Nick's search for a mobile phone sparks his inner Marxist... for about five seconds

By Lanford Beard
Updated March 21, 2012 at 04:30 AM EDT
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Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
S1 E17
type
  • TV Show
network
  • Fox

Interestingly, this week’s episode dealt more with growing up than Nick’s brush with mortality. Would you agree Newbies? Generally, the roommates have never had to deal with proper adults without some sort of buffer (Jess’s principal’s disdain, Schmidt’s bosses sexual shortcomings, Remy’s… well… Remy-ness). Tonight, they met a certified real-person with responsibility, a job, and the money to prove it. All that’s pretty terrifying for a raggedy bunch of Millennials.

Speaking of #millennialproblems,Nick needed a new phone. Only, his abysmal credit score (250!) made him what the folks at the bank would call “undesirable.” The phone store employees were too busy congregating and laughing at Nick (“Did you just wake up from a coma?!”) to search for the box of Africa-bound charity phones Jess presumed existed, so our plucky heroine tried to bright-side the situation: “This can be your thing! You can be the guy without a phone…. You can go all Ghost Protocol on everyone.” Nick snarked, “I always wanted to be a mole person.” He did embrace a little Ethan Hunt aesthetic briefly action by rocking a hoodie, though, and also consoled himself by sending snail mail “texts” to friends and getting all Marxist and Damn-the-Man!-y up in here. Nick chose not to have a phone, you see. He totally wasn’t rejected for having the credit score of a gambling addict ex-con!

Meanwhile, Jess had a run-in with Russell Schiller, her student’s parent. Perhaps she didn’t make a good impression by wearing a bowler cap, offering up a pathetic interpretation of a British accent, and yammering about taking condoms off cucumbers. Or perhaps Russell’s confidence, richesse, devilish good looks, and (per Schmidt) “voice of a matinee idol” were simply intimidating. In other words, hello Dermot Mulroney! Long story short, these two did not hit it off when Russell wanted to pull his daughter out of Jess’s artistic power hour (or “Dream Sess,” as she called it) in favor of private tutoring. To be fair, the girl was doing weird 3-D art installations with doll heads, which is less the stuff of dreams than that of nightmares. Jess was angry, but her principal said disagreeing with Russell was not an option because he might pull his megabucks from the school’s funding. She ordered Jess to apologize to Russell, saying, “From now on, your classroom is full-on North Korea: ‘Math! Math! Math!'”

Of course Jess decided on exactly the opposite course of action. Granted, there was a lot of goading from Nick, who was suddenly a radical Leftist after his phone store humiliation. For the record, Schmidt encouraged Jess to keep groveling and blow off steam on the weekends by… wearing lots of Fila? Yeah, I didn’t get it, but it was totes Schmidt. He also urged her to claim she was on her period — a negotiation tactic he had employed successfully in the past — mainly because it stunned the other party into confusion and so convinced him that he was willing to humiliate himself that they counterintuitively respected him (or so he convinced himself). Winston’s suggestion to apologize was obviously pushed aside, which led us back to Nick’s ridiculous proposal to march into Russell’s office and call him that most damning of insults: Mr. Fancyman.

On the way over, Jess’s car broke down. Way to show the man his material good and wealth can’t control you! At any rate, she was close enough to Russell’s office that he spotted her, called a tow truck, and loaned her his car to drive home. Yes, you heard that right. Loaned her his car. That’s what rich people do, apparently. He also invited her to a barbecue at his mansion. She had no choice but to hate him… and slowly fall in love with him. Schmidt and Nick, with whom Jess was on speaker phone during this entire exchange (she had called them for a pre-confrontation pep talk), had their own responses: Nick screamed “We are the 99 percent!” and Schmidt wondered, “Is [he] a superhero? What kind of car is it? Is it an SL? Does it have a push ignition? Please tell me it’s not a hybrid!”

