By Lanford Beard
Updated January 23, 2013 at 06:19 AM EST
Jesse Cowell/My Damn Channel
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Rejoice, Newbies! Jess got her own douchebag jar! Well, technically it’s an Annoyance Bowl — which Nick finds much less satisfying, perhaps because of the sheer glee Jess displayed while putting money in the bowl — totally at odds with the intention of the bowl. Still, how did it take this long for Jess to get the bowl? The singing alone could have bought them all a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse by now. But I digress… All the roommates’ quirks were on display last night. But only in Jess’s case did the story nearly end in murder…

Jess arrived home in classic fashion — dancing, singing, and miming about making a breakthrough with her student Edgar (Nate Corddry). He’d turned in a first-person narrative about a plumber who stalked and repeatedly stabbed a deer with “too big” eyes. Because Nick’s a crackerjack writer, one who “think[s] lyrically in terms of, like, poetic words,” he saw right through Edgar’s “amateur hour” font and his clumsy metaphors. Nick became worried about his roommate’s safety and vowed to take up an investigation.

It appeared Nick has been taking espionage lessons from Robbie as he headed to Jess’s classroom, donning some aviators and a baseball cap (that most impenetrable of disguises!) as he announce his undercover identity: “Julius Pepperwood, ex-cop, ex-Marine.” Pepperwood had a thick Chicago accent and made brassy statements like, “I’m from Chicago. Thin crust pizza? No thank you! I’m from Chicago.” Edgar arrived late, and “Julius” sidled up to him. He immediately noticed Edgar’s talent for drawing, specifically his sketch of a bleeding, big-eyed deer — with bangs!

After class, “Julius” distracted Edgar and snatched his notebook. Jess tried to retrieve it, but their weird keep-away dance in front of Edgar looked more like backdoor humping — a sight made worse when Jess halfheartedly lied, “He’s my uncle.” (That statement will make more sense when you read about Jess’s uncle Randy in Dotables.)

With Edgar’s composition book in hand, Nick appointed himself chief of the Doodle Police and began SVU-ing the heck out of that thing. Indeed, there were some scary sketches, and Nick made an elaborate presentation of them by spiderwebbing them with yarn he’d stole from Jess (thus breaking her only roommate rule). Ultimately, Nick the Private Dick decided to bust into Edgar’s house for more proof. Though Jess protested this would ruin her “connection” with Edgar, she eventually volunteered to carpool “for the environment.”

NEXT PAGE: Apricot scrubs

Before their B&E mission, Jess and “Julius” designated a safe word: Apricot. Jess objected, saying she used that word too much in her day-to-day life (“What am I supposed to call them? Sweet tangy balls?”), but her alternative — “dragon slippers” — was rejected, so the first choice stuck. They exited the car, and you know the tense, thrilling, climactic sequence in Zero Dark Thirty? Yeah… it was NOTHING like that.

They bungled around, making lots of not-a-thing SWAT signals, and even more noise. They were nearly caught by Edgar’s mother before Edgar rolled up in his Painless Plumbing van and dragged what appeared to be a corpse out of the back and into a tool shed. As they crept up to peer in, Jess’s phone went off with a ring tone of The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” (I’m not entirely sure I buy that selection, but whatevs.) After spending about 30 seconds making it as obvious as possible they were “sneaking” around, they made a run for it — or a dive in the case of Jess, who unnecessarily army-crawled under Edgar’s van on the way out.

The next day, Nick returned to Edgar’s shed and tried to climb a tractor tire to reach a high window. Only after the tire rolled out from under him and knocked over a ladder did he realize there might be an easier way. He was halfway into the tiny window when he spotted a virtual murder shrine filled with pictures of a woman who looked a lot like Jess (including “kind of sexy” googly eyes) — not to mention another rendition of the bleeding-to-death, bang-sporting doe. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Exhibit D:

Image Credit: Fox[/caption]

Nick called Jess, who was finally convinced of Edgar’s murderous intent. At which point he showed up for office hours. She screamed “Apricot!” into her phone half a dozen times in hopes that Nick would come rescue her. Instead, he kicked the ladder away, dropped his phone, and got wedged in the window like a fat hound in a doggy door. Edgar sat down to tell Jess the “risky,” deadly ending of his story. She babbled through her panic and clutched a pencil for defense. Nick managed to free himself and call her. When Edgar heard “I’m So Excited,” he fled. Jess told Nick “Apricots” was gone, and Nick was midway through a promise to protect her when Edgar’s mother clocked him over the head with a frying pan.

Of course it was all a misunderstanding — Edgar’s mother thought Nick was a burglar. They were ironing it out when Jess came barreling into the shed, jumped on Edgar, and got a face full o’ pepperwood spray. But what about all those drawings? Edgar explained they were sketches for his graphic novel, and he had based them on his own life just as Jess had taught him. (Their eyes were so beady because he’d always had trouble drawing eyes.) In fact, the most contentious moment came when Jess asked about the duffel bag. They both screamed, “Don’t ask about the duffel bag!” Added Mama Edgar, “…bitch.” They all had their come-to-Jesus moment, and Jess said sweetly, “Your son’s a really great writer.” Ah, but there’s a twist! She wasn’t Edgar’s mother — she was his lovahhhhh. Who smelled like waffles. And the duffel bag? It was apparently involved in their sex life — though I’d have to get Julius Pepperwood on the case to confirm that.

NEXT PAGE: Pogo = No-go

Meanwhile, Cece had to crash at the loft after the bathroom at the model apartment became clogged. Explained Schmidt: “This is what happens — four models with protein deficiencies sharing a shower. They shed like a $4 Christmas sweat-ter.” (Yes, friends, Schmidt can over-enunciate any word.) Within minutes of welcoming her, Winston accidentally grazed Cece’s nether regions with his Li’l Winnie. And we all learned, including Winston, that this was Winston’s “pogo” — the thing about him that everyone else laughs at when he’s not in the room.

