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New Girl recap | “Winston’s Birthday”

This episode was as my friend and fellow recapper Barbara Sirois Doyle said, “Pitch perfect.” It could have fallen flat, as it is the follow up to one of the most epic episodes the series has had thus far, but it didn’t. It hit all the right notes. Amongst the Sweatpants & Coffee fans of this show, there was quite of a bit of capslock-filled commentary as well as maybe some girlish hand-clapping on my part. The point is: yay!

 

Opening scene: Naked Nick and naked Jess. They are in bed, having just had the long awaited, much squeed over sexytimes the night before. Nick is laying there looking awestruck. He gazes at Jess like he can’t believe she’s really there, and he reaches out and runs a reverent fingertip over her bare shoulder. He shakes his head. “Fantastico.” Then, a look of concern crosses his face. He reaches out again, this time to press his fingers to the side of her neck.

Jess wakes and turns to look at him. “Are you taking my pulse?” Nick laughes. “You were very still.” The two of them giggle.  It is a very sweet moment. It’s awkward, because now what? But also, it’s comfortable because they are still them. These aren’t two strangers waking up together. It’s Nick and Jess. I love how this scene was handled in a very real and honest way. Nick: “Well, that was really fun.” Jess giggles. Nick: “I don’t know what to say here.” SO. MUCH. ADORABLE. The way they are smiling and looking at each other kind of giddy – I can’t even HANDLE IT!

Nick has an idea. He tells Jess to stay right there. He’s going to go do something.

Iron Chef Nick: Cue musical montage. We are treated to the sight of Nick Miller preparing breakfast for Jess of scrambled eggs, grapefruit, and pie. PIE! For breakfast! Nick Miller is the perfect man! My favorite part is watching him try to figure out how to open the grapefruit. Eventually, he wacks it against the countertop like an egg and breaks it open. To quote him: “Fantastico.” Also? He plucks a flower from a nearby vase and puts it in an empty beer bottle. I ask you. What girl doesn’t want pie for breakfast and a flower in a beer bottle?

However, before Nick can deliver her breakfast, he is surprised by …

Jess’ dad! Nick: “Bob! What are you doing here?” Bob: “You. It’s … you.” Rob Reiner is brilliant as Jess’ dad, by the way. He says “Wilson” let him in. Then he notices the tray Nick is carrying. Bob: “That looks like lady food.” Nick says nope, he actually made it for Wilson. Winston: “Is it because it’s my birthday?” Nick: “It’s your birthday? That’s why I made it!” Winston: “I know you’re lying. And I’m hurt. But I’m going to eat this anyway.”

Bob is here for Cece’s wedding. He would never miss that. Jess comes out of Nick’s room wearing Nick’s flannel shirt (awwwww) and gives Nick a freaked out look as she hugs her dad.

 

All Up In That Schmidt: Schmidt and Elizabeth are also sharing a giggly, post-coital moment. Except instead of getting up to fix Elizabeth breakfast, Schmidt wants her to review his new body. Schmidt: “How it moves. Its pitch. Its yaw. My perfectly sculpted pubic topiary.” AHHH. SCHMIDT! JAR! Elizabeth merely tells him that she liked the way he moved his body before he knew what to do with it. Cut to a flashback scene of the first time they met. It’s a college party and Schmidt looks bored and miserable. Elizabeth asks him to dance. He thinks she’s making fun of him, but she says if anyone is mean to him, she’ll punch them in the penis. I think I am in love with Elizabeth.  Then she and Schmidt begin frenetically doing the Running Man to Shaggy’s “Wasn’t Me.” Yep. I totally love her.

Schmidt: “You never cared what anyone thought of you. I loved that about you.” You and me both, brother. Elizabeth asks if he lost weight everywhere. Not that it isn’t still impressive but … Schmidt: “It’s slightly smaller. Doctors? No explanation.” Elizabeth’s neighbor Bernie chimes in through the wall that that is not normal. Elizabeth and Schmidt both scream at him to shut UP. Yeah, I love these two together.

