Seinfeld did it! No, not just creating a near-perfect sitcom about three goofy guys and the attractive, hilarious woman who probably shouldn’t have been hanging out with those urban doofuses in the first place. Rather, creating a near-perfect episode of television that takes place predominantly in a parking garage, the least-funny setting imaginable. Now, New Girl, which has always played something like Seinfeld-lite, is heading into their territory again. The latest episode, the aptly titled “Parking Spot”, had Nick, Jess, and Schmidt on a wild goose chase to nab a parking spot in their building’s basement that they didn’t know even existed. Winston, on the other hand, spent the episode on a wild goose chase to find a condom to have sex with his new girlfriend Daisy (Brenda Song) because this show still has no idea what to do with poor Winston and it’s now resorted to this.
“Parking Lot” started with a familiar scene: Nick and Jess brushing their teeth in the communal bathroom, with nothing between them but sexual tension. Only this time it wasn’t filled with cute, anticipatory glances, but awkward, stammering banter between two people with a lot of unresolved things to talk about. Jess once again brought up the infamous kiss because, let’s face it, it’s still on her mind. And Nick joked that they should have sex because, let’s face it, it’s still on his mind. Both are trying to defuse the situation by simultaneously bringing it up and avoiding the real issues at hand at all costs. It’s not a disaster waiting to happen, it’s already happening.
But, there were bigger issues at hand than the deterioration of a friendship (and, hopefully, the early phases of a blossoming relationship): there was a parking lot! A parking lot, people! The news startled Schmidt so much that he ripped a towel rack off the wall and threatened to kill his best friends. (Serious question, are free parking spots to people in LA what open seats are on the subway to people in NYC? If it’s there, you better just haul ass to get it before someone else does. EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes. Yes, they are.) Jess once again played peacekeeper and suggested all four of them split the parking spot, but Schmidt was adamant that he deserved the spot. After all, he had the “crummiest room” in the loft and was on “24 hour grout watch” and had the odds stacked against him as he didn’t have the lady card, race card, or in the case of Nick (who pronounced wi-fi as “wiffy”) the “lazy drunk card” to play.
With Winston busy trying to get busy and Nick buckling under the pressure of pressure, it ultimately came down to a showdown between Schmidt and Jess. Since neither was going to buckle, Nick was called upon to be the decider. Now, we’ve wondered before if New Girl has a feminism problem — the scene of Jess wearing Nick’s hoodie and not much else and relentlessly flirting with him and twisting his nipples to get the parking spot certainly didn’t do the show any favors. Nor Jess, for that matter. With the tension between her and Nick so palpable and nerves so raw, why blur the line and flirt? For a parking spot? And a nipple twist? Low blow.
Schmidt, who tried to woo him with the far less effective tactic of handing him a beer, lost out to Jess, and then put the pieces of the sexually frustrated puzzle together: Nick gave her the parking spot because there was the smell of lust and friction in the air and it smelled like frickin’ Tijuana. Nick then confessed that he and Jess did, in fact, suck face and the news greatly upset Schmidt. Not just because that’s why Jess — who was clearly not taking the consequences of mono seriously — was getting the spot, but because Nick kept such a huge secret from him. (This is where the episode slipped out of Seinfeld world for a bit and back into Friends territory, not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
And despite “shaking what the good people of Oregon gave her” (did we know that was where Jess was from? Her being from Portland would make a ton of sense) Nick backtracked and gave the spot to the apparently nipple-free Schmidt because, as he put it, “this city can’t have another scandal.” When that hit the fan, Nick finally decided to take the spot for himself, which resulted in all three making a madcap race to get their cars to the underground lot to claim it for themselves. Schmidt’s car was parked-in, Nick’s car was being kept under a freeway (of course it would be), and Jess’ car was covered in stray cats (of course it would be) but all three somehow arrived at the spot at the same time. Even after threatening to physically hit each other with their cars, and actually hitting each other with their cars, no one budged. Not even Schmidt, who had to “pish” and eventually wound up pishing himself. There was something comforting in just how sitcom-y this whole sequence was. Like when the guys from Parks and Recreation endured food poisoning a few weeks ago, it felt like an old-fashioned brand of TV comedy.
Elsewhere, while Winston was still out trying to find a condom (and eventually landing at Cece’s place, because she needed some reason to be in the episode, too, I suppose), things got real between the three vying for the parking spot. Nick made the grave mistake of telling Jess he thought their kiss was the worst mistake he ever made in his life, worse than going to law school, worse than thinking our President’s name was “Brockuh Brobama” and worse than getting back with Caroline. That if he could go back in time to make things go back to the way they used to be, he would. Ouch. Even by Nick Miller standards, this was a boneheaded thing to say.
Of course, Schmidt has the market cornered on opening his mouth and letting the worst stuff come out, as evident by the fact that he revealed that not only did he use the outdated, untrue argument that things get complicated between men and women because “bitches are crazy”, but he also told Jess about the stipulation of the guys’ “No Nail Oath” that they all signed (Coach shout-out!) when she moved in. Under the creepy, borderline rapey oath, they “agree never to nail unless sex parlay into a business all parties involved” (ew) or that all parties must nail her (ewwwww). Despite being rightly horrified by their agreement, Jess still went along with the suggestion that she at least kiss the other guys in the loft to relieve the tension.
They do kiss and it’s as terrible as one would imagine (hey, remember in Season 1 when Schmidt tried to kiss Jess after his birthday party?) but it hardly alleviated the bigger issue at hand. When Jess and Nick argued about the “No Nail Oath” Nick said that it had to be made because he “couldn’t help it”, meaning he’s been hoping to ravage her since the moment he first laid eyes on her. They looked like they were going to kiss again but were rudely interrupted, which seems to be the running theme since the actual kiss episode. Even worse, the big payoff in the episode was that Winston got the parking spot because he needed a win after not being able to find a condom, only to find his car was too small for the spot.
As far as post-kiss episodes go “Parking Spot” was more effective with the Nick and Jess tension, sexual and otherwise, than “Table 34” was, not to mention much, much funnier overall. I know it’s going to be a long, bumpy ride back on the road to Nick and Jess, I just hope New Girl figures out what to do with Cece and Winston along this journey as well. Schmidt, well, no matter how douchey he is, will always be fun to watch.
Other memorable moments and one-lines from “Parking Spot”:
– “Destiny may be a lady, but victory has a penis. Direct quote: Scott Caan.”- Schmidt
– Nick’s scream during his nipple twist from Jess in his bedroom.
– Schmidt’s scream during his hit-and-turn from Jess in the parking lot.
– Nick and Jess’ weird-off in the hallway. (Nick won. He always does).
– Schmidt peeing inside his body…and eventually out of it.
– “I found garbage and it has chocolate on it!”- Nick
– “I’m gonna throw fishsticks at them while singing ‘Memory’.” – Jess’ plans to scare off the cats on her car.
– “Old people, foreigners, nerds…Schmidt and Jess?!” – Winston, worried that everyone but him was having sex.
[Photo credit: Greg Gayne/Fox]