By Lanford Beard
November 14, 2012 at 05:30 AM EST
Patrick McElhenney/Fox
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Pain and pleasure were the twin themes of last night’s episode, Newbies. Though there was decidedly more pain than pleasure, the few shining moments of goodness — Schmidt telling Cece, “I’ll never want to stop kissing you,” and Nick assuring Jess, “I believe in you” — provided necessary sustenance. They were validation for the show’s decision to take a breather from the usual quipfest and focus on the characters’ interior lives. Now let’s dive into it like Nick into a weird old Asian dude’s serenity pool!

With Jess still unemployed, Schmidt had grown tired of covering for her financially. Winston was no help, explaining that his newly single status was more expensive because “basically I have to trick women into thinking I can buy them stuff.” Schmidt decided to practice tough love by turning off the gas (and, thus, the hot water), which only amplified Jess’s PMS. But her mood swings weren’t just affecting the roommates, they were also jeopardizing her job prospects, specifically when she biffed an interview after a picture of a teacup Yorkie (that looked something like this) reduced her to sobs.

Jess’s emotional outbursts prompted Nick to look inward at his own rage issues. (Schmidt: “I wouldn’t call it an issue. Issues can be fixed.”) Walking to a local park, he sat down on a bench and was joined by a random, unspeaking Asian man. In the course of many soul-searching visits with his silent guru, Nick found inner peace. He placed all trust in his new pal Tran and found himself in a pool spa, where tacitly peer pressured Nick into disrobing and getting in the water so Tran might swirl him around. Jake Johnson’s expressions were priceless, as were his nervous blurts, “Why are you cradling me like a baby, friend? This is not how guys of my generation hang out. This is a moment that got away from me.” Eventually Nick gave way to Tran’s gentle embrace and the tranquil tone of the in-house Native American flute player, relaxed in the warm water like “a huge baby.”

Nick came home, totally placid and ready to get new wave-y with Jess (by “rapping it out” or at least partaking in 30 seconds of direct eye contact), but he found her depressed from her interview mishap. He invited her to his aquatic sanctuary, setting of a hilariously uncomfortable series of submersions and flailings that at times seemed like they might resemble Nick having sex, boob touching and all. (Hope you enjoyed that preview of coming attractions, shippers!) It was only after the unsynchronized swimming that Nick gave Jess a much-needed pep talk, inspiring her to reapply for the job. Jess will now teach creative writing to adults — or, as Schmidt put it, she’ll be “reading a bunch of old weirdos’ writing.”

NEXT PAGE: Winston gets a visit from Aunt Flo

But back to the wide-reaching effects of Jess’s emotional volatility, which included Winston’s self-diagnosis of sympathy PMS. In other words, he thought he was manstruating. (Schmidt: “Men can’t get their period. Where would they put the tampon?”) Winston’s symptoms were so bad, he took a personal day from work. Even after Jess emerged from her pre-menstrual slump and Schmidt turned the gas back on, Winston was still bumming. Ultimately, he admitted it wasn’t really PMS — he just missed Shelby. And Nick had just the cure!

Meanwhile, Schmidt considered embarking upon a sadomasochistic sexual affair with his boss (Carla Gugino), including signing a contract that absolved her from everything from “imagined trauma” to “guaranteed mercury poisoning.” When he bragged about this development to Cece and Robbie, Cece began to doubt whether she was a nice girl like Robbie claimed. She had always thought of herself as a bad girl, so she tried to prove it by heading to loft and kissing Schmidt. But she stopped herself and said she had qualms with hurting Robbie. (Schmidt: “We don’t have qualms. We sold our qualms and used them to buy perfect bodies.”) Her decision not to sleep with Schmidt was a cruel tease for him (and us), but it did inspire Schmidt’s truly sweet confession: “I will never stop wanting to kiss you.”

It also inspired Schmidt to sign the S&M contract, plus one stipulation: If his boss ever writes an autobiography, she must refer to him as Moises Perdue. He told her, “I’m a depraved freak, and I want to wander into the Narnia of your sexual terror and emerge like a freshly birthed calf.” With that, it was on. And yet! Seeing how ineptly his boss tried to bind his hands, Schmidt realized she was new to this domination stuff, too. No matter. Thanks to the contract, he was no longer legally allowed to reject her. Bring on the whips and ball gags!

Notable dotables:

PMJess

“It hurts like I’ve laid a million eggs, and they’re all hatching!”

“I feel like I want to murder somebody and also I want soft pretzels!”

I’ve had it! If any of you cross me, I’ll kick the testicles clean off of your body. Clean off! You’ll look like Ken dolls down there. Because that’s where I’m at right now.”

“It feels like a fat man sitting on my uterus!”

“I was sabotaged by my baby box. So that means I’m never going to trust anything that comes out of it.”

Jess: Now, if you’ll excuse me gentleman, I’m going to go get a job — like it’s my…

Schmidt: Job?

Jess: SHUT UP!

Schmidt [to Cece]: Your getting your scent all over my pillow. It took me months to get rid of that heavenly curry smell.

Read more:

‘New Girl’ creator Liz Meriwether on Nick and Jess ‘f–ing’

Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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