S1E6: So, this wasn’t exactly the shining example of why I look forward to New Girl each week. Still, it was a pretty likable episode with a few touches of taking it too far. Here we have the Thanksgiving episode in which Jess has a crush on her school’s music teacher, Paul (Justin Long), and invites him to her nonexistent Thanksgiving dinner. I’m on the fence about this blooming relationship and the speed with which it’s already moving after a single episode, but I’m not going to write it off entirely. I’m going to hope and pray that Liz Meriweather’s got some ideas up her sleeve and that all these things will make sense in due time. I really, really hope I’m right.
“That’s a great plan, Jess. Replace his dead grandmother.” –Nick
“I know!” –Jess
Jess plots to ruin yet another roommate tradition with her childlike wonder: Dudesgiving. The guys always watch football, drink beer and then line up for Black Friday at Best Buy. But because Jess invited Paul over after she finds out his grandmother just died, she convinces them to join her and Hank(sgiving) for dinner. From the start, it seems like Nick is averse to the idea that Jess asked a guy out, but that’s only the beginning.
When Paul arrives, he’s just like Jess – they even duet a little song about Turkeys together. He keeps getting football terms wrong and says the Des Moines Lions play on Thanksgiving every year because they’re the fiercest – A: the Lions are from Detroit, B: that is the most misguided explanation of gameday I’ve ever heard. Then there’s the whole pumpkin ale versus lager debate, about which Paul also clearly knows nothing. Bottom line: Nick hates Paul. The weird thing? I don’t really blame him.
We knew the other roommates would take a shine to him – Winston bonds with him over missing their deceased grandparents and Schmidt likes that Paul is so interested in eating the meal he worked so hard on – but only for the purpose of the story. He’s obnoxious. Boy Jess does not work. It’s too much. It’s overkill. But I think it will be a plotline in itself, so I’ll hold the rest of that scathing judgment for now.
When Paul offers to run an errand he realizes he’s two beers in and shouldn’t drive, and Jess makes Nick take him. Needless to say, the ride does not go well. Nick is a complete jerk – though Paul’s conversation is about as lively as a jar of raspberry preserves, to be fair. Later, Jess berates Nick in the hallway, unaware that the rest of the group can hear her every word – including all the lovely sexual acts she tells Nick she’s going to do to Paul “big time.” Surprisingly, he sticks around, but not before telling Nick that he thinks he’s mean because he’s miserable, which is kind of an obnoxious thing for a newcomer to do. Also, that sexual rant would have been cuter if she stopped before she got to the hat thing.
“I don’t want to hear, ‘Schmidt, you’re using way too much tarragon.’ I’m not.” –Schmidt
When Jess puts her little dinner plan together, she doesn’t account for one very important factor: she doesn’t cook. When she bribes him by inviting CeCe, Schmidt ends up taking the reins. He can’t fix her thawing mistake, however, and the turkey is frozen come Thanksgiving morning. Naturally, they throw it in the dryer.
While that ticking time bomb is cooking, CeCe helps Schmidt in the kitchen only to find he’s a complete control freak and a germ-ophobe. Every time she touches something with her hands, he yells at her – and she likes it. So she continues to flirt/anger him, but eventually he can’t help but be nice to her because he has a sweet little hand-holding crush on her. CeCe likes European DJs with face tattoos who treat her badly, so it looks like this little romance is a bust for now.
The turkey in the dryer is also a bust, just when we manage to forget about it, it explodes in the laundry room and catches fire, forcing the group to try dinner in their elderly neighbor’s apartment. She’s supposed to be out on vacation, but Paul – who’s still traumatized from losing his grandmother – stumbles upon her in the toilet. They’re whole dinner is ruined when they need to be responsible or something and call the police, but even after everything Paul still wants to date Jess “big time.”
Of course, before he and Jess dance off into the Best Buy parking lot together, he has to ask if she ever dated Nick, because he thinks that’s why Nick is being so mean. Of course she says they haven’t, but we know why Nick is pissed – and it’s the only reason this ridiculous relationship with Paul is tolerable. It pisses Nick off so much, which means that deep down he has feelings for Jess and he’s the Ross to her Rachel, so we’re all supposed to ooh and ahh when they look at each other. Now, Justin Long isn’t exactly as annoying as Paolo was on Friends, but he’s not far, so lets hope this plot device tones down the cutesy or starts drumming up the drama soon.