‘New Girl’ Recap: The One Where Nick and Jess…


Are you breathing yet? Has your heart beat settled back to a normal rate? Is your jaw off the floor? Have you been able to form a coherent sentence or have you just been stringing together a series of giddy shrieks and “Oh my God”s? No? Don’t worry, me neither.

It was everything you were hoping for and more, wasn’t it? It was thrilling and romantic and damn sexy. It was unexpected (series typically tend to save something this big for a cliffhanger finale) and was the big payoff fans had been waiting a season-and-a-half for. And before reality sets in, before the harsh light of day takes over and we’re forced to ask ourselves if this is happening too soon, no matter how good it feels and that it could change the dynamic of everything for the worst if mishandled, let’s just bask in this glow right now: Brooklyn Decker guest starred on New Girl.

I kid, I kid. Yes, the model/actress did appear on this week’s game-changing episode “Cooler,” but that’s not why every New Girl fan on the planet is collectively losing their s**t right now. Nope. It’s because — capitals entirely necessary and earned here — NICK AND JESS KISSED. I REPEAT: NICK AND JESS FINALLY KISSED. By locking lips, the pair not only shook the foundation of the show to its core, but they joined the pantheon of great first TV kisses. Ross and Rachel on Friends, Jim and Pam on The Office, Sam and Diane on Cheers. And just like those will-they-won’t-they-but-you-knew-they-always-would couples, there was a hell of a lot of swooning going on from fans watching at home.

So how did we get here? How, after a year-and-a-half of longing glances, fights masquerading as foreplay, unrelenting flirting, the unspoken awareness of the fact that they are meant for each other, actually come to fruition? Well, let’s start at the very beginning. (I’m told it’s a very good place to start.)

After accidentally receiving a delivery of a woman’s trench coat, which just so happened to “fit like a damn glove” Nick and the boys decide to have a night on the town. He’s feeling confident in his new coat — confident enough to score some new chicks in this post-Angie era. Winston tags along, needing to get the “yips” out of his system (yeah, this show borrows from How I Met Your Mother here and there, but hell, all sitcoms borrow from each other at one point or another), and Schmidt craves the companionship of a lady as solo sessions had left him as limp as a “taffy on a hot summer’s day.”

And of course, Jess wants in on the fun. I mean, who wouldn’t? Those guys are the best. But Nick vetoes the suggestion immediately, calling Jess the William H. Macy to his Alec Baldwin. She was his “cooler” (just like in that movie no one saw). Any time Nick is on a roll with a girl, Jess swoops in and sends her running. Now, one could argue that this is just Jess’ very nature. She has very little filter, let alone a basic understanding of social norms. But I’d argue that Jess subconsciously sends these ladies away for fear that any of them could potentially take Nick away from her for good. It’s the same reason why Nick was declared Jess’ “fluffer,” what appeared to be self-sabotage was really just a desperate attempt to stay in her good graces.

With Jess left behind, the guys all wind up at Nick’s bar (turns out, the sporting of a lady’s raincoat is an efficient way to get a fella “kicked out of the discotheque”), where the trio of horny doofuses lay their eyes on a beautiful woman named Holly (played by Decker, who is as funny and charming in her role as she is gorgeous, because the world is a cruel and unfair place).

Poor Winston strikes out with her immediately, but that’s okay because he found another complete knock-out (because that’s how it works in real life) named Daisy (The Social Network‘s Brenda Song). She plays coy at first, but eventually takes to bolstering young Winston’s skills in the art of seduction. Schmidt and Nick, on the other hand, are deeply immersed in a mating battle that would rival anything you’ve seen on the Discovery Channel. That is, if wild animals got into slap fights in public and told each other they were “the dumbest.”

