'New Girl' recap: 'Table 34' (season 2, episode 16)
This week picked up, like a bad hangover, the morning after that kiss. In a completely unsurprising development, Jess and Nick dissolved into grade-school antics when forced to confront the repercussions of their actions. They practically wiped boogers on each other at one point. But I kind of liked it. I knew they wouldn’t go from zero to “couple” in the space of one episode, and it was completely realistic for their characters. Elsewhere, Cece realized she wasn’t such a catch after all (at least in the Indian community), Schmidt uttered the words “I will Calcutt-a b—-” before making the boldest and most valiant move he’s ever made, romantically speaking (episode MVP!), and Nick sustained a lot of punches. A lot. But before that happened…
Nick awoke the next morning with a silent scream. He hurled insults, then rashly punched the wall (of course that was followed by a dog-level high chicken-squawk of a scream because he’d hurt his hand). In her room, Jess was still stunned speechless. They both fled their rooms and ran into each other in the hallway. The same hall where they’d tangled in a passionate embrace just hours before. But there was no confrontation because Nick panicked and moonwalked back into his room. Apparently the panic moonwalk is one of Nick’s well-worn defense mechanisms (one I really wish they’d established before this episode because… comedy gold!). Cue flashback of Jess saying, “So… terrorism.” Nick: [Panic moonwalk…]
Jess returned to bed, where Sam’s personality had sides we’ve never before seen, including a new proclivity for unironic morning fist bumps and a slew of compliments about Jess’s bedheaded beauty. This goofy sweetness made it difficult for Jess to come clean. But she had to tell someone, so she high-tailed it to Cece’s apartment, confessed, and was met with a long, shrill “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????” (I honestly believe that, if Cece had spun around, Jess would have experienced the Doppler Effect.) After the initial shock, she listened to Jess rant for about an hour before ultimately admitting of the kiss, “I mean, I saw through space and time for a minute, but that’s not the point!”
But I won’t leave out the details — a sex-deprived Cece certainly didn’t want Jess to. Jess claimed she “was like Scarlett O’Hara in my freaking curtain dress,” said the kiss was “firm but tender,” and mentioned how in that moment Nick “was a man and [Jess] was a wo-man.” Cece writhed and moaned over the adorka-porn because that‘s how hard-up she was. But she wasn’t distracted and turned the argument back to the real question: Does Jess like Nick? At this, Jess emitted such cartoonishly over-the-top laughter that it was clear she was in denial about her complex feelings for Nick.
Speaking of over-the-top responses, let’s cut back to the loft, shall we? Picture Schmidt decked out in traditional Indian garb. (Or, just let Winston describe it for you: “You look like the fortune teller in Big!”) Schmidt had learned Cece was attending an Indian marriage convention, and he was bound and determined to stop her. He had even studied for a week to become fluent in conversational Hindi. (“If that conversation is, ‘Hello.’ — ‘Hello. Samosa?’ — ‘Yes, please samosa! More towels. Do you know where the white person’s toilet is?'”) Nick was desperate to tag along to get out of the loft and away from Jess, and he roped in “Mojo Man” Winston. Not like Winston needed to be set up. He gotten his groove back, complete with merengue hips — or, as he called it, “side stuff” — thanks to his hook-up with Daisy.
NEXT: “Pink robes are my catnip!”
Little did Nick know, Jess also sought refuge at the convention. She’d tried to sit it out, but the all-business organizer refused, saying “We’ve had a lot of trouble with watchers.” So Jess and Nick were once again on a path to Sexual Tensionburgh. He tried to panic moonwalk away, stumbled over a chair, and stood up to carry on. Frankly, he’s just lucky there weren’t any open windows around this time. Nick was still moonwalking when Winston caught up with him. Nick admitted he’d kissed Jess and was met with a swift punch to the gonads. Winston was mostly perturbed at the possibility he might have to find a new roommate. (For the record, Winston affirmed that the ousted roommate would be Nick: “You think I like living with you? You have centipedes living under your bed. You’ve named your testicles — and they’re both named Sharon.”) He told Nick to apologize, then punched him where it hurt once more to make the message stick. (Nick: “Ohhhhhh, why Sharon?”)
