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'New Girl': 'First Date' recap (season 2, episode 21)

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New Girl First Date
Adam Taylor/Fox

So it wasn’t exactly an ends-in-fireworks first date, was it Newbies? But were you really expecting that? Tonight’s episode of New Girl had a lot to say, not just about Jess and Nick’s relationship, but about the relationships of all the loftmates. It’s a fragile ecosystem — one that can be thrown off-kilter by a lusty gaze or a missing phone charger… which is exactly where the episode began. (For those who haven’t seen the episode yet, read no further: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

“First Date” opened with Nick, Jess, and Schmidt lying in wait to pounce on Winston for stealing the communal phone charger (a foolhardy roommate bonding tactic if there ever was one). In the subsequent scuffle, Winston went for Schmidt’s face, and Schmidt screamed: “Not my face! Hey! That’s the moneymaker!” Jess basically bounced around like the world’s worst sparring partner as Winston coolly walked around her, so Schmidt broke into a sprint after him while screaming, “You can’t outrun the Jewish!”

Their exit left Jess and Nick alone in the living room to mumble, laugh, and descend into awkward silence as their un-DTR’d feelings hung in the air. They wondered aloud, “What should we do?” and laughed “Definitely not make out!” Nick broke the tension by… creating more tension. Specifically, he grabbed Jess’s upper breast — and continued to hold it as they clumsily described their ever-shifting dynamic (from friends to making out to hating each other’s guts to grabbing each other’s boobs). With things as muddled as ever, Nick doubled down on his bad instincts and grabbed Jess’s other boob. She deemed this development “a little bit better, a little bit worse.” Annnnnd… scene.

To sort out this mess, Nick and Jess turned to their most trusted confidants. Jess visited Cece and placed her hand on her chest where Nick had. She asked, “Would you describe this as a sexual act?” Cece answered, amusingly, “I would describe that as the pledge of allegiance, which can be sexual.” Jess got worked up as she voiced her confusion over Nick’s inability to be clear about his feelings and/or deliver on her expectations. At which point Cece noted Jess was still clutching her own boob. Jess admitted it somehow calmed her. How far you want to read into that, ‘shippers… that’s on you.

Meanwhile, Nick’s Asian park bench pal Tran was back! Nick caught him up: “The sexual tension has been off-the-charts. It’s like the Wild West: No laws, whiskey for a nickel, whores caked in mud… I don’t know what to do!” A one-sided conversation with Nick’s silent mentor proved more enlightening — and certainly more entertaining — than Jess and Cece’s exchange as Nick mulled things over and admitted he needed to grow up; in Nick’s world that means doing things like “mow a lawn… in dark socks.” But the hands-down best line came when Nick asked, “What would you do?” Tran, of course, remained silent, but Nick still chuckled naughtily, “Of course you would, ya dirty dog!” (FYI, Newbies: I want that soundbite as my ringtone. Make it happen.)

Long story short, Nick realized only a date would end his relationship purgatory with Jess. While still with Tran, he rehearsed a legitimately lovely speech: “Jessica, you are a beautiful woman, and my life has not been the same since I met you. And it would mean the world to me if you would go on a date with me.” However, when he went a-knockin’, he found Jess in nothing but a towel and started to babble incoherently, calling her “Dirty J” and his “toilet sister” before concluding, “If so… food?” Regardless, she got the gist and accepted his dinner invitation.

Before the date could begin, though, Nick had to consult his boys. Schmidt handled fashion; Winston, Nick’s “neckscape.” Nick came through the makeover looking nothing short of dashing, and Schmidt declared, “Yes! That is how you wrap a son of a bitch in wool.” Indeed, Nick in a his new (borrowed) suit had nearly as much pep in his step as when he was wearing the lady trench coat (and we all know how that ended *wolf whistle*). The guys’ brotherly concern for Nick was truly adorable, particularly when Winston handed over the keys to his car (a Ford Escape he had nicknamed the “Foscapé”) and Schmidt advised, “Here some things you want to hide from tonight’s date: You’re cheap, you’re broke, you’re a heavy drinker, and that you have a problem with anger.” Speaking of which, they wondered, who was the lucky lady Nick would be bamboozling tonight? Nick stumbled, “Her name is, uh, obviously Yolanda. Uh… her last name is… Winston.” He walked briskly out of the room as Schmidt chuckled, “Those Latino girls!” But it didn’t take long for both of them to realize Nick was hiding something. From there, Schmidt ascertained Nick was going on a date with Jess — though Winston initially jumped to the conclusion that Nick had become a male escort. (Sorry, Winny, that’s another Fox show.)

The realization that Jess-and-Nick was become a real prospect sent Schmidt and Winston into a tailspin. They admitted Nick was the guys’ glue, and we flashed back to a college nonversation between Winston and Schmidt that was supremely awkward — and not just because of Winston’s R.-Kelly-circa-1995 cornrows. Schmidt and Winstoned decided they had to put the brakes on Nick’s attempt to woo Jess. While Winston went there, suggesting they murder Jess with a knife, Schmidt proposed a wiser option of sabotaging the date. And so they began to brainstorm some truly ridiculous sabotage schemes. Schmidt thought sending over tropical drinks might trigger Nick’s inner grump and summon a bitter response along the lines of “Grampa didn’t get a face full of Japanese bullets just so you could drink a melted popsicle!” Winston had a grander plan in mind — steal a bear from the zoo, shoot it up with hep C, and release it in the restaurant. Ummmmm… yeah…

NEXT: Outside Dave isn’t house trained