'New Girl' Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: Paradise By the Dashboard Light


New Girl's third season hit the ground running last night, with "All In" starting right where we left off last May.

First, I'd like to say hats off to the writers for not picking up in real time — fans would have revolted if the first episode had opened in September, all the post-finale dust already settled. Instead, we begin where we left off, with Nick and Jess (let's agree that we're going to call them 'Nick and Jess' rather than create some Brangelina-style couple portmanteau) driving off in a flurry of romantic exhilaration. No Scooby style "ruh roh" here, kids, these two are "all in."

In the adorable first minute of the episode, the two manage to work in sweetness (They like each other! They really, really like each other!), station wagon sex, and the resolution to a pretty important topic: 

"We've been dating for, like, 30 minutes, and we're already living together," Nick says.

Yes, he said dating. As in, a couple.

Schmidt, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how to handle his Elizabeth/Cece situation. In true Schmidt style, he pulls out his best romantic lines to deter each lady from thinking he has chosen the other. He tells Cece that "her shoelaces must be tied together because she is straight trippin' yo." And to Elizabeth, re: Cece: "As if!" (If Alicia Silverstone isn't too busy chewing her child's food, she's so proud of him right now.) 

Incidentally, I dare to dream that one day, Schmidt will realize he is white.

Speaking of color, the gang discovers that Winston is colorblind, which might explain why he's so terrible at puzzles. And yes, Winston has something hot going on with his puzzle. And no, he is not good at puzzles. But he is 'all in.' 

So are Nick and Jess, who abandon their station wagon shelter on a Mexican beach in order to sneak onto an adjacent fancy resort property. (Let's just brush past the fact that they haven't changed their underwear in four days, shall we? Because apparently Paradise Nick and Paradise Jess don't have those sorts of concerns.)

Nick is arrested after getting into a heated altercation with a kid at the aforementioned resort, who declines to give up his rave-style bracelet to help Nick and Jess dupe a security guard. After witnessing this, I have few words of advice for Nick:

1) Don't threaten to strangle a ten-year-old. 

2) Don't try to convince a ten-year-old to give you something by talking about girls and money.

3) Don't try to escape from Mexican resort security guards Point Break style.

And since I'm already doling out advice...

To Schmidt: Don't tell one of your girlfriends that your roommate sexed up your other girlfriend. [When Winston almost spills the beans to Cece, Schmidt tells her that Winston slept with Elizabeth. And that Winston stole her (Cece's) underwear.] 

To Winston: Never say, "I needed to sew your underwear into my underwear." Ever. Poor Winston — he's just not good in a pinch.

Despite this shortcoming, Winston is still probably the most together of all the roommates. As such, it's with rational conviction that he reminds Schmidt that he'd broken a promise not to lie.

Of course, this rationality lasts for about thirty seconds before the two start fighting, cartoon style, and Jess runs in to recruit them for 'Mission: rescue Nick from Mexican jail.'

(An aside: Winston is wearing a hooded sweatshirt as pants during his altercation with Schmidt. That is all.)

Back in Mexico, Schmidt makes some characteristically racist remarks — because it wouldn't be an episode of New Girl without Schmidt making characteristically racist remarks — and we discover that being thrown into Mexican resort jail just means that Nick is being held in a hotel room. And that he doesn't want to leave.

"If we go back, we're not going to make it," he laments to Jess. And he might have a point. But Jess talks him into going home, pointing out that they are only "them" because of all of them — they are a family. "Sometimes you get a really great deal on Craigslist," Jess says, referencing the pilot. "I got a really great deal on Craigslist."

Nick relents, because he loves them all. He and Jess embrace, and his passport falls into the shredder. Voila, a new puzzle for Winston to solve!

Back at the threshold of reality — outside the loft door, that is — Nick gives Jess the resort bracelet, Jess discovers that Nick doesn't carry keys ("Someone else is always home!"), and they start to argue, then make out, as Schmidt and Winston look on nauseously. Watching your friends paw each other is kind of squicky.

"Sayonara, masturbation for the rest of my life," Schmidt grouses. Somehow, I think he'll be okay.

Favorite moment of the night:

Nick and Jess's exchange of "I like you's" in the cold open. It was so 7th grade, in the sweetest way.

Hope going forward:

I'm pro-Nick and Jess, but there were points where their interactions bordered on goopy. They need to clash as well as clutch.

So, what'd you think... Newbies? Girlies? What overtly precious Internet-derived term do we use to address people who watch New Girl? Let me know in the comments!