While staying over, Jess's friend CeCe made a mantourage of Schmidt and Winston, then ramped up Jess's crazy by spotting Jess and Nick's subconscious flirtation

By Lanford Beard
Updated November 09, 2011 at 06:00 AM EST
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New Girl

S1 E5
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Jess’s friend CeCe may have been the one calling the shots, but Schmidt owned this episode. From the mini-kimono to the paralyzing fear of a mangy roof cat (“it was raised by birds!”) to the list of things he loves about India (especially chut-i-ney), it was his night to shine — with or without buckets of baby oil on his chest. It’s official: I have cleaned out a drawer in my heart for Schmidt. So we’ll start with him and mosey around until our feet are pointed directly at the weirdness-turned-sigh-inducing adorableness between Jess and Nick.

Friday night. Jess rescued CeCe from her cheating boyfriend (of three weeks), a European DJ with a face tattoo and a penchant for deep Vs. Since Deep V-jay was staying at CeCe’s apartment, she drunk-begged Jess to let her stay at the apartment for the weekend. Given Jess’s maternal instincts (did you see her cutely hand CeCe a bag of pretzel sticks outside of the club like an after-school snack?), of course she caved.

The ladies arrived home to find the guys “doing them.” By which I mean Schmidt was going commando in an ass-high kimono (“It’s on and poppin’!”). Winston ripped off his pants and was wrapping napkins around his body in retaliation. Schmidt: “You are laughing in the face of thousands of years of Japanese history. It’s an affront, Winston. An affront! This [kimono] is hand-crafted… in China.” For his part, Nick hoped for nothing more than some QT with his videogames and a little alone time to “do weird stuff on [his] computer.” Once Winston and Schmidt sandwiched CeCe for a lights-on, Jersey Shore-style dance party, and Schmidt shook his rump like a seasoned club ho (awesome!), Nick realized his plans were shot.

Schmidt successfully herded CeCe into his bedroom (Winston: “Are you sheepdogging her?”), only to miss his window when he spent the next 15 minutes jumping off the walls and rolling on the floor in a Parkour-inflected victory dance that somehow morphed into an Apolo Anton Ohno-style speed skate into his room. By then, CeCe had passed out, and it was the couch for Schmidt.

NEXT: Nothing makes for romance like baby oil and… gravity boots?

From there, the weekend was really just a showcase from Schmidt to amazingly, hilariously, tirelessly, and — natch — fruitlessly work every ounce of game he had ever tried, conceived, and/or heard from some mumbling guy on a street corner. The full frontal assault began Saturday morning as he oiled up and dangled from his door in gravity boots. CeCe woke up and shrieked at the sight, which Schmidt took as his cue to call out “…and 4,000.” You could almost believe he’d actually overexerted himself since he momentarily passed out minutes later, though I’m sure that was from hanging in wait for who-know-how-long.

CeCe headed to the bathroom, trailed by both Schmidt and Winston, who waited stalker-like while she showered with Schmidt’s body gelato). Despite Schmidt’s aforementioned feline phobia, the guys followed CeCe up to the roof deck. Schmidt carried on a blatantly fake phone call with some girl he was letting down gently even as she complimented his “god-like” skills in the sack. Winston, as per usual, watched and mocked, calling Schmidt’s phone to expose his gambit. It’s worth noting, of course, that Winston was also summarily shut down by CeCe all this time.

They headed inside. Schmidt pretended to work (“pulling in them ducats”) until Winston came in and smacked Schmidt’s horribly sunburned chest (damn baby oil), eliciting a girl scream as high-pitched and hilarious as Jess’s cackle-shriek when she saw Nick naked last week. Schmidt claimed the burn was “just a little color” and would soon “be brown like you, CeCe.” CeCe pressed him if even knew what her “brown” culture was and finally revealed she’s Indian. Schmidt enthused about his love for Indian culture, thus walking right INTO Winston’s trap: “Hey, Schmidt, why don’t you tell her about all the things you love about India.” Cue a laugh-out-loud bumblefest of the first 13 things Schmidt extemporaneously associated with India: “Well, you know, I love Slumdog… pepper, Ben Kingsley… the stories of Rudyard Kipling. I have respect for cows, of course. I love… the Taj Mahal, Deepak Chopra, anyone named Patel… I love monsoons… I love cobras in baskets. Naveen Andrews. I love mango chutney… really any type of chutney…” So. Good.

Amid all this, CeCe convinced Jess that Nick had a thing for her based entirely on how he pronounced her name. Jess justified, “He’s from Chicago” where they talk funny. CeCe pointed out that Nick turns his feet toward Jess during conversation. I mean, obviously, he might as well have been shoving his hand down her blouse. Can I get a, “What?!” Note to Jess: Don’t take dating advice from people whose boyfriends (or whatever that guy was) have face tattoos.

NEXT: Girl scuffles and “closing” arguments

Pushed by CeCe, Jess accompanied Nick for what would have otherwise been a routine trip to the drugstore. Instead, it became a full-on panic attack for Jess, who spotted Nick’s feet position and danced around Nick like a whirling dervish to evade him. Somehow she also managed to back herself into a corner wherein she said she doesn’t use toilet paper. Only Jess… And that was just the beginning! Moments later, when he playfully bought her roses from a lady on the side of the road, she jumped out of the car and ran home — in a flouncy, floral skirt (or was that a skort?), of course.

