New Girl
Credit: Fox

Poor Winston! He was so excited about his “meet my friends” dinner with his weird new girlfriend Bertie (Jessica Chaffin), and everyone totally bailed on him — well, everyone except Coach and Cece, who couldn’t think of anything better to do until they realized they could do each other (or try, at least). Bad form, gang. “Sister” challenged a lot of bonds, both in and out of the immediate friend group, but I can’t really say it moved all that much forward. The only exception: We should be getting a lot of backstory on Jess now that her sister Abby (Linda Cardellini) is set to stay for a while — hopefully Abby turns out to be a less bats–t-crazy sis than Caroline Sackler. Now to the business of how the New Girl gang got a new loftmate…

It all began when Jess’s mom called. After apologizing for interrupting Jess during “the most sensual time of the day,” she told Jess Abby that had been arrested in San Diego for stealing from a hotel. Mrs. Day asked Jess to spring her wild-child big sis from the clink and put her on a plane back to Portland. At which point Jess was immediately in a pickle completely of her own creation. Despite the fact that I don’t remember Jess ever uttering a word about her sister, she’d apparently billed Abby as a jet-setting fashionista instead of the bad seed she actually is, and of course Jess didn’t want Nick discovering her secret shame.

The only catch? Nick was insistent upon (and even super-excited about) meeting Abby. Within seconds of meeting her, we understood why Jess was in a tizzy. Abby was the type of “free spirit” who would start a jail brawl over a packet of gum, who didn’t have any scruples about memorizing and using Mrs. Day’s credit card, and who could have killed them both by shoving her hands over Jess’s eyes while li’l sis was driving. Suffice it to say, Abby’s loosey-goosey vibe didn’t mesh with Jess’s goody-two-shoes person (not to mention Jess’s constant anxiety-a-cappella-singing).

Still, Jess and Abby eventually began to bond — by making fun of their mom, naturally — when Jess left the room and Abby intercepted a text from Cece asking, “So, has Abby ruined everything yet?” She fled the apartment. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Day called and offered to help her “baby,” but that was exactly the word Abby had used to tease Jess moments before, so Jess insisted she could handle it. Jess eventually found Abby in the act of fleecing a hotel lobby bar server. When the sisters arrived at the airport, Abby admitted she had been stirring up trouble because she was afraid going home would force her to acknowledge her failure and begin her transformation into their mother. To be continued…

NEXT: A hit and a mitzvah

No surprise, Schmidt had been the first to bail on Bertie’s soup smorgasbord (noted Winston, “She is making 10 or 11 soups, and all of them are cream-based”). Working in Jess’s favor, Schmidt enlisted Nick for a night’s worth of shenanigans. You see, Nick was “the best wingman who’s ever wung” thanks to Nick’s willingness to do such things as lie about recognizing Schmidt as the author of the book So You’ve Mastered the Female Orgasm, Now What? And so the guys crashed a bar mitzvah so Schmidt could hit on a Hebrew school teacher named Rachel. Rachel also just happened to be the daughter of the rabbi (Jon Lovitz) Schmidt had consulted amid his emotional crisis in “The Box” — the rabbi who hated Schmidt.

Schmidt and Rachel’s flirtation was incredibly short-lived since Nick took a phone call from Jess, allowing the Rabbi to turn his attention back to Rachel and catch Schmidt in the act of seduction. (This development was likely in Schmidt’s best interest since we learned during their brief conversation that Rachel recently got out of rehab and has a voice that is closer to Howard’s mother on The Big Bang Theory than Barbra Streisand.) In the heat of the moment, though Schmidt made it all about how Nick had abandoned him. Nick, however, had become insecure that Jess was ashamed of him. Having introduced Jess to his own family in “Chicago,” he also had his share of trashy jailbird blood relations, which was, ironically, another thing the roomfriends have in common on a rather short list. Jess should have milked it!

Not too long after the fight, Schmidt rejoined Nick to apologize and say, “If [Jess is] really ashamed of you, then she’s the stupidest bitch in the whole wide world” — of course he immediately realized he’d gone too far and apologized for that, too. In turn, Nick said he was sorry for failing as a wingman. Schmidt said wistfully, “What happened to us, man? We used to be the best in the biz!” Nick insisted they were still were, and they tried to prove their “Still got it”-ness with high five, but they kept missing, and it turned into more of an awkward hand clasp. Eh, Schmidt la vie.

And so it was on to phase two of Operation: Hebrew School Confidential. Nick was tasked with ruining the bar mitzvah so Schmidt could save the day. He attempted to do so by launching into a seemingly drunken tirade. Unfortunately, the older lady he picked as a target was so happy for the attention that Nick only piqued her interest with his increasingly bizarre comments (“You’re breakin’ my heart, beautiful! And all I do is love you, I give, and I give! I’ve been working for 40 years at the steel mill for you! … I want to rip that blouse off ya and put it on me! I want to wear your lipstick. I want to rip those earrings off and put ’em on, and I want to be the girl!”). Not getting the response he wanted, Nick reared back like a cobra and went into for a passion GGILF smooch. This last-ditch effort was sufficiently horrifying to the guests at the bar mitzvah, only Schmidt was too slow to react. As he headed toward Nick, a doctor by the name of Nussbaum knocked Nick out, securing got the rabbi’s approval — and a date with Rachel.

