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'New Girl' recap: Adam Brody guest stars as one of Jess's 'Exes'

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New Girl
Greg Gayne/Fox

Can’t say this episode did a lot to move sitcom gender politics forward, folks. As we have long known, women only have two modes: adorably naïve or vengeful psychopath. Men, meanwhile, are just out to bone. Feel free to disagree with me (and all respect to Adam Brody and Mary Elizabeth Ellis), but this ep felt like a bit of a letdown after Sunday’s genuinely hilarious, plot-advancing post-Super Bowl episode. Sure, it exposed an emotional side to Nick we rarely see (albeit one even Jess didn’t fully buy),  but it also lost some ground — for me at least — with a reliance on clichéd “big concepts” rather than small-scale character comedy. The latter is where New Girl thrives. So, shall we?

Nick ran into his ex Caroline (Ellis) at a farmer’s market. You might wonder, Since when is Nick at a farmer’s market? Since he got into a relationship with Jess, of course. Though Nick panicked at the encounter, actually taking out at least a few carts, Jess was living in a self-propagated illusion that exes could be friends just like she was with her former beau and current super-stay-at-home dad Berkley (Brody), i.e. the “most emotionally evolved person I know.” She encouraged Nick to try to smooth things over with Caroline (as you’ll recall he walked out on her right after they’d moved in together in the season 1 finale). Though Nick worried Caroline might hurt him physically… or “with words!” he set up a mercilessly booze-free coffee date. What followed was Nick babbling for 30 minutes — sometimes in a quasi-Cockney accent! — with the highlight of Jake Johnson’s improvisation being, “I think a guy died in the building ’cause one day in the dumpster there was a bunch of clothes that just fit me.”

What didn’t happen during Nick and Caroline’s “friendly” meet-up? Two things: First, he didn’t mention Jess in any way, shape, or form — even after Caroline asked if there had been someone else (and, even though we know Jess and Nick didn’t get together for months, this omission still made him look like a liar). Second, they clearly did not resolve their issues and/or become actual friends. The nail in the coffin? When Caroline spotted Nick kissing Jess on the street just minutes later.

Caroline began to send Nick a string of righteously indignant texts about his presumed cheating, and Jess suggested they call Berkley for advice since he’d written an e-book on befriending exes. Let’s just overlook that this would be a completely absurd idea under any circumstances, let’s scoot right past Jess’s completely inappropriate text inviting Berkley over (“Babe”? “XOXOXO”?), and let’s put a pin in Nick’s assumption Berkley had only clung to his friendship with Jess in hopes they’d reunite (or at least have sex). Instead, let’s just recall how we welcomed Adam Brody and his adorable baby-actor scene partner onto our screens.

Once together, Jess and Berkley were super-annoying. Between inside jokes, talk of bamboo high chairs, and self-satisfied fatherhood metaphors, they were the kind of sanctimonious couple (broken up or not) you’d be slugging down bellinis at Sunday brunch to forget you’d ever become yoked to in the first place. As such, their advice was pretty useless. And, since this is Nick Miller, he ignored it anyway and sent Caroline a terse text: “My bad. Let’s be friends, k?”

Nick’s disregard for the woman he left (for still unexplained reasons) was enough to send his jilted ex over the edge. She showed up on the street below the loft, caterwauling and shattering the windshield of a car she thought was Nick’s with cinder blocks and 2×4’s. Inadvertently let into the building by one of Schmidt’s tricks (more on that later), she arrived at apartment 4D and began pounding on the door. And that wasn’t even the most insane part of this whole quadrangle…

NEXT: Nick admits why he left Caroline (prepare to swoon)