'New Girl' Season 3 Episode 2 Recap: Jess Impresses the Mean Girls


Last week, the season three premiere of New Girl kicked off where season two left off. This week's episode, "Nerds," has us back in real time. September has come to the loft.

Schmidt continues to juggle Cece and Elizabeth. Part of me thinks those girls deserve to get played if they are going to be so gullible. Yes, Schmidt is in the wrong, but come on ladies, sharpen up.


Image courtesy HarperCollins.

After last week’s trip to Mexico, I was curious as to how Nick and Jess would fare as a couple in their natural habitat. I remembered Nick’s declaration in the episode "Jess and Julia": "I’m no good at being a boyfriend."

Turns out, he is good at being a boyfriend, but he’s incredibly weird and awkward when he tries to act like a boyfriend. Spit-smoothing your girlfriend’s bangs is not cool, Nick. Not cool. To his credit, Nick does so because he’s trying to help a stressed-out Jess. Jess' new teaching job has her back in middle school, both literally and figuratively. She's the nerdy girl who's desperate to fit in with the cool kids (in her case, other teachers, including Angela Kinsey). This means mocking the principal (Curtis Armstrong), Mean Girls-style, and following Nick’s best advice: drinking. A lot. Like, the amount that will cause you to stand in a toilet and sing, which is what Jess does. The kind of drinking that will leave a person with a worse hangover than a game of True American.

Photo courtesy Fox.

While Nick and Jess are going strong, and Schmidt is trying to Big Love his women, Winston's love life is falling apart. He agrees to cat sit for Daisy, and decides he wants their relationship to be exclusive. When he shows up at her apartment, however, she has another guy there (we don’t see him, but the shower is running, and there’s a giant sneaker, so, you know). So Winston takes the cat.

Once Winston is convinced by Nick that the mysterious showerer was, indeed, servicing Daisy with his, "size 15 ding dong," Winston comes to the only logical conclusion, or the only logical conclusion for Winston: that he should kill Daisy’s cat, but let the cat choose the way in which it dies.


Photo courtesy Fox.

Meanwhile, Jess is off with her new friends, trying to put her ass in her new principal’s hot tub. Poor Nick is stuck trying to stop Jess from committing a weird felony and trying to stop Winston from committing catricide. It was a little weird to see Nick being the most mature, rational one of the bunch.

At his office party, Schmidt finds himself in deep, well, Schmidt when both Cece and Elizabeth show up. Under the watchful eye of hellish coworker Beth (Eva Amurri), he manages to pull it off by dressing Cece up as a waitress, and convincing Elizabeth to play some weird sex game with him. The ruse lives on for another episode (maybe it will continue until Merritt Wever, deliverer of the Best Acceptance Speech Ever, has to return to Nurse Jackie).


Photo courtesy Fox.

Nick shows up at Jess' principal's house because, in his words, "if you're going to do stupid stuff, I'm going to do stupid stuff with you." Apparently, stupid stuff includes hot-tubbing with your girl’s boss. Because, of course, they get caught. Fortunately, Principal Foster just thinks they’re there for the "jacooz," and welcomes them warmly. Thanks be to every available higher power that when Foster took off his robe, he was wearing trunks, and not a Speedo.

I'm also pretty thankful that Winston finally dumped Daisy. When she shows up to collect the cat, he tells her how it is. "I deserve better," he informs her. "And so does Ferguson." Winston has a new loft pet.

I was convinced that the mean girls (and guy) had been planning all along to dump Jess over the principal’s fence and run, but they seemed genuinely grateful that she'd taken the heat for them. Finally, Jess gets true acceptance, and feels free to hang with her "old man."

The repeated references to Nick and Jess being each other's "old man" and "old lady" got irritating, but the shot of Nick leaning against his car, Jake Ryan-style, in the parking lot of Jess' school made up for it. Still, let’s do away with those terms, eh, writers?


Oh, and then they made out and went off to have sex in the teacher’s lounge. "I’m gonna do it with a teacher!" Nick crows. Reluctant fist bump, Miller.  

If Nick and Jess are going to continue to appeal to the audience, the writers need to be sure to not lose the spark between them. It's important that Nick and Jess don't lose their dynamic as friends; sweet moments are great, but there also needs to be plenty of sparring. So far, so good.

Nick delivered the most romantic line of the night when he and Jess were discussing what it would be like if they'd known each other in high school: "I would have noticed you."

He also delivered the least romantic line of the night: "I want to put it on you."

Winston, meanwhile, is responsible for the most disgusting line of the entire series thus far: “Something is definitely coming out.” (It had to do with a running joke involving cats and Schmidt’s nipples.) I echoed Nick’s vomit face. 

Photo courtesy Fox.