By Lanford Beard
October 03, 2012 at 04:30 AM EDT
Greg Gayne
  • TV Show

Who’s the real emotional fluffer here — Nick or Liz Meriwether? With another week of delicious back-and-forth between Nick and Jess, another delay until their ultimate get-together, and yet the first outright admission that the two goofballs are actually into each other, we’re left primed and ready. Only… Jess had Sam for follow-through, Nick had the Digital Underground and shoddy furniture to sublimate all over, and what do we have? Schmidt, I suppose. Can’t we all use a bit of “Tugg time”? In truth, I did enjoy how the writers faced their biggest bogeyman head-on — though I’m not sure they needed to do it in episode 3. (A midseason finale, perhaps?) Then again, if they’re willing to put a moment this bold out there this early in the season, one can only hope that means they have greater plans in store for the next 21 episodes than we could ever imagine. Considering the way the show continually gained momentum in season 1, it wouldn’t be out of the question. Agree or disagree, Newbies? 

The axis of this week’s action, so to speak, was Jess’s discomfort about her booty call situation with Sam. Ever the generous roommate, Schmidt volunteered all the guys to serve as a pre-booty call date to get Jess in the mood. Of course Nick balked at the idea of a non-sexual group date with his roommates, claiming he was at “a crucial point” in writing his zombie novel. (Z Is for Zombie, in case you’ve forgotten since last week.) Schmidt wouldn’t take no for an answer. Why? Because “friends help friends have meaningless sex.”

Ironically Schmidt was the first to bail. He was chasing down his to pal around with Kanye West. As he explained, “Friending Kanye is the most efficient way for me to jump social strata. Now all I have to do is meet him and then dazzle him to the point where we’re each other’s last call at night.” The first step: Dress like Yeezy. By which I mean a navy blue belt with pink whales embroidered on it, or, according to Winston, the kind of belt a Romney would wear. After getting Rom-dazzled, Schmidt moved to step 2, getting into a downtown club he’d heard Kanye was going. As insurance, he roped in Winston to prove he could be friends with black people — “even oddly shaped ones.”

Schmidt and Winston’s defection left Nick alone with Jess. Who, by the way, looked smokin’ in a form-fitting red dress. Or as Nick so delicately put it, not “like a loft troll. Great opener, buddy. To her credit, Jess actually embraced “loft troll” as a shtick, and within seconds their chemistry was greater than probably 95 percent of all the other couples on television. Adding to the charm, Jess brought white wine in a thermos. Love. It.

While Jess and Nick got sloppy splitting a $20 bowl of soup and a $2 bottle of wine, Winston revealed he hadn’t had sex with his girlfriend Shelby for three weeks. He had learned to manage the frustration by having mental sex with pretty much every woman within eyeshot. In case you’re wondering, brain copulation translates facially as equal parts intense, bug-eyed stares and fidgety lips. You’d think he was suffering from an aneurysm — or maybe three rounds into Nick’s fruity drinks. Winston snapped out of it when Schmidt couldn’t get into the club. Assuming it was because of the whale belt, Winston turned a positive into a negative the only way he knew how — pretending he was the head of security for “Tugg Romney” (that’d be Schmidt). And so they were in! Even Cece showing up and laughing in his face couldn’t tamp down ol’ Tugg Romney. Security, please escort this lady.

NEXT: Nick — Fluffer? Or nutter?

The next morning, as Jess basked in sex glow, Winston had hilariously unsettling mind sex with her, and Nick volunteered to go shopping to replace a dresser she ruined (“during intercourse”). Once she left the room, Winston stopped head banging her to give Nick harsh words. Nick, he said, had become Jess’s emotional fluffer — essentially, Nick was Jess’s boyfriend without the sexual rewards. More on that later…

Schmidt was assembling his Tugg duds for a date with the 2008 Co-Chair of Kappas for Romney. A date on which his first line was “I just had a lot more solo Tugg time.” Then “Sometimes I think that I’m just a riddle that even I can’t solve.” As if those two statements weren’t an immediate date killer, the Kappa invited over two pals who began giving “Tugg” the third degree — unfortunately, not a euphemism. Best Tugg line? “Are you spelling it right? Two Gs, silent B.” Anyhow, do I really even need to finish this story? Perhaps you didn’t see Schmidt’s grandiloquent, “God bless America” speech about the glories of being a Romney coming, but you must have known his ruse would fall apart. And so it did. Tugg out!

