This holiday season, Winston got a job, Schmidt got Santa Lap, Nick got an earful, and Paul got... an anatomically correct stuffed heart?

New Girl
Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox
S1 E9

With the onset of the holidays, Jess had no doubts about her roommates gifts: Roller skates, duh! A gift for Paul, however, was a much trickier proposition since their relationship hadn’t really been defined. She initially drew up a gift certificate for “Nerdy Weird Sex That Works for Both of Us (No Returns or XXX-Changes)” before inexplicably settling on a stuffed, anatomically correct replica of 50-year-old non-smoker’s heart (with sound effects!). The second after giving it to him, she realized the tell-tale heart was creepy and no match for Paul’s present — two plane tickets to Vienna and passes for the Salzburg Music Festival. Then again, Jess gave CeCe (her best friend!) a stick-on mustache, and Nick gave his 12-year-old nephew a box of tacks — which was still better than that time he gave Winston a plastic bucket holding a thawed 7-Eleven microwave burrito. If you really think about it, Paul may have come out on top.

Paul insisted the heart was adorable and claimed he loved it. Then, overcome with emotion, he said he loved Jess and went in for a hug. After a loaded pause, she bumbled, “Thaaaaank youuu.” What other response could Paul offer than “You’re very welcome”? Oh sweet baby Jesus, if you need me, I’ll be hiding in a corner. That was brutal. And yet there was more! The heart began to beat between them. Yikes. Retract my former statement. Paul most definitely did not come out on top.

The gang all headed to Schmidt’s holiday party where Schmidt was dressed as Sexy Santa. This involved a Santa hat (of course), fur-lined boots and gloves, a faux fur dickey with oversize buttons running down it, shorts that may have been Jess’s, and… oh wait… that’s it. (Weirdly, it actually sounds like more when you write it out. Point is, Schmidt was basically nekkid. As is only right.) Meanwhile, Winston was on the hunt for a job, CeCe was weighing her options between Schmidt (who personally designed her a stank perfume — named Cecilia N°5 — that sent her into convulsions the first time she smelled it) and her jerk boyfriend, and Jess was avoiding Paul. She confided in Nick that she felt horrible about how the gift swap went down (in flames) and was confused because she’s usually the one who feels too much. Like John Mayer before he became the vocally impaired d-bag we know and love today, Jess resisted breaking up with Paul because it was Christmas, but then it would be New Year’s Eve, then Valentine’s Day, then… Presidents Day? Known for its romance, that Presidents Day!

NEXT: Blight or flight

Elsewhere at the party, things were mostly looking up for Schmidt. Despite getting a wool rash from all the ladies sitting on his uncovered legs, CeCe was warming up to him (evidenced by her wearing the god-awful perfume and telling him he had a “pretty face and hot body”). He also exchanged some verging-on-Secretary S&M flirting with his bitchy superior, so CeCe may have some competition. The night even ended well for Winston, who found his calling when he bonded with the problem child of Schmidt’s boss Gina. With another baby on the way, Gina was willing to throw money at anything. And so Winston has a bright future as a manny for the kid who refused to call him anything other than “Lebron.”

For his part, all Nick wanted was not to miss his flight home like he had the last four years in a row. That plan took a nosedive when he accidentally let it slip that Jess didn’t love Paul. The ensuing exchange between the guys — in which Nick claimed to be drunk and feebly muttered, “Joooke!” before dropping his head in defeat — was almost as awkward as Jess and Paul’s gift swap. Nick tried to ameliorate this gut-punch revelation by assuring Paul that Jess said the sex was amazing, and Paul agreed through panicky tears, “Oh my God! The sex is great — it’s amazing! We had amazing sex this morning… and then we ate Taro Chips! Oh my God!”

Jess totally caught the guys in this overshare moment (not to mention a straight-guy hug), and Paul’s cover-up lie that they were talking about “how moved we are… by jazz music” didn’t fly at all. Cue plenty of priceless mugging from Jake Johnson — plus the revelation that Nick has salsa music as his ringtone and used to have a drug phase — as Nick got locked on the patio with Jess and Paul during their excruciating break-up conversation. In a nutshell, Paul wanted more, but Jess wasn’t emotionally ready to give it. Farewell, Paul Gunslinger. We hardly knew ye! Keep on fiddlin,’ buddy.

