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'New Girl' recap: 'Parents' (season 2, episode 8)

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New Girl
Ray Mickshaw/Fox

While I’m not entirely sure anything can top last year’s dryer turkey, the news that Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner would guest as Jess’s parents on this year’s Very Special Episode of New Girl was certainly enough to pique my interest. Put two of the most influential people in Christopher Guest’s life on a show that involves a lot of improv hilarity, add in The Daily Show‘s Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s beer-swilling cousin, and we couldn’t lose, right?

The episode basically took the form that of Friends‘ “The One With The Two Parties” episode, with Jess planning an elaborate Thanksgiving day scheme so her rancorously divorced parents wouldn’t have to spend even a second together. Nick explained her parents to the roommates: Her mom was the “perky” one (which, on a Jess scale means mom’s chirp must go to 11), and her dad… well, let’s just say she told Nick, “You’re going to love my dad, he’s so unhappy.”

Needless to say, the entire plan went out the window when her dad Bob showed up early — right as Jess’s Pilgrim hat-wearing mom Joan urged the roommates and Cece to join in on a “hug ball.” He deadpanned, “You know what I’m thankful for today? Divorce.”

Then again, Cece was convinced Jess lied about her scheduled visits and had actually misinformed her parents to enact some sort of Parent Trap-style re-meet-cute. We learned via “Flashback” that teen Jess trapped her parents in a heart-filled room to listen to Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” on repeat — and it wasn’t the first time… that day. Nor was it the last — she later sent her father a naked shower photo of her mom in hopes it might rekindle the old flame. In case you were wondering, none of those schemes worked. Which brought us back to the present where Bob and Joan were throwing daggers with their eyes and passive-aggressive jives with their tongues.

It wasn’t long before Jess spilled that her stepmother had cheated on Bob. (“I thought everyone knew,” she qualified. “You grieved so publicly on Instagram — all those pictures of sad trees and your lunches”). Of course that was a ruse, as she slipped away and queued up some Jim Croce to get them nostalgic as Joan comforted Bob. While they reminisced, she went about recruiting Cece and Nick, who poo-poohed, “A Parent Trap takes weeks of planning. This is a makeshift Parent Trap. This won’t work.” And yet he still signed on.

While Cece and Jess tarted up Joan to look like “a slutty Katie Couric,” Bob and Nick bonded over conspiracy theories. Nick even shared the latest on his novel, though Bob almost immediately sussed out that Z Is for Zombie is basically an exact knock-off of Twilight. (Nick: “Well… then whoever wrote that is smart.”) The structure of Jess’s Parent Trap became increasingly unclear as Jess moved Nick from Bob to Joan. She claimed Bob would get jealous if Nick hit on Joan, but I suspect she just wanted to credit Nick with the phrase “bewitching decolletage.”

The site of Nick trying to look sexy basting a turkey prompted Bob to call out Jess for trying for Parent Trap them. As she went to call it off, it turned out that Nick had gotten a little too invested in the act and was experiencing a rush of cougar love for Joan. The resulting altercation with Jess led to Bob getting a face full of basting fluids. Joan offered to help him clean up and, before anyone knew what had happened, they were making out in the bathroom. To be continued…

NEXT: Two Schmidts