Of course Nick’s apology only made things worse. Hint to Nick: Don’t apologize by telling the other person kissing them was “like kissing a cousin.” He insisted the kiss had meant nothing to him. Jess was all “It meant nothing to me!” They went back and forth, each insisting the other had wanted the kiss. (Technically, they were both right.) Jess cut it off by calling Sam. Nick, a.k.a. the guy who moonwalks away from uncomfortable situations, accused her of running, so she told him Sam would stay. Somehow, this only embolden Nick. He smugly swirled his finger in her face in a final, emphatic “neener neener.” And damn if even that wasn’t sexier than pretty much anything we’ve seen from Jess and Sam.
At that point, it was time to report to the tables. Much to Cece’s chagrin, she realized they had been organized according to level of education, employment, age, and other resume-based criteria. Turns out modeling and bartending aren’t highly prized professions at an Indian marriage convention. Yes, the caste system was alive and well at this event, and it had populated table 34 with Nick, Cece, a tubby ponytailed guy, a woman who had to be at least in her mid-50s, and a homely 30-something whose self-esteem plunged by the second. Theirs was basically the Indian version of this table. Not even Cece’s protestations that she’d been the hottie catching strawberries in her mouth in slow motion in Lil Wayne’s last could save her from reject row.
Thanks to his reclaimed mojo, Winston was at table 1 with the organizer, who revealed herself to be even more hard-up than Cece. Somewhere around the time she aggressively patted his tush (and maybe grabbed his Sharons?), Winston set about turning off his mojo. Long story short, the piranha hit on Winston all night long until he finally tossed a
defenseless puppy cater-waiter her way. When he gulped that, yes, he was afraid of small, tight spaces, she said gleefully, “Oh! You’ll do just fine.”
The remaining two, Jess and Schmidt — still looking “like a character from The Love Guru,” per Cece — were lumped at a table together. Schmidt: “You should feel complimented. I feel slightly insulted… no offense.” Sam arrived to find he was also at table 1, which Jess announced loudly just to spite Nick about what an all-star her boyfriend was.
But there was no more time for dilly-dallying. It was time for ice breakers! In the first, singles from two tables joined hands and passed around a hula hoop with their bodies. Needless to say, it was more of an excuse for Schmidt to ogle Cece while she undulated. For Jess and Sam, it was a sign of their physical incompatibility, which Nick enjoyed watching and swirling his finger gloatingly. Jess followed him to the bar to call him about taunting her. Of course that was when the second ice breaker started, and the kissing
cousins roomies were paired up to construct a table of nothing but newspaper and masking tape. If ever there was a job for Hobo Handyman Nick, this was it. They argued and tinkered, argued and tinkered. (Nick’s best lines: “It was like a damn fairy tale, that kiss! It was the best kiss of your life! … You have to take a little responsibility, tartin’ around in that little soft pink robe, not expecting to get kissed. I’m a man, Jessica! Pink robes are my catnip!”) Before they knew it, they’d built a table that could literally withstand the weight of Nick and a portly Indian man. Said the organizer: “Strong table, strong couple.” Jess and Nick: “We’re not a couple!” Sam, matter-of-factly: “It’s a strong table.” Me: “It’s a metaphor, man!”
NEXT: “Hey! M. Night Shyamalan, I got a twist ending for you…”
With the ice breakers finished, it was time for a musical chairs-style round of speed dating. Well, not so much for the poor chubby girl stuck trying to engage Schmidt while he eyed Cece longingly. He told her sweetly, but dismissively, “I’m so sorry, sweetie. Pass.” When he spotted one of Cece’s potential matches dressing her down for being selfish and impulsive, Schmidt snapped, “Hey! M. Night Shyamalan, I got a twist ending for you: Shut. Up. You better watch it, buddy, because I will Calcutt-a bitch up in here. I will Cal-cutt-a bitch!” Cece told Schmidt to leave her alone, but it was obvious she was affected by the douche’s snide remark, “I don’t date below table 6.”
Sam, being smart enough for table 1, could see that Jess had become flustered over her pairing with Nick. He asked if he should know something, and she finally came clean. Sam started to walk out, but Nick followed to take the blame. Cue up another sucker-punch for Nick, this time in the trachea. Jess: “Oh my God! He’s in such terrible shape, you could have killed him!” Nick, in a helium-high whisper: “I’m gonna kick your ass, man! [beat] Is there another doctor in the house? With this crowd, I’m sure.” Sam gruffly apologized, prescribed ice and elevation, then told Jess that, even if the kiss meant nothing to her, it meant something to him (Sam). And that was it. Farewell, Katie! Farewell, ill-fated cabin threesome! Farewell online fling that was never built to last!