On the way from the party to the airport, Nick noticed Jess’s sadness and diverted the car to Candy Cane Lane, a street full of dazzling holiday decorations where Jess had taken the guys earlier in the day. Alas, it was 4 a.m., and the Lane was dark. Unwilling to give up, they all screamed like maniacs until, like that glorious moment from Christmas Vacation, the lights were suddenly ablaze and all was right with the world. The gang cheered and hugged, and of course Nick missed his flight. For Jess? Worth it. Happy holidays, Newbies!

NEXT: The gift that keeps on giving!

Notable Dotables…

Schmidt: I’m the only guy in the office, of course I’m going to dress up like Santa. I like it. I get all this dirt on my coworkers. They get drunk, and they whisper what they want for Christmas in my ear, and I use that information to subtly undermine them and control them for the rest of the year.

Winston: Ahhh, the true spirit of Christmas!

Schmidt: Winston, you better watch it, man, because I will take you down. I had figure skating lessons until I was 13, and then my mom sobered up and realized I was a boy. Let’s do this!

Schmidt: It’ll be a good opportunity for you to some networking, help with the job search. I’m telling you, everybody’s hittin’ the ‘nog, having a good time, letting loose, you swoop in there, and then, boom! New job, man. That’s how things work. You know, Benjamins in your pocket, la pension, the four-to-the-O-to-the-one-to-the-K!

Winston: You’re making me want to stay broke.

Winston: Hey, Schmidt, look — it’s a menorah for you!

Schmidt: Ohhhh, a menorah… [in a gangsta tone] Judaism, son!

Schmidt [to CeCe, in a bikini]: Hey, you look awesome.

CeCe: It’s a Before-and-After for a Bolivian diet pill.

Schmidt: Elgatrax? Yeah, I’ve taken that.

Big-Boned Gal: I’m before.

Schmidt: Sure you are…

CeCe: So you wanted to see me?

Schmidt: Yes, I brought you a gift. I hope you appreciate that I have kept eye contact with you this whole time and made no reference of the fact that you are basically naked. … I found this place on 3rd Street where you can design your own perfume: Base notes of cocoa because of your brown…ness, sea salt because it kind of sounds like “CeCe,” and sandalwood — Sandalwood, always up to no good!

CeCe: What are you doing in [the bathroom]?

Jess: Eating cookies and avoiding confrontation.

CeCe: Remember when Christmas used to be fun, and all I had to do was worrying about my drunk uncle asking me out again?

Jess: Yes, Uncle Pardip! He thought I was a boy.

Winston: So what’s the deal, kid. Why are you sitting here all by yourself?

Alvin the Kid: Mommy won’t let me sit in [Sexy] Santa’s lap.

Winston: You got a smart mommy.

Kim [seeing Schmidt rubbing lotion on his legs]: What are you doing, Santa?

Schmidt: I have a really bad case of Santa Lap. The entire marketing department is wearing wool. It’s not good down there.

Schmidt: Kim, I’m not a sex object. All right, I’m your employee. I work harder than anyone. I’m the first one to show up every morning.

Kim: No you’re not.

Schmidt: There’s never a parking space.

Kim: That’s because everybody’s already here, Schmidt.

Schmidt: All right, you’re so off-topic right now! You’re missing the point — you need to take me seriously, Kim.

Kim: Does that mean no more Sexy Easter Bunny?

Schmidt [sheepishly]: No more Sexy Easter Bunny.

Kim: What about Cinco de Sexy?

Schmidt: No Cinco de Sexy.

Kim: No Sexy Martin Luther King?

Schmidt [in his own head]: I could never get the voice. I never really felt like I had the authority…

Kim: I can’t believe it took you five years to say that!

Alvin: The man with no shirt killed Santa.

Winston: Oh, you mean Schmidt? He was just dressing up like Santa.

Alvin: Then why isn’t he wearing a shirt?

Winston: You know, we ask ourselves that question every single day.

Alvin: Is it because he’s a d-bag? Mommy says he’s a d-bag.

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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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