New Girl
Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX

Hello, Newbies! I’ll be subbing in for Lanford this week as she is jet-setting to her family home for Thanksgiving and I’m home alone with my cats. I like to think I’m whimsical like Winston with Ferguson — although I draw the line at taking showers with a cat. Let’s recap!

It’s the third Thanksgiving for the New Girl gang and a lot has changed — last year, Nick fell for Jess’s mom played by the incomparable Jamie Lee Curtis. Now, Coach is back, Schmidt is out of the apartment (but just down the hall), and Nick and Jess are together. Not just together, they’re co-hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Coach confronts Nick with the Thanksgiving Feast e-vite featuring Roger the trumpeting turkey. Nick denies having a part in creating it, even though he totally voted #TeamRoger to be the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

Coach calls Nick out for becoming a bit lost within his relationship. And he would know — he once dressed like his girlfriend (tube top and jean skirt, commando style) for Halloween even when she didn’t dress up like him. Nick “could not be more sorry” for Coach, but that doesn’t apply to him. However, Coach catches Nick wearing Jess’s pink pajama bottoms, which decidedly not “football player pants for Breast Cancer awareness.” Those would be much tighter and might “hug” his nether regions even more snuggly.

In order to reaffirm his manhood, Nick devises a patented “crazy Nick idea” to go camping for Thanksgiving. Ever the supportive partner, Jess goes along with the idea, only concerned with enjoying a nice meal with her friend-family. Nick and Jess pitch the idea to Winston and Schmidt, arguing that their past indoor Thanksgivings haven’t been so great.

Nick wants a Thanksgiving that serves as an “ultimate test of manhood” and “survival skills,” which is exactly what Thanksgiving is all about. Schmidt is eventually convinced, believing that although he’s never been camping, he always thought he’d be incredible at it. I’m not sure that’s how it works, but nevertheless the crew is off to the woods including Schmidt rocking an “exact replica of the hat Viggo Mortensen wore in Hidalgo.” It’s ridiculous thing to wear, but you have to admit, it’s a slick hat.

Cece comes along too, acknowledging how awkward it’ll be with both Schmidt and Coach there. However, it seems more awkward for the guys, neither of whom wish to step on the other friend’s toes. Schmidt boasts that he’s spent the past 12 hours researching everything about the “wood,” making him a master camper. Coach goes along with him, stating, “I don’t know anything about the wood. What is that a tree?”

Meanwhile, Winston and Cece bond over hating camping, but they’re both too good of friends — and too much of pushovers — to convince the others that Thanksgiving camping is not such a good idea. Actually, a Californian outdoor Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t be so bad — if one brought more than a cool full of beers (no ice) as sustenance. I know Jess is being nice and conciliatory, but if I spent the time and effort to make a bunch of pies for Thanksgiving, then I would definitely be going back for them.

Nick’s “plan” goes one step further — he wants to hunt and forage the land for food. Washington may have been a lot of things, but I doubt a cat milker was one of them.

Schmidt and Coach are into the “men! hunting! killing!” aspect of the plan whereas the only hunt Winston is interested in is named Bonnie or Helen. Winston has solidified his role as the group weirdo, who inexplicably remains the sanest one of the bunch — and as my favorite character.

NEXT: “Who’s basically a lady now, Coach?”

Armed with a kitchen knife duct-taped to a pole, Schmidt, Coach, and Nick go hunting. And by hunting, I mean walk in circles and say things like “If something’s in there and you get injured, I promise you I will kill you fast.” Hunger Games, this is not — even if Schmidt can detect scat Bear Grylls-style. The episode relies on a wishy-washy conceit — aren’t they smart enough to realize how silly hunting and foraging in a state park for Thanksgiving is? But it does allow for inspired antics like Schmidt falling for his own squirrel trap. I guess he got into the mind of a squirrel all too well — just not this one. Fashioning a sling for Schmidt’s injured shoulder out of his jacket, Coach reveals that he was an Eagle Scout. He knows a thing or two about the wood, after all.

Jess tries to forage but relents to Coach and Cece’s insistence to go to a nearby country store after sticking her hands in a brambly bush. Following the plan to buy only foods “found in the forest,” they buy a fruit and vegetable smorgasbord including cashews, beets, and avocado. They can obviously be found from a cashew bush, beet bush, and avocado bush, duh. Upon returning to the camp — and slowly realizing they bought rather than gathered the food — Nick feels “betrayed” just like the first Thanksgiving. (No…that came afterwards.) He storms off to cook and eat his dead fish on his own.

Ever since he started dating Jess, Nick admits that he’s lost a bit of his identity including his high tolerance to alcohol. In a show of appreciation for his “mountain man” efforts, Jess eats from the rotted fish. Nick advises against it, confessing way too late that the fish was already dead when he caught it. She’s already swallowed the meat — bones and all — and soon after, starts to hallucinate and runs off. I’m not sure that’s how quickly delirium sets in but no matter, the show is on sitcom time.

The group searches for Jess, but as soon as they spot her, she falls into Nick’s bear trap. Nick jumps after her, head first — literally. Schmidt and Coach decide this is the best time to talk about their “feelings” as Coach admits that what Jess and Schmidt saw happen between Cece and Coach is as far as the two went. Now, Cece has been ignoring Coach. This comforts Schmidt, which, of course, angers Coach. Cece focuses the battling boys’ attentions, so that they make a pants-rope to pull Nick and Jess out of the trap. (On my Christmas list this year: lady versions of Winston’s non-kitten long-johns. Heck, they might already be the lady version.)

Cut to: Jess and the gang are at a local hospital, where Jess is being treated for eating rotten fish. But all is well — she doesn’t have rabies and didn’t lose her foot! Wait, what? (Moral of the story: don’t eat already dead fish.) Nick makes Jess’s initial wish for Thanksgiving come true with another smorgasbord, this time boasting a pack of brazilian nuts, chips, ginger ale, and an old cafeteria sandwich. New Girl shows that all you need for the holidays is to enjoy the company of family and friends — although not having Legionnaires’ disease is also probably ideal.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Or as terrible people say, Happy Brown Thursday!

Notable Dotables…

Jess: I thought you hated camping and nature. You said you were afraid a fly was gonna fly in your head and learn all of your thoughts.

Nick: (mumbling) Real men are on the bottom.

Jess: (correcting Cece) Grammar is important.

Winston: We could’ve made the craziest mugs, man.

Nick: Do you think George Washington had a pet cat? He didn’t. He hunted them, and he made milk and butter out of their spoils.

Coach: You’re saying George Washington milked his cat?

Cece: Nothing is sounding accurate at all.

Schmidt: Where’d you read this?

Coach:How do you get into the mindset of a squirrel?

Schmidt:(crouches) Tk-Tk-Tk-Tk! I’m a squirrel.

Coach:You do that really well.

Nick: I don’t mean to be laughing, but are you okay?

Coach: A little FYI, the first Thanksgiving was the good one.

Schmidt: Goodness gracious, what are you a sorcerer?

Jess: I’m seeing some interesting things. I’m out of the office ’til Friday. For immediate assistance, please call Deb at extension A.C. Slater.

Episode Recaps

New Girl

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

  • TV Show
  • 5
stream service