The only upside to that whale of a fail was when Schmidt sought solace in Cece. He explained that his own father’s absence had a lot to do with the allure of being a Romney. Cece knew exactly how to comfort her forlorn fella — by nestling him into her rack. (Schmidt: “It’s like Memory Foam.”) She also encouraged him to call his dad.

One more loose end before I get to the good stuff: Winston admitted his emotional cheating to Shelby. She did not care at all. Winston seemed disappointed in her lack of passion for anything other than SVU. Something tells me Winston will be single and ready to mingle soon. Frankly, I had forgotten Shelby existed.

Back to Nick and Jess. After a three-hour round trip to Ikea, Nick was worn down by Winston’s criticism. Jess asked him to help her put together her dresser, but she might as well have said, “Release the schlumpy kraken!” Nick reiterated Winston’s words that he was a boyfriend without the benefits, and Jess couldn’t help but wonder if Nick wanted sex. Through lots of mugging and “bleck!“-ing, Nick insisted he never thought of Jess in that way (at least not intentionally). Jess confessed she’d considered it once (when Nick was miming a conversation between two bar nuts — make of that what you will) but immediately realized it would never work. Of course Nick had to know why, and suddenly this conversation was going down a dangerous path. Cue the caterwauling: Nick sighs too much! Jess is too song-and-dance-y! Nick is too cheap! The cuts got deeper and deeper until Nick threw down the gauntlet, “You need me to have sex.”

Challenge accepted. Jess called Sam so they could “talk their faces off” on a real date, in spite of that fact that this was pretty much the exact antithesis of what he clearly stated he wanted from her. On their “date,” she wondered what an average guy would do for a girl friend (as opposed to a girlfriend). According to Sam, pretty much nothing. Cut back to Nick, who regretted his tantrum, even a pep talk on the boundaries of male-female platonic relationships from Winston and a slap fight over Adele (see Dotables).

Jess returned home to find Nick putting together her dresser. “I can’t let you fluff me,” she said. “I can’t let you work in emotional porn. You have too much to offer.” But! Not only did Nick continue building the dresser (at least something’s getting screwed around here), he also admitted that he is sometimes attracted to Jess. Though he dismissed the restrictions others wanted to put on their relationship, he did draw the line at taking her on pre-booty call dates. For that trick, he handed over a copy of “Nick’s Sexy Mix.” Because what better way to get the engines revving than “The Humpty Dance” and “You Can Call Me Al”?

NEXT: “A Taylor Swift-like range of emotions”

Notable quotables:

Jess: I don’t know what to do. I’m terrible at casual sex. I left him in there with crayons and paper like he’s kid at a restaurant, and I told him I had to check my fantasy football.

On a certain belt

Schmidt: I’ll have you guys know that Kanye wore this belt… and he looked beautiful in it. His whole midsection lit up.

Winston: Hey, Tagg Romney, do you know if your dad’s going to win the election? (Schmidt’s response? “Telling me that I look like one of the most handsome men in politics does not hurt my feelings.”)

Schmidt: The only thing I know in this world is this belt is amazing.

Nick: Where are you, Schmidt? This [restaurant] is fancy, and I don’t know which fork to kill myself with.

Jess: It’s Sam. He’s done with work, and he wants to “hang out.”

Nick: He’s got a job, too? Poke a hole in that condom!

Nick: You and me? Sexually? Nope. [sticks out tongue] Bleh! Never thought about it once.

Jess: Don’t lie.

Nick: Not on purpose. Sleeping Nick is a totally different guy.

Jess: You know you did when you walked in on me doing deep lunges.

Nick: Yeah, check out my Google history, Jess. It’s filled with girls doing deep lunges.

Winston’s rules of guy-girl friendship…

“As a friend, you can lift the heavy objects, but you can’t take her to the airport. You can hold the elevator for her, but only if you see her running down the hall saying, ‘Hey man, please, can you hold the elevator?’ No picnics, no mini-muffins, and never Adele. No Adele. No concerts, no music, no T-shirts, no nothing. NEVER ADELE!

Cece: I got your text. When you’re going through “a Taylor Swift-like range of emotions,” I should come over, right?

Schmidt: You’re the only one I could talk to. Being brown, you have the wisdom of a thousand white women.

Jess: Maybe I should just stop trying with Sam. I’m old-fashioned below the belt. I’ve got a Civil War-era piece of equipment, and that’s all she wrote.

Read more:

‘New Girl’ season 2 premiere: Cast, away!

‘New Girl’ gets big DVR boost: Does it matter?

‘Mindy Project’ premiere ratings soft; ‘New Girl’ fights ‘Go On’

Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
  • TV Show
  • 5
  • TV-14
  • 09/20/11
  • In Season
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