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November 28, 2012 at 06:09 AM EST

New Girl is back, y’all. It wasn’t just an episode, it was an epic-sode. I know it’s been a good night when there are too many hilarious potential recap titles. “The Downstairs Girl-Cookie” was an early favorite, as was “The Vagina Helen Mirren.” Then came “Give My Nipples a Purpose!” and “The Sound of An Empty Uterus.” After that, “Vagenius,” “Not a Finisher,” and “Procrastination at the Zoo,” as well as the more culturally inclined “Becoming Ernest Hemingway” and “Losing Nemo,” plus an title by extrapolation “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” which emerged in the episode’s final minutes. But the above Schmidt-ism won out for its universality. Fair warning: Dotables will be considerable this week.

And why do I say the show’s “back”? Well, it’s not that the last couple of episodes have been bad, per se, but they were definitely cresting at a 7.5 or so on the comedy scale. (This show typically hums along at a 9 or 10.) With the return of a Jess who feels like she needs to really do something (other than be adorable), not to mention the payoff of all Nick’s inane shout-outs to his zombie novel and the prominence of Schmidt’s sexual shenanigans (with 100 percent more goggles, a highlights-of-India worthy bit of improv by Max Greenfield, and, heck, a little poignancy), I dare say last night was a — if not the — series high.

The night began with news that Jess’s lesbian gynecologist friend Sadie (June Diane Raphael) and her wife Melissa were expecting a baby. All the ovary chatter made Jess worry she was losing daylight, reproductively speaking. It didn’t help that Sadie rattled off all sorts of panic-inducing stats about how a woman can lose up to 90 percent of her eggs by age 30. (I watched a recent episode of Ice Loves Coco that put it closer to 70 percent, but who’s counting?) Jess was legit freaking out: “What if all that’s left are the weird eggs? I can feel them. They’re turning. They watched their brothers and sisters die, and now they want to be birthed. I need to be fertilized! … I need to give my nipples a purpose!” She even entertained her roommates’ arguments (in full in Dotables) as to why they’d each be the best baby daddy. For her part, Cece was not at all troubled by this news, insisting, “Babies wreck you, Jess. They literally eat your body.” That Twilight-esque comment makes me think she should join Nick in a Z Is for Zombie brainstorm.

Speaking of which, Nick was also affected by Sadie’s news — that and seeing Winston at new big-shot overnight job (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron). Feeling directionless, he vowed to finish his zombie novel. Winston questioned his commitment, which cued up a flashback so inconsequential I’ve begun to think the writers only show flashbacks of Nick so they can put Jake Johnson in a variety of horrible wigs and face merkins. But back to Nick and his zombie tome! Crushed by writer’s block, he tried to psych himself up by “becoming Ernest Hemingway.” Among other things, this involved forcing Winston — who was himself half-a-zombie due to his “adjusted sleep schedule” of roughly 13 minutes — to visit the zoo. Also? Copious drinking, a.k.a. “writer’s fuel.”

NEXT: Downton Newbie!

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