★★★★☆

There were three primary duos in this week’s episode of New Girl, “Longest Night Ever”: there was Nick and Winston who worked but it was more of a stepping stone to allow the next pairing, Jess and Schmidt, to be alone together and they worked fantastically, and then there’s the last pairing, Coach and Cece who worked the least for two reasons. One, I really, really don’t want this to lead into to any love triangle mess and two, they’re the two most underdeveloped characters and while that can work in some cases by allowing the characters to grow, instead due to the minimal time allotted to their storyline they just seemed unnecessary.

The original plans for the night are much different. Jess and Nick are excited to have a night at home alone. Nick, so they can catch up on television and Jess, so that they can have couch sex. Nick quickly changes his plans too. This is why I love second and the third season Jess—rather than being the sexually shy character from the first season she’s now completely over-the-top confident about it.

Winston asks Nick to watch Ferguson that night so he can go and try to interact with human women and Nick reluctantly agrees, just as Schmidt with another crisis bursts into the loft. He tells them that Coach is going to ask Cece out and that yes, he did run it by him out of respect of their friendship but Schmidt lied and told him that it was totally fine and to go ahead.

This is an obvious lie. The second that Coach tells them that Cece said yes and he and Schmidt have an awkward congratulatory session where Schmidt gives him a pep-talk on how the date is going to go well and to not worry about it.

Nick, on the other hand knows better and hatches a plan with Jess. He tells her they’re going to have to forgo their home date plans and instead babysit Schmidt but in a rough way. He says that although Schmidt is saying he’s fine what it really means is that he’s going to try and sabotage the date the minute it begins. He says they’re going to have to physically restrain him from going anywhere and not leave the apartment.

Nick regrets not buying the dog cage that he saw for sale, which you’d think would be a weird loss but then Schmidt agrees with him after being let in on the plan for him that night.

Apparently Schmidt is to be treated like a rabid animal.

We later see Coach pick up Cece for their date. It’s a brief scene—like all of their scenes—and all it does is show Coach being awkward around Cece, not knowing how to act, having lost his cool and Cece plays the straight man character like she always does, limiting Hannah Simone’s acting spectrum from genuine smile to annoyed glare.

At the loft, Jess and Nick are trying to distract Schmidt about the date when Winston walks in, dejected after a disastrous outing. He says that he’s lost the ability to talk to women having been off the dating scene for too long.

He soon realizes that Nick has made a terrible mistake and left the window open, allowing Ferguson to escape. Upset, he makes Nick come with him to find his cat since it’s his fault it happened in the first place. Nick wants to but has Schmidt and Jess yelling at him to not let Jess be the one who watches over him—saying if things get rough she’ll never be able to handle it. Nick owes it to Winston though and tells them they’ll just have to deal.

This is where my happiness in the episode grew because I LOVE it when Jess and Schmidt get storylines together considering their pairing may be my favorite friendship to watch play out on the show. I was reminded the other day how in season one it looked like a Jess and Schmidt pairing could have happened and while I’m happy it didn’t because of the romantic chemistry between Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel I can’t say I’m very surprised. Max Greenfield and Deschanel have a wonderful manic chemistry that allows for their inane and often absurd interactions to just work. They’re both over-the-top characters with very distinguishable characteristics that play off each other wonderfully. Despite my involvement in the Nick and Jess relationship I almost enjoy Jess and Schmidt interacting or Nick and Schmidt interacting more just because of the energy that Greenfield manages to bring to each pairing.

Once Nick leaves, Jess tries out physical dominance of Schmidt and it all results in a few feeble punches to his chest that hurt her more than him and they realize they’re screwed by the time it’s too late to call for Nick to come back.

Jess tries to distract him on her own with a montage or ridiculous song and dance moments that don’t quite work until Schmidt decides to just lay down on the couch after deciding it reminds him of Cece. This leads to an uncomfortable pause where Schmidt begins to move against the couch a little too enthusiastically and begins to give the pillows some pecks before Jess decides it’s enough and drags him off the couch and tells him that they’re going to go to a bar and find him a new woman to distract him from his Cece yearning.

Winston and Nick are in the car looking for the cat and Winston is upset that Nick has lost his best friend and the party was disastrous. Nick thinks it’s pathetic that Winston’s best friend is his cat.

They think they see him in the distance and go to grab him.

Over in my least favorite plot of the episode Coach and Cece are at a sports game and Cece is decked out in sports memorabilia as Coach ignores her and texts the whole time. It’s things like this that make me confused as to why Cece would go out with Coach in the first place. Despite him being rude, Cece puts up with it still as she sits with too many pretzels in her lap.

Jess and Schmidt are at the bar and just as Jess has managed to get him settled with an attractive woman, Schmidt devises his escape telling the woman he’s met to tell him when the bug eyed lady at the bar looks away so he can make a run for it.

And she does and he does too, running off before Jess can stop him.

You never really believe that Schmidt is going to make it to the date. He’s made far too many mistakes that are detrimental to his character so far this season that breaking up the date could make him appear too irredeemable, the jerk qualities for the sake of comedy being only a small justification when the tendency is so often played out. However, watching Jess try to wrangle him is the best part of the entire episode.

Winston and Nick have found the cat at a woman’s house who seems to fall into Winston’s current line of crazy a little too comfortably. They begin to use oddly specific come-ons on each other as Nick sits and tries to wait it out. Apparently the woman’s bus driving career, honesty about not wanting children and close relationship with animals does it for Winston and he sends Nick away so he can have his way with this woman.

Go Winston go!

Despite it reinforcing Winston’s personality transplant I don’t mind it because at least it’s a storyline that finally works in his favor rather than him being the loser in each outcome.

Cece has finally had enough of Coach and leaves but he chases after her to tell her that he had been texting his mom for moral support for the date. He’s thrown off since his last relationship ended and he wanted everything to go right. Cece understands that and decides to give it a second shot.

Jess is chasing after Schmidt in her car and finally gets him to stop. He tells her that the only way she can stop him is by hitting him with her car. Although she doesn’t want to she does since he’s asking her. He tells her that she must want to after having screwed over her best friend and then trying to come in between her and Nick. She finally does but just a little bump that throws him since he didn’t think she’d actually go through with it. Just as a police officer shows up she accidentally goes full throttle and knocks Schmidt over, almost seriously injuring him.

They later tell the police officer that it was out of care, not something malicious.

There’s a sweet scene between them at the end when they catch Coach and Cece going at it where Jess tells Schmidt not to say he’s fine because he’s not and he concedes and says they should just stay in the car for a little while and try to wait it out.

It isn’t as funny as last week and I’m not on board with the potential mess that Cece and Coach could become but it’s a nice setup episode, allowing for multiple storyline beginnings to be put in place. We’ll just have to see if they carry over into the next couple of episodes. I hope the writing team can try and make sure each week’s A, B and C storylines are all equally interesting. An episode is at it’s best when each character’s storyline is interesting—otherwise it just seems like time taken away from the more interesting characters.

Regardless, this episode is a must watch if only for Jess and Schmidt’s interactions alone.

Next up is the Thanksgiving-themed episode, where I hope craziness ensues.

About The Author

Ally Johnson is a Blast correspondent

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