NEXT: Party crashers in the house tonight

Jess brought Nick with her to Russell’s cookout for support. Despite all his big talk about the shackles of Capitalism, Nick was immediately intoxicated by the scent of leather and cowboy Shakespeare (I’ll elaborate on that stream of consciousness in the dotables). Try as she would, Jess ‘s resolve started to fall apart — just like the deconstructed spring roll Russell fed to her (“This is so amazing, I want to punch you!”). Shortly thereafter, Russell found Nick trying on his newsboy cap and cashmere sweater in the study. The fact that he wasn’t completely freaked out by this encounter means he might have a shot hanging with these crazy coots. In fact, he wasn’t just not freaked out, he was enthusiastic to spend time with someone close to Jess because he liked Jess and wanted to know more about her. Russell was also generous enough to give Nick a phone, a subtle nudge to grow up, and the aforementioned sweater. He did adamantly insist that Nick to fold it: “Don’t hang it. Fold it.”

Around the time Jess was attacked by a Japanese talking bidet (she dialed it up to six happy faces — at least three happy faces too many!), she became flustered enough to stand up to Russell… and immediately flee the manse. Nick, who had fully been bought off by cashmere and technology by then, stopped her and encouraged her to give Russell a shot: “Don’t be intimidated just because you’re younger, poorer, and wetter than everybody in there!” Jess returned to the party and had a pond-side heart-to-heart with Russell in which he revealed his vulnerabilities (his daughter “wanted to go bra shopping, so [he] bought her a ski vest”) and asked Jess for a date. You might be wondering why I mentioned the pond just then, yes? Because after accepting Russell’s invitation, Jess promptly fell into it. Nick ran over to save her, but he was pretty ineffective since he spent several moments folding his new sweater as Jess yelped, “Koi in my dress! Koi in my dress!”

Elsewhere, Schmidt’s impressive pub quiz skillz triggered Winston’s insecurity. He thought Schmidt was making him look stupid in front of Shelby. It’s worth noting that Schmidt was so smug indeed, that he began to Douchebag Jar himself during this episode. Is it a catharsis if it only reinforces your terrible behavior? More to the point, Winston’s fears were unfounded because the only person Schmidt can make look bad is Schmidt himself. Regardless, Winston confronted Schmidt, who was predictably unsympathetic. It devolved into a hilarious argument in which Schmidt designated Winston “the second smartest in the loft,” then quickly retracted that claim since “Jess is a teacher of children.” Did I mention that Schmidt was doing glute-toning walking lunges this entire exchange before announcing his move to the stairwell to work on his calves? (He advised Winston to do the same. Not quite as hilarious as the 5-7 pound comment about Nick the potential cancer patient, but still totally Schmidtastic.)

Winston sought help in an unlikely source: His precocious manny charge Alvin (remember him?)! Winston enlisted the fake glasses-wearing youngster to help him memorize scores of trivia factoids, which he immediately screamed out in answer to all the wrong questions come quiz night (FYI: Crispin Glover was not the first man to die in the Revolutionary War). Amused by Winston’s attempt to impress her, Shelby assured him, “I don’t want some smart, rich guy who owns his own car. I want you!” And so Winston and Shelby were a thing. As they kissed, Schmidt warned, “Shelby, be careful with his mustache, please. It’s very delicate.” Then, “Winston, I hope you’re better in bed because your street work is embarrassing.” Finally, he offered to put on some Jodeci. As you do.

NEXT: A bluegrass rendition of “Fight the Power”? Only on New Girl!

Notable dotables:

Jess: I’m Jessica Day.

Russell: Did you just curtsy?

Jess: I did, yes.

Russell: Is this a bad time?

Jess: Nope. I was cleaning up from the sexual health class. I had to take condoms off of 30 cucumbers, and condoms are harder to take off than I thought. I know how to put them on, but I didn’t know how to take them off. I guess someone else has always done it for me!

Jess: So [what if] he pulls his donation? You know what? I’ll raise the money myself. I’ll get a ragtag group of kids together — a lost soul, an orphan, a Jewish kid with a keyboard, a little slut who can dance, and one fatso! And I’ll choreograph some dances and make a show!

Principal: You did that already, Jess. It’s called the spring musical, and it literally brought in $60.

Winston: So let me get this straight — you think because you know a few facts about Princess Kate you’re smarter than me?

Schmidt: First of all, Kate is a Duchess — and whip-smart by all accounts.

