Of course Jess is involved in her school’s Thanksgiving play, and of course she’s playing the turkey. While bopping her head along backstage, she’s approached by Paul, who seems to be dressed as a butternut squash. This episode is making me hungry already. Can we bring on the bowl of mashed potatoes and whoever’s playing the stuffing?
It’s not clear who Paul is, exactly – a fellow teacher, if I have to use my excellent inference skills – but he wants to thank Jess for helping out with the production. He then immediately starts kicking game by asking how her boyfriend is and in typical Jess fashion, she gets all awkward when explaining that they’ve broken up. “Good riddance!” she says, before quickly changing the subject.
She asks him what he’s doing for Thanksgiving and Paul responds that he usually spends it with his grandmother, but she died last month, hence his “deep” Halloween play (“madgrigal”) which deals with mortality and nihilism – your typical Halloween fare.
When Paul reveals that he has to go “warm up the gourds” (is THAT what he is? Disappointing!), Jess has a brilliant idea, and it’s clear that she’s invited him over for a Thanksgiving dinner which previously was unplanned.
Cut to Jess’s return to the apartment, where the guys are horrified to see her drop what is at least a 30lb turkey as she struggles to get in the door. (Side note: that’s the fakest fake turkey I’ve ever seen, though I will excuse it for the sake of saving Zooey’s arms from having to lug a real one.)
Nick explains that they’re definitely NOT doing Thanksgiving – aw, but she’s just bought the last turkey in America! Nick just wants to watch football, drink beer and then go to Best Buy for Black Friday. Good plan, minus the football and the beer. And the getting up at 4am only to get stampeded on by a pack of overzealous shoppers keen on getting an LCD TV for $2, or whatever it is they’re selling.
Anyway, Jess insists that it’s not a big deal but she’s just going to cook dinner for them… and Paul. She admits that she’s asked someone out and he’s “really, really hot”. I mean, I typically reserve such effusive language for the likes of Jon Hamm, but I’ll give her this one. By the way, she’s named the turkey Hanks. Hanks Giving, in fact, and they’re going to eat him.
Jess assures them that she’ll do everything so they don’t have to worry about it. Nick pokes fun at her for being the girl to replace Paul’s dead nana. “I know!” she replies, obviously touched at the idea.
Winston thinks it’s a bad idea because Paul is going to end up as their fifth roommate if he gets with Jess, and they have to make sure they like him. Meanwhile, Jess wants to know if they have any idea about cooking and Schmidt immediately gets pulled in. He advises her not to try and cook Thanksgiving dinner for five people in fourteen hours and also not to ask a guy out on a first date on the least sexy holiday in America. Is there a sexy holiday? I mean, besides Valentine’s Day, and even that’s negligible.
Oh wait – Schmidt’s got an answer for us. The most sexy holidays are 4th of July (“Independence Day, obviously!”), Women’s History Month and Christmas. He also agrees to help Jess prepare the meal since she promises to invite Cece. Also, he’s going to cook the entire meal and doesn’t want any lip about using too much tarragon – cos he’s not.
Uh oh, we’ve got a problem – the turkey hasn’t thawed and it’s now just five hours before Paul comes. This is why you should buy fresh, never frozen. I realise that’s a luxury (and I’ve never done it myself, so I’m kinda talking crap here) but it would save this trouble.
The methods they try are hilarious, as evidenced below:
Finally, Jess lies on the floor with the turkey in her arms, hoping that her body heat will warm it up. Schmidt is, of course, turned on, especially when Cece arrives and Jess beckons her to join in on the turkey cuddling.
Finally, they put it in the dryer. Oh boy. Then Paul shows up early and seems to have brought… his violin. This should be good. After giving Paul a beer, Jess goes to freshen up and advises the guys that he might “fiddle with the old horsehairs” if they ask nicely. “Only if you don’t mind being enchanted!” he replies.
Nick is annoyed and Jess pulls him into her room, telling him not to “do that thing” that he does. Can these two just get together already? I mean, I know this early in the season would sort of be a cop out, but it’s so obvious that they’re the Ross & Rachel of this show. Anyway, Jess doesn’t want him to make his “turtle face” and admits that Paul’s the first guy that she’s liked in ages so please be nice. Because Nick is great, he agrees.
