By Lanford Beard
Updated January 15, 2014 at 05:54 AM EST
New Girl
Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox

It’s interesting that this week was all about scoring because New Girl needs a win just about as bad as Coach’s beloved Pistons. Did it get one? Well, let’s just say this week probably could have used more overtime. To mix metaphors à la Schmidt, the show stuck the landing — which saw Jess and Nick in sports jerseys that symbolized compromise — but the episode overall left me wondering, Did I really need to go through all that just for this? I guess any game, or relationship, sees phases of exciting conflict followed by plenty o’ same-old-same-old… unfortunately, the relationship in which we’re truly invested (Jess and Nick) is mostly static for the time being, while the attempt to create conflict occurred between Jess and… Coach? Let me explain.

“Basketsball” (named after Jess’s malapropism for netball or the hoopgame, or whatever the sporty kids are calling it these days) found our heroine desperate to get buddy-buddy with Coach. Unfortunately, she’d learned during a “Team Drug Store” trip that Coach considered her nothing than more his buddy’s girlfriend. She griped to the other guys: “What a walnut! It’s been two months… and I have yet to crack him.” At Nick’s suggestion (sort of), Jess embarked upon crackin’ that nut with a lot of basketball watching. You see, she was convinced that sports would eventually lead to revelations about his past because “childhood [is] the friendship money shot.”

Coach quest, alas, also involved a fair amount of lying because Jess didn’t know a damn thing about a “basketsball.” You know who did know about basketball? Nick. A diehard Bulls fan, he was predisposed to despise the Detroit Pistons, Coach’s team of choice, but he was willing to humor his lady. That is, until she made some headway by somehow convincing Coach the “Pistons Butt Bump” was a thing (it’s not, right?) and slithering into his bed wearing a Pistons shirt. Thus began the “sex stand-off”; the “sex tap” was off.

Amid bouts of mind-numbing losses by her new team, fair-weather fan Jess also had to confront Nick’s seductive taunting, which included repulsive metaphors (sexy dental hygiene?), at least one pair of short-shorts, several racy photos taken with a disposable camera, and a lot of sexy squats. Witness:

Ridiculously, yet predictably, Nick managed to turn on himself more than Jess.

For Jess, the stand-off meant pretty much doing everything she’d been doing all along… just with a few more Paula-Abdul-circa-1989 tics. What can I say? Men are easy. In any case, all the high jinks were in service of their respective points about male-female relationships as well as their resolve as “sports fans” (I use those quotes loosely in the case of Jess. Obviously).

Long story short, Jess and Nick both broke eventually — Jess in more ways than one. After she sabotaged the common room TV in hopes of having actual conversation with Coach, he lured her to a sports bar, where she finally came clean. Weirdly, her giving up worked in all regards. It led her to slip into a Bulls jersey and wait for Nick — who had himself donned a Pistons jersey. And thus ended the sex stand-off.

Backtracking a little, Nick had advised Coach to give a little to his relationship with Jess, so Coach gave Jess a glimpse into his childhood — and into her future as more than just Nick’s girlfriend. Ironically, she’d already fully reinvested in her relationship by the time Coach came around. So his attempts at emotional intimacy would have to wait until she was done having makeup sex with Nick. Apparently, they’d be the only ones doing butt bumps that night.

NEXT: Respect your elders, Schmidt!

Elsewhere, Winston’s lack of a career trajectory after last week led him to Schmidt. The aspiring marketing — not advertising — honcho magnanimously offered to let Winston shadow him for a day. When they arrived at Schmidt’s office, Schmidt discovered his 45-year-old superior had been forcibly retired. In order to combat her ageism lawsuit, the company had brought in a much older, avocado-obsessed gentleman named Ed. He, too, would shadow Schmidt. Long story short, Schmidt’s disregard for his elders and his desperate desire for the promotion resulted in him arrogantly spilling his best, and only, idea — Micro-Marketing, a.k.a. the incredibly well-trodden concept of Niche Marketing — to Ed.

Of course Ed swiped that idea right out from under Schmidt at the next morning’s meeting. Even Winston had seen this coming (and so had I about the time Ed started waxing rhapsodic — and sardonic, to my estimation — about “a ticker tape parade for [Schmidt]… in the Jewish part of town.”) Somewhere amid a minnow metaphor that just wouldn’t quit, Schmidt set about planning an elaborate retaliation. Winston advised him to consult Nick — the oldest-souled thirtysomething you’ll ever meet (see Dotables) — which led Schmidt to jam all the company’s printers. Ed was so discombobulated at having to use newfangled technology like PowerPoint(!), he faked a heart attack to get out of it. But he didn’t leave without warning Schmidt, “You got me this time, Hebrew, but I’ll be back!”

Oh yeah, and apparently Winston’s nose for details means he should be a cop (according to Cece). He’s “already got high cholesterol and weird people skills,” says Schmidt. And “a hell of a moustache,” per Winston from Training Day. So… I guess on the spectrum from cat dating to bell choirs, it could be worse? Ohhhhhh, Winston. (Silver lining: Maybe Winston and Furguson can reboot Turner & Hooch?)

Notable Dotables…

Jess: I need to find a way in [with Coach]. I found a way to force myself into all of your lives, you just didn’t know it. [Points to Nick] Food! [Points to Schmidt] Clothes! [Points to Winston] Onesie pajamas!

Winston: I like the butt flap.

Nick: You really think mine was food? I can think of five other reasons why I wanted to be your friend — boob, boob, vagina, butt cheek, butt cheek.

Schmidt: In that order?

Nick: I’m not going to say vagina, butt cheek, boob, butt cheek, boob.

Schmidt: Yeah, but that’s the correct order…

Nick: That’s the order, yeah.

Jess: What are you doing?

Nick [in a husky, come-hither voice]: Just brushing my dirty teeth. They’re filthy.

Jess: Nick, do not challenge me to a sex stand-off. I can channel all my energy frustration into knitting — how do you think I made it through high school?

Nick talks technology (a.k.a. Where’s Drunk Uncle when you need him?)…

“Where are you guys getting your photos developed these days? I’ve got these beefcake selfies that I want to dangle in front of Jess. These are sexy, sensual private pics. I don’t want ’em beamed right into Snowden’s pocket. I’m not going through Wiki-weeks, man. It’s not for me. Analog — it’s the only thing you can trust. Here’s the reality: You never know what’s going to happen with a phone. The hinges that hold the flip together, they get loosened over time when they get wet, and then, once you open it, it’s easier for people to go in there and see your passwords and, you know, see your codes. And once the screen breaks, you’re information’s all out there in the Twitterverse, man. And it’s all out there for everyone to see — all these little monkey-elfs, man, all these kids. That’s all they do — get your information, man. Bottom line is, you can’t control your technology. That’s what’s going on in Japan with all these robots. Not for me, man. That’s why I trust a hard copy. Plain and simple.”

Nick: You want to know a trick?

Coach: Absolutely.

Nick: This is how you get in with Jess — you know how you’re driving in your car and have a random thought, like, “I wonder if seals are friends?”…

Coach: Yeah, or like, “I really want to text, but there’s a cop behind me…”

Nick: That’s not what I mean.

Coach: “Why do T. Rex have little arms?”

Nick: Don’t finish…

Coach: “What if they have an itch in their crotch? How do they scratch it?”

Nick: I mean more like sweet, kind of emotional stuff. Like, “If you combined a gorilla’s hair, would it like it?”

Coach: Like… “I’ve never seen a baby pigeon before.”

Nick: Exactly!

And because there’s no better note to end on…

Episode Recaps


New Girl

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

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