Jess: I have to grovel. I hate groveling. I would have lasted two seconds in the court of the Sun King. I think about that all the time!

Nick: You do?

Nick: This is the problem, Jess. It’s rich people. We are right where they want us, Jess — just suckling on the teat of consumerism. It’s the exact reason I got rid of my phone.

Winston: You were denied a cell phone because you have the credit score of a homeless ghost.

Nick: How I got here doesn’t matter.

Winston: You weigh more than your credit score.

Nick: March into his office and say, “Hey Mr. Fancyman, you can’t tell me what to do! Your money doesn’t own me!’ And then throw away your phone!

Jess: Yeah! I’m gonna throw my phone into the fiery chasm where he keeps his poor people!

Nick: Actually, scratch that. My mom’s got your number in case of emergency.

Jess: Okay, I’m going to start with a quote against Social Darwinism, then a discussion of the Gilded Age, the robber barons, the Great Society — how we ended up with a huge wealth disparity in this country — and then I end with a bluegrass version of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”

Nick: Bad finish.

Jess: And then he gives me his car. Just handed over the keys. It’s, like, soooo… rich people! Always giving you their cars. It’s, like, “Look at me… cars!” You know what he’s doing? He’s taking back the power so I have to go to his cookout and, instead of standing up to him, I have to grovel.

CeCe: Just a thought — what if he likes you? This guy is single, and he’s sweet.

Jess: Sweet? No! He’s not sweet. I’ll never go for that guy.

CeCe: Why?

Jess: Because! He’s the type of guy who has a linen closet and a towel warmer. You know me. I’m only attracted to guys who are afraid of success and think someone famous stole their idea. I like an underdog.

CeCe: Spencer didn’t even own sheets and wore jellies!

Jess: Yeah. We slept on a pile of washcloths.

Russell: I got this [phone] as a gift from the company for Christmas.

Nick: Oh, that’s great. My boss gave me three credit cards he found at the bar and said, “You didn’t get these from me.” [Awkward pause.] It’s a bartender joke. I’m a bartender. We don’t steal credit cards!

Nick’s reactions to all things Russell

  • “For starters, look at this [house]. I’m betting at one point there was a moat. Rich boy!”
  • “A kitchen island? Be a man! Let your counter attach to itself.” [Jess: “We’re making an egg, not going to outer space, guys!”]
  • “I want to sit at that desk and veto a law. When I put my hand on this desk, I feel sexually proficient for the first time in my life.”
  • “Do you smell that? It smells like leather and Teddy Roosevelt and wistfulness.”
  • On the above phone: “It feels really good in my hand. Is it possible to be sexually attracted to an object?”
  • “I don’t know why I put [the sweater] on. I just came in here and it smelled like Shakespeare — if Shakespeare were a damn cowboy — and a hawk’s nest and boat fuel and cigars and bourbon. Man stuff!”
  • “He smells like strong coffee and going to see a man about a horse.”

How Power Nick would talk, a.k.a. how evil geniuses are born

  • “I’m President Miller, you’re all fired! Bring our boys home.”
  • Clutching a wooden mallard: “I want to kill you… because I respect you. [to Jess] I think I understand hunting!”
  • “You want to come in here and charge me a billion dollars? That’s nothing to me!”
  • “You’re off the streets… [pause] I don’t want to either, you’re the best cop I got!”
  • “It’s President Miller of Earth. I’d like to speak to the Galactic Emperor, please. [pause] Yeah it’s about money.”
  • “I’m going to push a piece of paper across the desk that I’ve written a little number on…. Why don’t I just tell you? It’s $5 kabillion. What do you say? Is China mine, Mr. Ying?”

What did you think, Newbies? Did you like a little Mulroney in the mix? Does the idea of Jess entering a relationship with an actual grown-up appeal to you? Or, with the news that Paul Gunslinger will return, do you think Russell is just a (smolderingly sexy) layover? Would you like to see more Power Nick? Or is the seductive smell of leather and “going to see a man about a horse” just too much to bear?

Episode Recaps

New Girl

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

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seasons
  • 5
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  • In Season
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  • Fox
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