‘New Girl’ Recap: Jess is Bullied By a Little Girl

New Girl Zooey DeschanelS1E14: The series may be called New Girl, but it should be called Jess and her far more entertaining roommates. Don’t get me wrong, I’m firmly on the pro-Zooey Deschanel side of the very polarized argument about the actress. Sure, she’s putting on an act, but I’m enjoying it, so kindly leave me alone. That being said, her character on the Fox series cannot stand on her own – she needs her three lovable (infuriating, childlike, petulant) roommates to make the show work, and this week, she practically took a backseat while her cohorts did the heavy lifting.

“Hey Nick, Schmidt slept with the same girl twice, you owe me five dollars.” –Jess

Schmidt and Cece can’t stop sleeping with each other, but Schmidt’s adorable douchebag qualities are making it very easy for her to continue trying to hide their relationship. Anyone who compares a sexual relationship to the playful variety of cheeses available to the average American consumer is probably worth keeping behind closed doors – at least for a little while. And while the show is about Jess, Schmidt’s storyline was actually the most interesting this week.

They flip the traditional sitcom trajectory for this storyline on its head, making Schmidt the needy girl trying to convince herself that secret, amazing sex is enough, while Cece behaves the way the sitcom male would traditionally behave, keeping Schmidt from her friends and her social life and only allowing for hook-ups on her terms – even in the car, where Schmidt can’t do his “moves.” Eventually, Schmidt grows a pair and makes a deal with Cece: he’ll wait in the car like a dog while she makes an appearance at a super swanky party, but she has to have breakfast with him in public the next day. And I almost bought her explanation about not wanting to let Schmidt show her off because her past boyfriends all paraded her around like a trophy, Schmidt announces their coupling to the whole restaurant and reminds me that he’s really just a loveable, yet mortifying douchebag.

I can’t help but notice the similarities between the Tom Haverford/Anne plot over on Parks and Recreation and the Schmidt/Cece plot here. While the New Girl coupling is undoubtedly more promiscuous, we find the lovable wannabe baller entangled with the beautiful, out of his league best friend of the series star. The funny thing is that Schmidt and Cece seem more likely to work – no matter how embarrassing his sculpting chutney and man-purse-toting ways are.

“Julia sent him a cactus, which obviously means she’s going to break up with him.” –Winston

“[Laughs] Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that was a joke, because otherwise it would be totally stupid and insane.” –Jess

Nick, as I predicted last week, has reached the end of his relationship with Lizzy Caplan’s Julia. Of course, she doesn’t know that until her simple gift of a cactus prompts Nick to call her seven times and leave extended drunken messages about the meaning of the silly little plant. Now feels like a good time to remind you that the series was originally going to be called “Chicks with Dicks,” and if Nick going all psycho-clingly girlfriend on Julia doesn’t demonstrate just how accurate that potentially offensive title would have been, then Schmidt’s escapade should do the trick.

In the end, Julia says Nick’s freak out did her in and she breaks up with him, leaving him to return to his wallowing – and possibly worse than ever before – state. I think we’ll recover. Wasting Caplan as the cantankerous lawyer girlfriend for too long would be a bit of a travesty.

“Your daughter sucks. She’s a demon seed, she is the spawn of Satan. And I do believe I speak for the entire human race when I say people like her should not be building robots.” –Winston

When Jess has the opportunity to help one of her students with bullies at school, it seems like we’re about to embark on a journey of cute songs and maybe even enlisting some of her roommates to cheer up the young chap, but instead, Jess becomes the butt of the joke. After she has Nathaniel best his bullies by singing a song with her, one of her students captures it on her camera phone and turns it into a viral joke video with Jess as a cartoon bird pooping on her own guitar. Jess finds out which kid uploaded the video and pulls her aside: it’s Brianna, the little genius who built a robotic arm for the science fair. When she confronts the child, Jess is smacked down by the girl’s level of cynicism and ire – making young Brianna a far better adversary for Jess’ unstoppable Disney princess syndrome than Julia’s attack from a few episodes ago.

Of course, Jess-isms win out yet again, when the teacher exacts her revenge with a required duet in front of the whole class – and yes, it ends up on YouTube. It was a cute story, and we finally get to see Jess teach, but I have to admit Schmidt and Nick were a lot more interesting this round.

Do you think Schmidt and Nick were more compelling than Jess this week? Do you think Cece and Schmidt will move beyond the sex-buddies stage or did his parkour stunt just kill it? (He did give her some serious compliments that her usual DJ/Model/Professional Douchebag boyfriends don’t usually giver her.) Let us know your thoughts in the comments or get at me on Twitter. @KelseaStahler