Father Knows Best: Back at the loft, Jess is warning Nick to keep his mouth shut around her father because if he finds out there’s been any hanky panky, he will kill Nick. We aren’t sure if she’s kidding or not. Nick’s eyes get real big and he nods.

Just then, Jess gets a phone call from a friend (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who has a job opportunity for her. It’s teaching kids! Jess is excited. She has to go, but she asks her dad to come with. No dice. Bob: “What am I gonna do? Sit in your car and get mugged? I mean, I didn’t gay my way out of Vietnam just to be killed by some punk.” Bob would prefer to stay at the apartment and hang with Nick. Nick and Jess are not thrilled with this idea. Plus, Nick has stuff to do. Bob: “You don’t have any stuff. Name one stuff.” Nick: “Documents.” Bob: “Documents?” Nick: “Yeah, I got documents.” I’m surprised Nick isn’t breaking out in back sweat here. He is a terrible at this. Bob says it’s fine. He’s always alone anyway. He’s laying the guilt on pretty thick and Jess tells Nick NOT to fall for it. But Nick can’t help but feel bad. He’ll stay and hang with Bob.

My Big Fat Indian Wedding: Everyone is eating samosas on paper plates and having a raucous good time. Cece’s family is in town and her Uncle Shashir is the life of the party. Cece, however, is stressed the hell out. Everyone is too loud, she’s exhausted, she still hasn’t picked up her wedding sari or gotten her hands hennaed. Jess, en route to her new job, is still a kickass maid of honor. She has got this, son. She tells Cece she will have Winston pick up the sari and bring it to her. Cece should go get her hands hennaed and then take a nap. Then she tells Cece to pass the phone to Uncle Shashir. Jess: “Shashir, you bastard. You little bastard. IT IS NOT YOUR DAY.” Jess for the muthafreakin’ win. Now, that’s a maid of honor.

Jess calls Winston and orders him to pick up Cece’s sari. Winston is like, oh, I get it. You want me to pick up the sari (wink, wink) and drop it off at her house (wink, wink). Clearly, he thinks this is a ruse to get him to a surprise party, because there’s no way his roomies would forget his birthday, right? Fine. He’ll play along.

Jess arrives at school and finds herself thrust into a classroom of howling hooligans. It is chaos. Jess: “Okay, LISTEN! Or don’t! But the hell if I’m not gonna teach! I’m going to bring the words of Mark Twain alive with only the human voice.” Spitballs continue to fly.

Male Bonding: Nick and Bob are up on the roof enjoying a couple of brewskis and talking. Bob wants to know if Nick has a girl. Nope. Noooooo. No way. No girls for Nick. Bob cannot believe this. Bob: “It seems like women would just flock to you. With the scruffy and the stubble …” Nick DOES NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS! “Friggen back off!” Bob: “I’m sorry I brought it up.” But then. Okay. “All right. There’s a girl.” Bob knew it. What’s she like? “She’s not quirky. She’s got no bangs. Tall. Fat. Really ugly eyes. Small. Tiny little beady eyes. Yeah, her name is, uh, Yolanda Winston.”

Schmidt Hits The Fan: Elizabeth visits Schmidt at the office. She is wearing the t-shirt she wore the night they met. N’awww. “Y 2 Kitty Kat. As relevant today as it was then.” Schmidt is delighted. Then a snooty girl stops by his cube. She catches sight of Elizabeth and says that custodial keeps sending them these spooking Eastern European girls. Elizabeth: “You wanna see spooky? Call me spooky again. I’ll spook the ass fat right out of your lips.” I want to high five her so bad right now. Snooty Girl wants to know if Schmidt knows her. He hesitates and is lost. Elizabeth is not having this crap and she leaves. Schmidt chases after her and Elizabeth tells him she doesn’t NEED this. “I’m not going to let you make me feel bad about myself! I love this shirt!” I love you, Elizabeth. Like, a lot. Elizabeth says she was fine without Schmidt. In fact, she turned down a date to be with him tonight. She’s going to text the guy back and say yes. “And guess what? I don’t care what you think. See ya, Schmidt.” TEAM ELIZABETH!

