicago.
4. How to Be Single
Nice guy name: Ken
Nice guy qualities: Hooks up with Leslie Mann at a Christmas party and is cool with fine with the fact that she’s pregnant (wild movie!). Subtract a few points because Anders Holm (default mode: Seemingly Nice Guy Who Turns Out to Be Not So Nice) also appears in this movie, and I could not remember who played which character when I first looked it up.
Nice guy rating: Would cast in a generic rom-com best watched on a plane.
3. High Fidelity
Name guy name: Clyde
Nice guy qualities: Talks about road trips he has taken, is very into rock climbing, loves Phish (maybe a point against him, according to High Fidelity, but honestly an inoffensive trait overall), and has to vie for Zoë Kravitz’s affections versus the guy who played the hot investigator in The OA (RIP The OA!). Our main question about Clyde, aside from whether Zoë Kravitz will end up with him, is whether he’s actually supposed to have tattoos, which seems out of character, or if the show just didn’t bother to cover up Jake Lacy’s own tattoos.
Nice guy rating: Would consider for a rebound.
Nice guy name: Fran (….Fran!)
Nice guy qualities: Is a schoolteacher, somehow gets through the experience of Hannah deleting all his ex-girlfriend’s photos from his phone, is named Fran.
Nice guy rating: Would take to a self-involved friend’s wedding, even if an ex was there too.
1. Obvious Child
Nice guy name: Max
Nice guy qualities: The Ur-Jake Lacy nice guy, in that he seems like a superficial bro initially, but then ends up being charmed by Jenny Slate’s Donna and supports her in her decision to have an abortion. Also, in one scene he warms up Jenny Slate’s butter for her in a restaurant, a romantic gesture so powerful that several people reached out to remind me about it after we published the original version of this story.
Nice guy rating: Too nice to actually exist.