‘New Girl’ Recap: The Story of the 50

New Girl schmidt's birthdayS1E10: I’ll admit New Girl hasn’t exactly progressed, but it has yet to turn me off. Zooey Deschanel’s lovable dork only works thanks to her three dysfunctional roommates, and with this episode, we see the result of that blooming relationship – and, wait for it….the return of the DOUCHEBAG JAR! In fact, that’s what the “50” in the title is referring to: the episode is a journey to find out why Schmidt had to put 50 bucks in the jar. So, to set the scene: it’s Schmidt’s 29th birthday and his plans are brought to a full stop. Jess, being the good person she is, offers to throw Schmidt the party he deserves. Hilarity ensues.

“We’re bronemies. He’s my fremesis.” –Schmidt

“I’m so confused right now.” –Jess

The reason Schmidt is panicking is that he really is the lost little puppy we thought he was. His “friend” from college used to make him sing a song about being fat when Schmidt was on the larger side in college, and his bullying is the reason Schmidt works so hard to be the fit, healthy douchebag he is today. Seeing how much this means to him, Jess works her hardest to put together a decent party for her roomie, even hiring her first stripper (but making sure to request that she has a “heart of gold”). Jess even goes to the extremes of raiding her school’s contraband drawer for weed, but gets caught by the principal who insists that Jess invites her to the grassy occasion. That’s all that comes out of that encounter, but it could have been so much more. Finally, Jess brings Schmidt to his hippie-style party bus, and it really seems she got just about everything right. Except the stripper shows up and he’s a guy, so she has him sing ballads instead. It’s seeming more like a magical mystery tour than a party bus, but Schmidt seems to be enjoying it.

“Before you, there’s just like nothing. I had no girls on the horizon…in a hot way.” –Nick

Julie, Nick’s new girlfriend, likes his quirks (like his Bill Cosby impression) and the fact that he hates lawyers (she’s a lawyer), but she’s worried that he never wants to go back to his place. He’s just embarrassed that he’s a 30 year old bartender living with roommates, but she assures him she’s okay with it. He still tries to hide her from his friends, but then Jess and Winston invite her to Schmidt’s surprise birthday, so he’s forced to let her see the real him.

The real him turns out to be the guy who invented a beverage called bro-juice, who still gets drunk with his college buddies. And the real Julie turns out to be a badass woman fresh off of (apparently ineffective) anger management classes. Their respective flaws just happen to be turn-ons for both of them, which is just so convenient. I’m not totally happy with the complete lack of Nick and Jess tension now that Julie is in the picture, but if anyone is worthy of being the next best perfect girl for Nick, it’s a girl played by the incomparable Lizzy Caplan.

“Come on guys. It was my birthday. And I was very drunk.” –Schmidt

But just what was the terrible act that made the roommates break the all-time douchebag jar record? We’re almost there. Schmidt is feeling terrible with his frenemy around, especially after he says he’s going to hook up with Jess because Schmidt isn’t. Benjamin, the frenemy, hits on Jess and makes her uncomfortable so Schmidt finally stands up to him and tells him to leave Jess alone. That’s when Julie’s anger issues rear their ugly head and she gloriously knocks him out, but what comes next is the important part. When everyone leaves, Jess and Schmidt are left alone to have a serious talk about Benjamin and the big 29 and at the end of it, Schmidt tries to kiss Jess. And there it is: the douchebag moment. But did anyone else think it wasn’t that unlikely of a reaction? Drinking, plus sweet gestures, plus jealousy sparked by Benjamin would absolutely lead to that result. Jess was smart not to comply, but after all that, I thought Schmidt’s crime would have been just a little more, well, douchey.

What did you think of the final twist? Do you think it could be the start of a romance or is it just an occasion to make a donation to the douchebag jar? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter. @KelseaStahler