Surprise! Winston shows up at Cece’s apartment. (Barbara to me: “Why is he wearing Eddie Murphy’s outfit from Delirious?”) He’s ready for his surprise party! Except the surprise part is that no one has remembered it’s his birthday. Sometimes, surprises are sad, kids. Case in point – a sleepy Cece, having just woken up from her nap, stumbles into the living room. Winston wants to know if that’s a birthday tattoo on her face. Looks like somebody fell asleep on her freshly hennaed hand. Unfairly, Hannah Simone still manages to look gorgeous as she stares into the mirror, horrified, and commences screaming.

Meat, meat, meat: Bob and Nick are assembling sandwiches, Dagwood style. Bob: “What are you doing? Lettuce, tomato, lettuce, meat, meat, meat, meat, meat, cheese, lettuce.” Nick: “You’re a sandwich genius. Bob is clearly a font of wisdom. Nick has a question for him, then, about Yolanda Winston. They’ve only slept together once, but he doesn’t know what she wants. Bob says the first thing Nick needs to do is figure out what he wants. That’s deep, man. Nick: “Well, I don’t know how you get a podcast, but you should look into it.

Jess calls to see how things are going. Bob tells her that he and Nick are making sandwiches are talking about girls. Jess is horrified. She asks him to hand the phone to Nick. What is wrong with Nick? Did she not make it clear that he should NOT be talking about this stuff at all? Nick says there is nothing to worry about. Jess disagrees. She’s coming home.

Just then, however, Jess gets another call from Cece who is freaking out over her tattooed face. Jess heads over there to see what can be done. It’s no big deal, olive oil and cotton balls will take that right off. Or not. Mostly not. Cece ends up with the five o’clock shadow of a 1950s crime detective. Jess: “Burkas isn’t you guys, is it?”

Nick and Bob continue to bond. I count six empty beer cans on the table alone. It’s honesty time. Nick: “This girl means a lot to me, Bob, and I just don’t want to screw it up.” Bob: “Why would you screw it up?” Nick: “I don’t want to make excuses but my dad was kind of a piece of … you know, truth be told, Bob, I’m afraid I’m a lot like him.” Bob: “The mere fact that you just said that means that you’re nothing like your old man. Any girl would be lucky to have a guy like you.” Does he really mean that? He does. Okay then. Nick has something to tell him. Turns out Yolanda Winston isn’t his girl’s name. It’s actually Jess. Bob stares at him a moment as this information sinks in and then … “I’LL KILL YOU!” Nick lets out a high pitched shriek we haven’t heard since he was accosted by that clown in the haunted house at Halloween and takes off running.

Jess is unsuccessful in finding anyone who can remove Cece’s tattoo. But hey, she has some news! She slept with Nick. She thinks it might be the start of something amazing but she just doesn’t know. Cece: “I HAVE A FULL BEARD.” She’s not really in the place to be supportive at the moment.

Dating Dad? Bob is sprawled on the couch, muttering, “No, no, no, no …” Nick emerges from his room clutching a croquet mallet. Bob says to put that down. He’s not going to hurt him. Nick drops the mallet. Then he pulls a tiny souvenir bat from the back of his pants and what looks like a small bundt cake pan from his underwear. OMG LOL. And also WTF.

Jess is finally home and eager to separate these guys. She wants her dad to come with her. Bob wants to know if she wants him to come with her so she and Nick can do it again. Jess: “What?! You told him?” Why would Nick do that? Nick: “I want him to like me. In fact, I want all fathers to like me. I wonder what that’s about?” Oh, Nick. Bob wants to know why Jess wants Nick. He’s a lazy, drunken cable thief! Jess says he doesn’t even know Nick. Bob: “I do know him.  I know him. When I was young, I was confused. I was lost. I had no plan. But I went and got married anyway. And if I’d figured things out before I got married, I might still be with your mother.” He is addressing Nick directly now. “So, I do know you. You’re not your father. You’re me. And I’m not good enough for my little girl.” Nick’s arms are crossed and he’s staring at Bob like he’s just taken a punch to the gut and is trying to breathe. He looks like he might be sick. Bob’s just said everything to him that he was afraid to hear but that he probably believes, deep down. He’s always thought he was broken. He tells Jess he has to leave. Jess is angry. “Dammit, Dad!” Bob says she knows he’s right. Jess’ phone goes off. She has to go back to school.