Paul is intimidated by the fact that Jess lives with three guys, comparing it to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Winston tries to break the ice by playing a little game – he’ll say a word and Paul replies with the first word that pops into his head. “Kazoo!” he replies. Winston’s obviously testing him in case he ends up with Jess and hangs around a lot.
When Jess returns, she’s wearing a pink bow in her hair with a red dress, which used to be a fashion faux pas but I think is okay now. (I don’t know anything about fashion.) “Whatcha gobblin’ about, turkeys?” she asks, much to her own and Paul’s amusement and everyone else’s confusion.
Meanwhile, the turkey is still going strong in the dryer and in the kitchen, Cece and Schmidt are cooking and he’s being OCD about hygeine. Paul is showing off pictures of his grandmother on his phone. He bonds with Winston, who shows photos of his own grandfather eating gelato and attempting to quit drinking.
Paul needs to go to the store, so it’s up to Nick to take him since he’s yet to have a pumpkin ale. In the car, Paul starts singing about what they’re doing and then tries to make conversation with Nick about the weather in LA, where he gets his copies, etc. Nick is… not amused.
In the kitchen, Schmidt flips out when Cece puts mashed potatoes on his nose. Paul and Nick return after a tense convo and the turkey blows up in the dryer, filling the apartment with smoke. “It’s like a Prince video!”Nick says. Apt observation.
The guys then decide to go to the bar, but Paul doesn’t want to give up on the meal they’ve been working so hard on. They decide to go down to another apartment that Jess has the key for downstairs. She stays in the hall with Nick and calls him out for not being nice to Paul, but he insists that he has been and starts listing off all the menial facts he learned about him while on their store run. What did they even get at the store? I didn’t see either of them with bags.
Jess thinks that Nick’s being a jerk because no one is cool enough for him. She starts shouting about how she wants to have sex with Paul “big time” and can’t understand why Nick doesn’t like him, but he doesn’t think it matters. Of course, they’re being so loud in the hallway that Paul and the others hear every word inside.
“I want to take him down to Chinatown and slice him off a piece of this pumpkin pie!” Jess shouts, while inside, Paul wants to know what pumpkin pie even is. “I wanna do it standing up and sitting down and half up and half down. And the wiggly one and the bear attack and the claws and the head and the thing figure-skaters do! And the what’s for lunch and the give me that hat!” she continues.
Winston then announces that they heard everything, much to her horror. When they go in, Jess says that they were rehearsing a play that Nick was writing called “Big Time” about a man who loves another man and isn’t very good. She then apologises and leaves the room. Poor girl.
Meanwhile, Schmidt is going nuts in the kitchen while cooking. Cece tells Jess that he yelled at her earlier and admits that she’s kinda into him because of his hidden rage.
Paul comes to serenade Jess with his violin and she is glad that he’s still there despite her outburst. Cece then tries to torture Schmidt by touching the food and saying that she’s not washed her hands since 3pm. Who looks at the time while in front of the sink? Anyway, he’s getting more and more upset but won’t take the bait on yelling at her.
Before going any further, Paul wants to know if Jess and Nick were ever involved romantically, because he doesn’t want to come between them. Uh, see? Everyone sees it! She insists that there’s nothing between them and Paul is glad because he wants to see her again.
Finally, dinner is getting ready to be served and Schmidt asks Paul to play something on the violin before they start. He asks Jess to introduce him for his big entrance and she starts addressing everyone as “Native Americans” and says that Paul is her “new friend that [she] met in the forest”.
Paul comes screaming back into the room, yelling, “Dead body! Dead body!” Uh oh. It’s poor Mrs Beverly. RIP! Apparently that was the final straw for Paul, who has to get under a space blanket and excuses himself for the day.
Later at Best Buy, the group lines up for the sales and Jess is upset that the night didn’t work out. But then Paul shows up with his violin, saying that he’s picked up turkey subs and wanted to come back and see her. They get in trouble for cutting but Nick goes to the back of the line for Paul. But of course Jess goes to the back as well and the whole group follows.
Fine, it’s nice that Jess has found her male counterpart, but my seat on the romance train is reserved for the Nick and Jess express. Let me know when that one pulls into the station.
Stay tuned for more New Girl recaps every Wednesday! New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.
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