After retaliated by declaring Schmidt “King of Pogos,” Schmidt’s insecurity took over. He tried to figure out what the roomies disliked. Could it be that he dances like a sea snake? Perhaps that he barges into people’s showers? Maybe his caterpillar eyebrows (which he plucked to hell and ended up looking like the love child of Spock and Raven-Symoné). Then he decided it must be the mole on his cheek and was milliseconds away from slicing it off with a straight razor when Cece strolled in and casually mentioned Schmidt’s “barnacle toenails.” Busted!

Cece tried to diffuse the tension by asking the boys what her pogo was. Of course she doesn’t have one, mainly because she’s Cece (a.k.a. perfect), but also because it’s “kind of a loft thing.” She felt left out and started making up pogos, first emphasizing her smart-ass shtick, then completely fabricating a creepy baby voice. Cece’s pogo play barely registered, though, because Schmidt was completely bent out of shape — not unlike his “calcified mongrel toes.” Eventually everyone’s pogos were revealed. Jess wondered, “Is it my pies? Are they tart?” but it’s actually her know-it-all personality. Nick’s pogo is what a pitiful example of humanity he is (see: Dotables).

Later, after Pepperwood’s sleuthing went awry, Nick did try to take better care of himself, albeit by frying bacon in a pool of butter and salt. While Jess restrained herself from telling him the right way to cook bacon, Nick was distracted by Schmidt’s description of his new pedicure regime (“The soaking really worked. They’re gorgeous! Went down a full shoe size!”), and the fat in Nick’s pan set off a small grease fire. Nick made things worse by spraying water on it, but Winston came to the rescue to stifle the fire with his robe. Unfortunately, this freed his “pogo” to bounce right into Nick’s pelvis when Nick gave him a thank-you hug. Winston: “It’s involuntary! It is a combination of adrenaline and great circulation!” While the others snickered, he ran out — thus reminding them of another Winston pogo: He farts when he runs.

NEXT PAGE: Story time(s)!

Notable Dotables…

A sampling of Ms. Day’s students’ work…

Male Student: My fluffy pillow. My yellow-y fluffy pillow. Next to my dog — my hairy dog, my beloved hairy dog. While I diddle myself… [that’s when Jess cut him off]

Female Student: He was a mer-man. He was the last of his kind, and he needed a mother for his mer-children. He was not a mer-gentleman.

“Edgar’s Story,” as read by Nick Miller…

“By day, I’m a plumber. By night, I’m a stalker. I sit in the bushes, wearing a gimp costume, stalking my prey. My prey is a deer. Her eyes are big — too big. Before she can blink those big eyes, I’m stabbing her. I stab and stab.”

Schmidt: Sounds like he likes stabbing.

“I love stabbing.”

Jess: It’s repetitive.

“After all the stabbing, I wash my hands in her dark, red blood.”

Jess: Listen to that detail!

Jess: It’s fiction! There’s no such thing as a gimp costume.

Nick: Oh, gimp costumes are real. Trust me.

Winston [simultaneously]: That’s a real thing.

Schmidt: You’ve seen me in one before!

Winston: I wanted to talk to you about the regrettable contact between Cece’s… her down-there and my, uh, my parts.

Schmidt: You practically shish kebab-ed her. Just let it go, man. You pogo’d her. [chagrin spreads across his face]

Winston: I’m sorry, what did you say? “Pogo”?

Schmidt: I didn’t, umm…

Winston: I heard “pogo.” What is that?

Schmidt: Fine. Look, Winston, fine. It’s what we call what you did this morning. It’s a shorthand.

Winston: Why do have a shorthand, Schmidt? Because it happens so often?

Schmidt: You pogo’d me once. You pogo’d Jess twice. Nick’s never been pogo’d directly. You did get his pizza once — which, by the way, is a whole ‘nother debate. How did you not feel that?

Winston: So, let me get this straight — you guys sit around and talk about this?

Schmidt: Your penis actually changed the channel when we were watching the Bears game once.

Descriptions of Schmidt’s pogo:

– “barnacle toenails”

– “a little rugged… woodsy”

Winston [facetiously]: “I have never wondered if you could shimmy up a palm tree. … It looks like an open Swiss Army knife!”

Schmidt: “It’s because I have a keratin surplus. … Most of them are hard, but one of them is really, really soft!”

– “calcified mongrel toes”

– “Gremlin toenails”

– “clickety-clacks… centaur boots”

– “koala claws”

Winston: At least you can hide your pogo in a shoe.

Schmidt: They make shoes for your penis — they’re called pants!

Schmidt: We don’t laugh about your pogo, Nick.

Winston: We’re worried about you.

Nick: You’re worried about me?

Schmidt: We’re worried that you’re not going to make it.

Nick: Make it to what?

Jess: Just in general — ’cause you don’t take care of yourself.

Schmidt: Sometimes I’ll crumple up vitamins, and I’ll put them in your food.

Jess: We all take turns sneaking money into your pants pockets before we put them in the dryer.

Nick: Edgar lives with his mother. Of course he does!

Jess: So? A lot of normal people live with their mothers — my uncle Randy.

Nick: He can’t go near parks!

An excerpt from Nick Miller’s Julius Pepperwood, Zombie Detective

“The night was inky hot. She strode into his office with a sense of purpose, place, [another word here?]. She had zombie legs that went on for miles. They were the kind of legs you could sink your teeth into. Pepperwood had two friends — one if you count his hat. The other was his Gal Friday, Jessica Night. She was small in stature but not in spunk — and a super-annoying know-it-all.”

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New Girl

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