She arrived home minutes before Nick, whose worry had transitioned to anger during the hour-long search through rough neighborhoods for his fetchingly weird roommate and her bags o’ toilet paper — that she wouldn’t even use! After giving Jess an earful, Nick stormed into his room. CeCe started after him, but Jess grabbed her by the noggin (CeCe: “My face is my job!”) and set about a groaning, fumbling attempt to restrain her by any means possible. Eventually, Jess’s earring became tangled in CeCe’s hair, and they sunk to the ground to slowly disentangle. Jess finally stood up to CeCe and even got a catty-friendly “bitch” in for good measure. “Penis” last week, “bitch” tonight. Our girl is growing up!

Once again, there was neither Dirty nor chicken dancing at the end of the ep, but it was still a sweet, fitting conclusion. After Schmidt — sent back up to the roof by CeCe — survived a confrontation with the birdcat, Jess gave him a pep talk. She told the self-admitted “fat kid with the big dreams” to forget about CeCe and love himself for himself. As Schmidt got a little carried away with a buffet metaphor (see next page), I swear Max Greenfield stifled a laugh at the ridiculousness of his character, and that was worth the price of admission alone.

Even better, CeCe apologized for playing mind games with Schmidt that night and even grabbed his hand as they slept platonically in bed together. This is New Girl, though, so she did threaten to put a hit out on him if he told anyone. He, of course, waited until she fell asleep to call Winston — while still holding her hand and lying in bed with her, mind you — to insist that he had “closed.” Rule of thumb: If you’re on the phone, you’re not closing.

Elsewhere, Nick joined Jess in brushing her teeth, and they had a frothy conversation as she apologized to him for being… well herself, just more paranoid. With that, they returned to the status quo. Except! Between the apology and the tooth brushing, they had a total foot-to-foot moment followed by a mutual smile that confirmed there is definitely something there. Justin Long’s impending three-episode arc will probably gum up the works for the immediate future, but the Nick-Jess thing? It is on.

NEXT: The most unexpected 127 Hours reference of 2011

Notable dotables:

DJ: You ripped my deep V! This is my favorite deep V!

Jess: It’s just a deeper V!

Winston: Are you even wearing underwear? What is between you and that chair?

Schmidt: Just a little bit of sunshine.

Winston: All right, take off that kimono, please.

Schmidt: It’s my leisure wear, Winston. Look, I worked 80 hours this week. I just want to come home, put on my ‘mono, and just hang loose, man.

CeCe [to Nick]: You! Get up!

Nick: No, I don’t dance. I’m from the town in Footloose.

Winston: You know what? I think I might actually have a chance with her. I just have to be cooler than [Schmidt].

Schmidt: A wise man once foretold of a magical night where I would have nonsexual foreplay with a model, my friends, and tonight…

Nick: Don’t say, “Is that night”–

Schmidt: Is that night!

Winston: No. Not a chance. Never gonna happen. You’re not a closer.

Schmidt: Oh, I’m a closer. I’m-a close this conversation right now, my brother. Watch this… [Rebounds off coffee table.] Parkour!

Jess: CeCe, come on.

CeCe: All right, it’s just, I can’t find any bigger towels. [Gets out of the shower. Guys gawk.]

Schmidt [sheepishly]: You have a really beautiful body, CeCe. I really appreciate that. … Did you see that cleavage? I just want to get my arm stuck down there 127 Hours-style. I’ll just cut it for days. I don’t care. I’ll cut through the bone… the nerves…

Winston: Schmidt!

CeCe: Tell me who’s your perfect man.

Jess: Walter Matthau, Grumpy Old Men, and I could be Girl Jack Lemmon.

Jess [stressing over whether Nick is attracted to her]: Did I do this? Am I dressed too provocatively? Do I need to get thicker pajamas? Maybe it’s my posture. I have really sexy posture.

CeCe: I’m trying to help you!

Jess: I don’t need your help. Nick and I are friends. You don’t know because you don’t have guy friends at all. You just hang out with jerks like Gavin. Oh, I’m sorry — DJ Diabetes.

CeCe: He has diabetes.

Jess: He does? Boohoo! [Beat] I’m sorry. Is that really bad? I feel really bad…

CeCe: Oh, he’s fine, he takes medication.

Jess [later]: I’m not like you. I don’t just jump into the potato sack with the first potato… that I meet with diabetes.

CeCe: What did you just say?

Jess: You heard me, bitch.

Jess: You’re a good guy. You just have to ignore all the things that you do on purpose and concentrate on the things you do by accident.

Schmidt [touched]: Thank you.

Jess: She’d eat you up.

Schmidt: You really think she’d eat me up? Like buffet-style, like an all you can eat? ‘Cause I got that prime rib, yo. Carving station, plates are warm, sneeze guard, kids eat for free… I mean except for the last… [Hangs head down.]

Schmidt [on the phone, frantic]: I’m holding her hand right now! She’s in my bed! She’s asleep!

Winston: Wait, so you’re in the room right now? What is wrong with you? Hang up the phone!

Schmidt: I did it! I closed!

Winston: We could have this conversation at any time.

Schmidt: Shhhhh…. okay, we’re cool.

Winston: And just so we’re clear, when I say “closing,” this is not what I’m talking about.

What did you think, Newbies? Was tonight’s episode New Girl‘s best yet? Did you like CeCe getting a more substantial role as a foil for Jess? What was your favorite Schmidt bit? Do you dig Schmidt and Winston’s back-and-forth? Are you squeeing over the chemistry between Nick and Jess? What do you think about Justin Long joining the show? Do you think his appropriately adorkable, hipster style will suit Jess, or will it serve as a frustrating delay for Jess and Nick’s flirtation? What do you want to see Jess and her boys do next?

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