Ray Mickshaw/Fox
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December 07, 2011 at 05:30 AM EST

As much as I do enjoy me a good hand bell performance, there was something missing from last week’s episode, no? And it wasn’t just Paul Gunslinger, who made an unforgettable second appearance this week. (Remember that Jimmy Stewart-tinged sex scene we told you about last month? Oh, it was on tonight, my friends.) But it was more than just Long’s return that got things cooking tonight.

After a Winston-heavy week (which I’m not complaining about, mind you), the show’s ensemble balance was restored. There was a delightful mix of broad comedy and inspired character-based humor. Tonight was definitely one of the best episodes of the season, which I feel like I say almost every week — but that’s kind of the charm of the show, no? It may have gotten off to a slow start (though I know many of you would fiercely disagree with me on that point), but once it hit its stride, the bar has gotten successively higher and higher. Okay, enough praise-heaping. Let’s get it on…

The night’s wheels were set in motion when Jess and Paul had an exceedingly awkward first time (we’re talking Carrie and Berger-level awkward), or at least an exceedingly awkward attempt at their first time. While most people would probably blame Jess for scatting and cheering about “Intercooooourse” right before the deed, Jess pawned it off to the fact she hasn’t had sex with anyone but Spencer for six years (“It’s like starting a new job with a really weird interview”). Nonetheless, she was committed to rocking Paul’s world, telling the guys, “I am gonna tap him like a maple tree. I’m going be searching for some syrups…” and, in case they didn’t grasp the metaphor, “I’m going to have sex with him.” But as you can imagine, it’s not easy to get your freak on if you’re the kind of person who refers to male genitalia as a “pianist” (and don’t even get me started on the “gumbo pot” euphemism).

NEXT: Jess asks the guys for a birds and bees talk

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