Bob is left alone with Winston/Wilson, who is angrily eating an entire birthday cake that he bought for himself and is refusing to share.  Bob: “Are you sure you want to be eating so much cake? With a body like that?” Winston glares at Bob and throws the cake on the counter. Poor guy.

Back in her classroom, Jess has had it with the kids. She climbs on top of the desk and yells for them to sit down and be quiet. She has had a bad day! The kids are so taken aback that this actually works. She wants to know what is with everyone today? She tells them everything started off so good but that she just can’t date her dad. The kids are nonplussed. Jess: “Look, life’s messy. It kicks you in the ass. That’s right, I said ass. But it does, it kicks you in the ass. And the messy parts are the best part.” A student named Miguel comes up to her and kindly offers her a pack of cigs. I think this might be like when my cat lovingly leaves dead rats on my doorstep. Sweet but um, no.

Shivrang is with Cece. Jess called him. Cece says she can’t get married looking like this and Shivrang (who is really growing on me) says that if that’s the worst problem they have, he’ll take it. Then he says he’ll make a call and fix it. Awwww.

Elizabeth is on her date. It’s not going that well. Then Schmidt shows up wearing a sweatshirt with a Rodney Dangerfield frog on it that says, “Frogetaboutit.” He asks Elizabeth to dance. She says yes, and the two of them do their goofy, frantic Running Man dance and it is adorable. I really hope these two stay a couple for a while.

Happy Birthday, Winston: At the loft, Bob is blowing up an air mattress so that he can sleep in the hallway. “So long as I’m in town, I am going to sleep between you and him!” Jess says he doesn’t need to worry about her. “I know you think this is going to be a mess, but it’s my mess.” Later, as she’s drifting off to sleep, she gets a text from Nick. It says, “Roof.”

EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

When she gets up there, Nick is just finishing setting up the table for her. There’s a plate of eggs, grapefruit, and pie, and even a beer bottle with flowers in it. Nick: “This was the breakfast I was going to give you this morning.” [Pause for collective fangirl squee.] Jess smiles. “Hey, uh. I hope my dad didn’t get in your head.” Nick says no, he didn’t. They’re about to have a moment when the door to roof opens again.

It’s Schmidt and Elizabeth. Schmidt: “Well, look who took the romance spot.” Anyone else notice how Schmidt is so happy with Elizabeth that he has forgotten to be neurotic about this whole Nick/Jess thing? He’s holding a telescope. He and Elizabeth were going to match the constellations to the moles on his back. Elizabeth: “Then we’re gonna get drunk and try to find people doing it.” Jess says tough, first come, first served.  Scram. Schmidt just laughs. “Oh, is that how it is now? You think you just own the roof?”

And then there’s Winston. He sees the table, the flowers, the telescope. He puts it all together. They DIDN’T forget him after all! He is so happy! They even got him a golden telescope! “You know how much I love to explore space and time, man!” I knew it. Winston is a Time Lord.

The gang wishes Winston a happy birthday. Jess smiles at Nick and he gives her this wistful look that says everything. Then he shakes his head and joins in the celebration.

Bonus: Guest shot by Curtis Armstrong as Principal Creepy McGoatlover after we just saw him as Metatron on last week’s Supernatural.

Nanea Hoffman is the founder of Sweatpants & Coffee. She does a pretty good turtle face.

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About Nanea Hoffman (285 Articles)
Nanea Hoffman is the founder of Sweatpants & Coffee. She writes, she makes things, and she drinks an inordinate amount of coffee. She is also extremely fond of sweatpants. She believes in love, peace, joy, comfort, and caffeinated beverages.

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