Elsewhere, Schmidt stared across the ballroom at Cece. He took a slug of his martini as a look of pre-regret crossed his face. He walked up to the mic and delivered a rousing speech (see Dotables) about what idiots these men were if they didn’t recognize Cece as “brown angel” among them. Of course the guys swarmed her immediately, and Schmidt knee-jerked, “You don’t all have to run over there at once! She’s not that great, you guys. She’s kind of old… you should see her areolas — one’s like a helicopter pad, the other one’s like a tick bite. Very disorienting.” Nonetheless, Schmidt’s work there was done.
That night, tears streamed down Jess’s face as she tried to lose herself in rosé and Taylor Swift music (“22,” specifically). Of course Nick couldn’t let her wallow. He jerked, shuddered, and white-guy danced to the beat, but it only made Jess cry harder. So he stepped up his moves to what I believe was a primitive form of waacking. Nick wised up and realized that Taylor Swift has never made anyone feel better (not even Taylor Swift!). He turned off the music and tried to give her a pep talk. Granted, it was the worst pep talk ever — mainly a chance for him to celebrate the “victory” of making someone like Sam feel threatened by him. Seeing that Jess was on the verge of inconsolable, Nick nearly called Cece, but he realized this was his mess, he’d have to clean it up.
He apologized once again and promised not to kiss Jess again. (Crowd: “Noooooo! Drink more pink wine, Jess!”) Jess met him halfway and admitted her relationship with Sam might have been “a little bit broken” already. Witness: The morning fist bumps. Nick couldn’t resist laughing at this, but Jess was not amused. Too soon! She started to leave, and he stopped her to give her a hug. A really awkward, totally realistic hug given the situation. Still, they were getting back to normal — only with the indelible memory of that Gone With the Wind-fabulous kiss. Story developing…
Speaking of kissing, Schmidt and Cece? So. On. Considering her horniness and his Lloyd Dobler-style grand gesture, was there any other way for these two to end the night but humping like bunnies? “The plan hasn’t changed — I’m still marrying an Indian guy,” she insisted. “No, yeah, that’s fine,” he panted, “but you went home with a Jew in a turban — I’m just saying….” And for this one night only, Schmidt kept on the turban. As Nick so succinctly put it, “I’m glad everything’s back to normal around here.”
NEXT: “Blammo! That happened!”
Winston: I had the best sex of my life last night. Daisy said I was pretty good. You hear that? Pret-ty good! And I didn’t even use my hands.
Nick: You didn’t use your hands?
Winston: What? I just did a lot of side stuff.
Cece: You told me you had moved on.
Schmidt: Only people who haven’t moved on say things like that. I’m a squirrel, you’re my nut. Winter’s coming, and I’m gonna store you in my cheek, girl.
Cece: Please leave.
Schmidt: You and I not being together does not make sense to me. I miss your body… and the things I used to do to it.
Schmidt [whispering]: I’m talking about sex.
Cece: Today is about me finding someone within my own culture that I can build my life with. It’s about more than sex.
Schmidt: Our sex was about more than sex. It was about history… memory… thousands of years of colonial suffering all being released in one moment of pure ecstasy.
Cece: Then why did the sex always end with you yelling, “Blammo! That happened!”
Cece: You know why we’re at table 34?
Nick: ‘Cause we’re both bad at life, but we have model-good looks?
Schmidt continues to praise Indian stuff, sort of…
“When I came here today, I thought India was a pretty cool country. You guys are obviously smart — you look at the roof of a bus, and you say, ‘That’s not just a roof, that’s more seating.’ Kal Penn? He’s a genius, thank you for him. But what I didn’t know is that you are a country full of blind idiots. Because in your midst walks a brown angel. [Points to Cece] That woman, right there. I may be an idiot, but I’m smart enough to know what I lost. You people could have had it all, and you shoved her over there at a table with Nick. Get your crap together, India! Schmidt! Out.” [drops mic]
Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.