In which Nick and Jess may or may not go on a date.
Charged atmosphere: We open with a kerfuffle over a phone charger. The loft’s communal phone charger. Winston is stealthily trying to make off with it and take it back to his room, and the roomies don’t play dat. The charger must stay in a neutral area. Apparently, the friends’ enthusiasm for inexplicable and arbitrary rules is not limited to the game of True American, because, um. What? Anyway, man-scuffling ensues (Jess: “So many dude butts!”) and Winston and Schmidt take the quarrel elsewhere, leaving Nick and Jess alone. It’s not fraught at all. Nope. And they are definitely not going to make out. Nick just needs to grope Jess a little bit. Because of reasons. As in any situation with unexpected, awkward groping, the two have a calm and civil discussion about the weirdness of Nick’s hand on Jess’ boob. Jess: “You’re hand is on my boob.” Nick: “Yeah. And it’s weird. Maybe it’s less weird because I know that it’s weird and I’m calling it out.” Jess: “It doesn’t make it less weird.” Nick: “Right on.” They are just roommates who make out sometimes and are attracted to each other and are good friends and who sometimes hate each other. Nick: “And sometimes touch each other’s boobs.” Awesome.
Tran-slation: It’s the return of Tran, Nick’s wise, inscrutable, mute Asian friend from the park. He smiles at Nick indulgently while Nick rants about his perplexing situation with Jess. Nick: “I mean, the sexual tension is off the charts!” You ain’t kidding, buddy. “It’s like the Wild West. No laws. Whiskey for a nickel. Whores caked in mud.” Okay, then. Maybe Nick is a writer after all, but like, a very strange writer. Tran is unfazed by the metaphor. He gazes calmly at Nick, who continues pouring his heart out. Eventually, Nick comes to a realization. “I’ve gotta be confident. I’ve gotta be clear. Women like that. I just gotta say, ‘Jessica, you are a beautiful woman, and my life has not been the same since I met you. And it would mean the world to me if you would go on a date with me.’” How does Tran stay so placid during this speech? We are swooning here. Good grief.
But then it’s time for Nick to actually ask Jess out and his Tran-induced coolness evaporates. Jess answers the door wrapped in a towel. Nick is sweaty and nervous, and kind of not making any sense. Or sentences. “Jess. Uh-cah. Dirty J. Doctor Day. Mah toilet sister! If so, food?” Jess manages to decipher this nonsense as an invitation to go eat. A relieved Nick shoots her the double thumbs up.
Wardrobe by Schmidt, neckscaping by Winston: Nick needs advice on his clothing, so he turns to Schmidt. Schmidt: “Burn them. Burn them all!” Not that helpful. Nick thinks maybe Schmidt’s success with the babes might be due to his wardrobe, so he’s asking for help. Schmidt: “Are you asking me if I’ll help you pick out clothing so I can help you seduce a woman? I don’t know. It’s only ALL I’VE EVER WANTED FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS, NICK!” So, that’s a yes.
Together, Schmidt and Winston transform Nick into a sharp-dressed man. He is looking smooth in one of Schmidt’s suits. (Smooth = smoking hot, in case that isn’t clear.) Schmidt: “Yes. That is how you wrap a son-of-a-bitch in wool.” Winston is especially proud of the neck shaving job he did. And he even offers Nick the use of his “Fo’ Scapay.” Which is what now? Winston: “Ford Escape. I’m still workshopping nicknames.” Now. Who is the special lady? Nick is flustered and blurts out the name Yolanda …Winston. He’s clearly a master of subterfuge. Winston’s is pretty sure that’s a fake name. He and Schmidt have simultaneous epiphanies. Schmidt: “Oh my god. Jess!” Winston: “Nick is a male escort!” I feel like we’re learning a lot about these two.
Date Night? The first rule of Date Night is that you can’t admit it’s a date, apparently. Jess is waiting for Nick when he pulls up in the Fo’ Scapay. He’s wrapped in wool splendor and she is in jeans, standing in line at a hot dog stand. When she arrived at the address, she naturally assumed that’s what he meant. Nick chides her for being so silly and points to the restaurant across the street where he has reservations. Off they go to dinner! But first, a jay-walking ticket for Nick. Jess immediately goes into soothing mode, telling Nick to stay calm and make little fists with his toes. Which, what? The freaky thing is that he doesn’t even flip out. He stays calm and thanks the police officer for the $340 ticket. Someone is on his best behavior.
The restaurant is called Beso. Awwww.
Once they are seated, Jess has to ask. Is this a date? Ye—- No. Nope. Not at all. “You’ve been thinking it’s a date this whole time? How embarrassing for you. No. For me it’s just hanging out in a suit, getting champagne with my friend.” Nick might pass out. But then guess who walks in? Jess’ ex! Jess: “Which one?” Nick: “The only man we both loved.” It’s Russell, and he is happy for them. Kind of.
Nick is really nervous and weird, so Jess has an idea. Maybe they should just go get a drink at the bar, as friends. Nick is down. “Drinking to forget? That’s my sweet spot.”