The guys went home and both confronted Jess for being embarrassed of Nick. Jess denied it, and Abby strode out to corroborate that Jess was actually embarrassed of her. You see, Jess hadn’t let her sister get on the plane, and now Abby is bunking down in Jess’s room for at least a couple weeks (“a month, tops… six months, super-tops”). Side effect: Jess and Nick are officially cohabitating in Nick’s room. Pressure’s on, lovahs!

NEXT: “Just the right amount of tang”

Elsewhere, Coach was also itching to avoid the dinner because of the perceived weirdness that this “night lunch” had basically devolved into a double date with him and Cece as one of the couples. As you’ll recall, they went out on their first date months ago, and she never texted him back. Winston told him to suck it up: “Be a man, Coach! Be there by six, and bring a bottle of wine. And don’t be cheap, either. Bertie is a Somalian.” (Ha! I think sommelier is the word you’re looking for, Winny the Bish.) Cece was clearly nervous, too, and they pre-gamed with some Scotch to ease their nerves. Unfortunately, the nerves were back up when Abby barreled into the loft, barely missing a beat before zeroing in on how Coach wanted to sleep with Cece — who didn’t necessarily feel the same.

The truth came out at the dinner. Between slurps, Coach claimed Cece had “iced [him] out.” She shot back, “You texted me back, ‘Happy Monday’; what am I supposed to do with that?” Winston tried to distract them by recommending the Fisherman’s Bisque (“Is that tang? That’s tang!”), but soon enough they were fighting as foreplay. Flash forward to the alley below Bertie’s apartment, where Coach and Cece tried to recreate their previous sexy makeout session. Emphasis on the word tried because it was the clumsiest hook-up this side of Juan Pablo and Sharleen’s first kiss on The Bachelor, plus plenty more bungled power squatting and near head injuries. They agreed to be friends, only to go in for another kiss that may have chipped Cece’s tooth.

So, what did you think, Newbies? Are you excited for more Linda Cardellini? Sad for the hotness we’ll lose in a possible Coach/Cece relationship? Or happy that Schmidt’s path to Cece’s heart is clear once more? Should Nick and Jess rock giant sunglasses all the time? Ponder your answers while you drink in the Dotables like one of Bertie’s many soups!

Notable Dotables…

Nick: Well, I can’t wait to the meet the mysterious Abby Day.

Jess: Not mysterious… a jet-setter.

Winston: You know, I always imagined her with a French-speaking black husband, like a Jerome St. Pierre.

Schmidt [sees Nick combing his hair in the bathroom]: Oh good God, is that a common barber’s comb?!

Nick: Look, I just want to make a good impression on Jess’s sister.

Schmidt: Yeah, well I want Julia Child not to be dead, but here we find ourselves.

Nick: What is this?

Schmidt: A bar mitzvah.

Nick: I am not watching a kid get circumcised.

Schmidt’s Vision of His Future With Rachel:

“I’ll get her on the dance floor, ‘A little bit softer now… A little bit louder now,’ I sweep her off her feet, we get married, have a son named Elon, and at his bar mitzvah, I tell him the story of how we met at this bar mitzvah, not a dry eye in the house! Jewish continuity, et cetera, et cetera….” [And later, a new plan.] “[Nick,] I need you to ruin this bar mitzvah. And then I come out there and knock you out — again, it’ll be a stage punch, don’t worry, I’ve done productions of West Side Story, I was a Puerto Rican Shark. The rabbi will then come out, he’ll thank me, the hero, he’ll offer me his daughter’s hand, then five years from now when Rachel is pregnant with Elon’s little sister and we’re having a beautiful family New Year’s down in our vacation condo in the Florida Keys….”

Schmidt: Ahhhh, Rahk-khell, baruch atah ado-nice dress.

Rachel: Thank you! Uh… shabbat sha-hello!

Schmidt: Haha, yeah! It wasn’t as good as mine, but it was cute.

Rabbi Feiglin: No! You will not speak to my daughter. Rachel, this man is a nutball!

Schmidt: A nutball? How dare you! I’m a goofball.

Rabbi Feiglin: Sammy Davis Jr. was a goofball. You, sir, are no Sammy Davis Jr.

Jess: Hey, Outside Dave, have you seen a girl that looks like me but with chaos in her eyes?

Outside Dave: Sorry, I’m doing my taxes. [Inputs numbers on an imaginary calculator] Oooh! I’m taking in more than I’m spending. Quick question: Is peepee a write-off?

Abby: Mom was right, [Nick] does have an uptown butt.

Jess: What?

Abby: I’d like to put that butt in ski pants.

Jess: What does that mean?

Nick: Nothing.

Abby: Everything.

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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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