Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2, Episode 21 of Fox's "New Girl," titled "First Date."
Move along folks, nothing to see here ... or so should have been written on the opening precursor to tonight's episode right alongside "viewer discretion advised." We are now witnessing the world's most drawn-out foreplay and it is getting a bit exhausting. When people worried that Nick and Jess were moving too fast and "whatever will they do in Season 3 to keep up the tension?" well, those people did not see this coming, and neither did I. I understand that by moving the show to Thursday night in an attempt to win over a new and larger audience, "New Girl" had to play it safe. But word to the wise -- either do it already, or have Nick screw up in his oh-so-typical Nick Miller way. Thanks.
And now for the episode.
The gang fights over the communal phone charger, until Nick and Jess are left by themselves. "What shall we do," quips Jess. "Definitely not make out," jokes Nick, and puts his hand on her upper boob -- the most underrated part of the boob, of course. In an attempt to ease up the awkwardness, Jess asks him what's going on and what are they doing. "We're roommates who've made out a couple times and are attracted to each other and are really good friends, and sometimes genuinely kind of hate each other. And sometimes, touch each other's boobs," says Nick, and places his second hand on Jess' second boob, which makes it "a little bit better and a little bit worse."
In the classroom (who here remembered Jess had a job?), Jess consults Cece -- who is sadly missing from the show but is getting increasingly funny -- and tells her she doesn't understand Nick and is so confused by their relationship. Nick, meanwhile, consults his water therapy buddy Tran (remember Tran?) who, per usual, doesn't say a word and lets Nick figure it out on his own. Having just experienced the loss of his dad, Nick realizes life is too short and he has to make a move. He decides -- err, rather, Tran decides -- that Nick needs to ask Jess out on a date.
When faced with reality though, Nick sweats profusely and barely manages to form words that'll make it clear he wants to ask Jess out. All she gets from it is that they're going to dinner, NBD. But Nick is so thrilled by the opportunity, he tucks his pride away and asks Schmidt to help him get dressed to impress.
In a suit and tie and freshly manscaped (by Winston!), Nick is ready to take on the night with
Jess Yolanda Winston. Under Schmidt's advice, he plans to hide the fact that he's cheap, a heavy drinker, broke and has an anger problem. When the troublesome twosome realize there is no Yolanda Winston, they decide to sabotage Nick and Jess' date for fear Nick will no longer be their glue, and reminisce about that one time in college Nick left the two of them alone to go to the bathroom and how awkward that was (quite possibly the funniest 10 seconds the show, if I may say).
A decked-out Nick arrives at the restaurant where he told Jess to meet him to find her casually dressed and waiting by the hot dog stand. She hadn't realized it was a date they're going on and figured they were just hanging out. When a police officer tickets Nick for jaywalking, he doesn't even get angry. He's there to show Jess there's more to him than she knows. When she asks him point blank though if they're on a date, Nick chickens out and avoids the straight and obvious answer.
Back in the loft, Schmidt and Winston think up plans for sabotage. Schmidt's is sending cocktails over to the table to get Nick angry at the waiter. Winston's is to break into the zoo, kidnap a bear, shoot it with Hep C, and release it in the restaurant. He racks up points for comedy, but not feasibility. When Schmidt asks him what's the worst thing that ever happened to him on a date, Winston remembers that one time a giant homeless man in soiled underwear and a jacket serenaded him and his date with George Michael's "Father Figure." That gets Schmidt thinking and the two turn to Outside Dave for assistance. They strike a deal with him: 25 minutes of TV time and one home-cooked sandwich and in turn, he has to mess up Nick and Jess' date, but when they bring him into their home he runs amok and barricades himself in the bathroom.
In the restaurant, Nick tries to play it cool but loses it a bit when Jess' ex Russell (Dermot Mulroney) enters with a hot blonde (Brandie, not that anyone cares). "That's why you dumped me?" Russell asks, only half joking. When he leaves, Jess suggests she and Nick drop the date act and move over to the bar to chill as friends. This proves to be a better idea and they ease back into bonding over roommate life and teasing one another, as they do. Nick tells Jess it's hot when she asks him for help opening jars and restarting the internet, and she tells him it's hot when he gargles his beer. The date is back on.
Sipping on cocktails at the table they claimed back from Russell and Blondie, Nick jokingly tells Jess he'll put out. When Jess calls Russell over to tell him the date is going really well his response is "you two are really something," which doesn't sit well with them. They run after him and his date demanding answers and instead get a big ol' mirror in the face. "You live together and you had three dates tonight, what's that?" he asks them. "I think you guys don't really know what you are to each other."
As Nick and Jess vehemently deny that, Russell proposes a little game. Each one will write down what he thinks this is -- a relationship, a one night stand, above the waist only, and he'll compare their answers. Though it takes them a few uncertain minutes to jot them down, Jess and Nick hand Russell back their valet ticket responses, only to have him look at them, tuck them away and tell them to forget it. Who here bets that Nick wrote relationship and Jess wrote hookup?
In the loft, Schmidt and Winston don't really know what to do with Outside Dave, who's very much inside. They can't call the police because they're both out of battery and the communal charger is in the bathroom with Dave, who is using up all of Schmidt's grooming products. Schmidt, who can't take it anymore, decides to climb into the bathroom through the roof only to be caught in the madness that is Outside Dave, who tries to shave his legs. Winston breaks into the bathroom with a sandwich, ready to convince Dave to let his friend go, when Schmidt drops from the sky. Winston's chivalrous move touched him and they realize Nick is no longer their glue.
On the curb outside the restaurant, Nick and Jess play 5th graders and refuse to tell one another how they feel, though it is painfully clear they feel the exact same way. Frustrated, Jess tells him to keep his distance. Back in the apartment, they run into each other in the kitchen (they never actually ate with all that drama going on), and when Jess struggles to open the salsa jar, Nick gargles his beer. The tension between them is so palpable, I almost forgive them for keeping at it, but as they walk to their rooms separately and force themselves to say good night (CROSS THE HALL AND KNOCK ON THE DOOR, NICK! CROSS THE HALL AND KNOCK ON THE DOOR!), the magic is gone. Here's hoping next week's a charm.
"New Girl" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.