Sabotage: Winston and Schmidt are racking their brains trying to think of a way to ruin this date. Nick is their glue. If he and Jess become a couple, Winston and Schmidt lose him, and they just don’t work without Nick. Many a foolhardy scheme is proposed, but even Schmidt thinks Winston’s idea of injecting a bear with Hep C and turning it loose in the restaurant is over the top. Schmidt: “You don’t think just a bear alone in a restaurant is enough?” C’mon, man. The two of them suck at this. They consider calling Nick, because he would know what to do. Schmidt asks Winston what the worst thing is that he’s ever experienced on a date. ? A homeless man dancing provocatively in just a coat and undies while singing “Father Figure.” Of course. They think for a moment, and then it comes to them. Outside Dave! He will work for 4 million U.S. dollars and a trip to wine country. Or a sandwich. First, though, he invades the bathroom.
Real talk: Nick and Jess are having an awesome time drinking and laughing about those two boobs they live with. But Jess points out that at least those two boobs do not go around randomly grabbing each other’s boobs. Nick begs to differ. Random? Nu-uh. Nick: “You put it out there, Jess.” Being all cute and flirty, asking for help with jars and the internet and such. Jess: “That’s just me suffering through life.” Nick: “You have to stop. Because it’s ridiculously hot. Okay?” Jess looks unrepentant. Nick: “It’s hard for me to deal with ‘cause it’s too hot.” Fine. Then Jess says he has to stop gargling his beer. Nick: “That’s a turn on?” Jess: “It’s hot.” Nick: “It’s weird that that’s a turn on.” Jess: “You might as well be in, like, a hose, spraying you down.” Nick: “You are out of your mind!” Okay, I love slightly drunk Nick and Jess. A lot.
Then – “Hey,” says Jess oh-so-casually, “Do you want to get some dinner?” Oh, she is goooooood. Yep. They’re doing this date thing after all! More adorable banter. Jess: “Look, I don’t want to be too forward, but whatever baby wants, baby gets. Daddy’s buying.” Nick: “Well, look. You keep buying my drinks and I’ll put out no matter what you say.”
Then Russell has to ruin it by coming by the table to tell them that he’s happy to see them together and that they are really … something. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Nick and Jess have to know. Russell: “Fine. You wanna know what I meant? You live together and you had three dates tonight. What’s that? I think you guys don’t really know what you are to each other.” He suggests that they each write down what they think their relationship is on separate pieces of paper. Nick and Jess do, but when Russell reads their answers, he says maybe it wasn’t such a good idea and he pockets the notes and leaves. DAMMIT!
Dave-saster: Outside Dave has barricaded himself in the bathroom. He’s is using Schmidt’s hair products, which has Schmidt in a panic. “If he even looks at my pomade caddy, I will turn every hobo in the city against him. I will poison every pie on every windowsill!”
Middle school dance rules: Nick and Jess cannot seem to be honest with each other about what they wrote on those pieces of paper. Neither is willing to say. So Jess says, fine. No more funny business then. Middle school dance rules: three feet on the floor (what?) and no body hugs. First though, Nick reaches over for one last boob grab. Jess: “Really?” Nick: “I … they’ve got a great squish to them. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.” Jess: “Can’t argue with you.”
Mission Schmidt-possible: Out of concern for his beloved toiletries, Schmidt decides to climb into the bathroom through the skylight. While he is dangling there, Outside Dave decides to take the opportunity to shave Schmidt’s legs. Dave: “It’s shorts weather! Everyone is going to want to dance with you.” Schmidt: “You’re going against the grain, you animal!” Hearing Schmidt’s shrieks of distress, Winston charges into the bathroom brandishing a sandwich. “If you’re hurting him … !” Awwww. Winston has saved Schmidt! It is a bro-tastic bonding moment, only slightly marred by Outside Dave taking a dump in the urinal nearby.
Jars and Gargling: Back at the loft. Nick and Jess never actually ate, so Nick’s having a sandwich. Jess wants some chips and salsa, except she can’t open the jar. Nick is watching her intently. She knows what that does to him. Jess notices him watching, so she turns her back while she continues to struggle with the jar. She won’t ask for help, but he gets up to do it for her anyway, and it shouldn’t be hot but it really kind of is. Jess is a little breathless when she says thank you, and Nick’s voice is husky. They’re standing very close and staring at each other. Jess says she’s going to bed. Nick says okay. Then he takes a swig of beer, while looking straight at her. Jess: “Don’t.” But it doesn’t sound like she means it. Nick does it. He gargles his beer. Jess can’t take her eyes off him, and Nick won’t break eye contact. This is total foreplay. Jess mumbles that she has to go to sleep, so Nick says he’ll walk with her. They stand there for a long moment before Jess whispers, “Goodnight, Miller.” Nick: “Goodnight, Day.” They go into their separate rooms. Sexual tension level: insane.
The closing tag is another Winston flashback of him and his date being serenaded by a shirtless hobo. This time, it’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady.” Hotness.
I haven’t enough A’s or pluses to give this episode, that is how much I enjoyed it. What did you guys think?
Nanea is the founder of Sweatpants & Coffee. She loves sweatpants, coffee, and New Girl. A lot.