As it turns out, Holly had a thing for sad sack guys with sob stories. As such, the advantage (maybe for the first time ever) goes to Nick. But in true cooler fashion, just as Nick is making some serious moves, Jess phones him in the midst of a freak-out. She is home alone at the loft, since her boyfriend Sam is at work and Cece is on yet another date (technically, Jess isn’t totally alone, as she does fashion a Nick-a-like with a melon and some of his clothes… it’s slightly less creepy than it sounds), and heard scary noises that she is convinced are gang-related. “I’ve always worried about my blue curtains,” she cries, the line delivered perfectly by Zooey Deschanel.

Rather than leave Holly at the bar at the mercy of Schmidt, Nick brings the entire gang back to the loft to investigate the strange noise. Nick assures Jess that the sound was probably nothing more than the old pipes in the building (“You never listen during pipe talk”). To make it up to Nick, Jess promises to reverse roles and to become his fluffer. Her plan to help get him laid with Holly? Forcing everyone to participate in the best fictitious drinking game ever: True Americans. Only this time with Clinton rules! Such include “picking your intern” and stripping down, naturally. (Best moment of the game: when Schmidt shouts, “Abu Nazir!”)

The group of hyper-attractive friends and new acquaintances decide to raise the stakes of the game with a challenge, with the losers enduring the consequence of a grown-up equivalent of Seven Minutes in Heaven, mandated to kiss before returning to the game. That’s right! The secret word: kiss! In the closet, Nick and Jess play a little game of their own of sexy, emotional chicken. They go back and forth between deciding to go through with it and recoiling, chalking it up to goofy faces being made and whether or not they enjoy “getting tongued.” But things eventually take a turn from awkward maneuvers and relatively harmless flirting (Jess tells Nick he has potential to be “smokin’ hot”) to full-fledged oh-my-god-they-are-actually-going-to-do-this after Nick, eyes locked with Jess’ and his hand on her, blurts out that he doesn’t want to just kiss Jess as part of a game. “No, not like this,” he says. Wow. Didn’t know Nick had it in him.

Rather than face the big moment as it unfolds before him, Nick does what Nick does in this sort of situation: he climbs out of the window, much to the horror of those on the other side of the iron curtain (including Jess’ boyfriend Sam who just so happens to show up, and Cece’s poor sap of a date who is doomed from the start). Things settle down in time, and attention turns to the others. Despite having a 401k and a six pack, the neurotic loft resident proves to be depressing enough for Holly to sleep with. Winston stumbles upon a new lady (and potentially, a worthwhile story line). Meanwhile, Jess and Nick go their separate ways. That is, until they wind up in the hallway together later that night. Nick, a man who takes such few gambles, never chasing what he wants or might deserve, grabs Jess, kisses her passionately, and tells her that is how he wanted to kiss her. Wow. Glad Nick had it in him. Serious kudos to the series MVP Jake Johnson — once again —who has not only been the most consistently funny and believable person on the show, but has now solidified himself as a grade-A, crush-worthy dreamboat.

I know not everyone will be thrilled with this kiss. They’ll fear it too much too soon, and that the writers still won’t put them together just yet. Hey, it panned out for Jim and Pam (who had a similarly-timed kiss) in the end, didn’t it? But no matter how you feel about the kiss, it was still an excellent episode of New Girl, maybe the best of the season so far. It marked the return of True Americans, Nick wearing a lady’s coat for almost the entirety of the episode (up to and including when its rightful owner showed up at their door to get it), Jess in a bra, Schmidt having a fainting spell, and Winston getting his mojo back or maybe for the very first time. (“What yo thang do!”)

I, like most fans, hope that Jess doesn’t break Nick’s heart, like she did his melon head, and that she dumps Sam (who is a bit of a goon anyway). The writers of New Girlhave a difficult task ahead of them to keep fans satisfied, while still making a quality show, but I have faith they can do it and that Deschanel and Johnson will continue to do wonders with the material. Now, let’s all rewind our DVRs and go watch that kiss again. [Photo credit: Fox] More:

‘New Girl’ Recap: Should I Stay Or Should I Pogo? 

‘New Girl’ Star Max Greenfield: Is There Hope For Schmidt and Cece?

Is ‘New Girl’ Going Anti-Feminist?

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