New Girl‘New Girl' Recap: The PilotJennifer Still

“You know how in horror movies, when the girl’s like, ‘Oh my God, there’s something in the basement! Let me just run down there in my underwear and see what’s going in in the dark!’ and you’re like, ‘What is your problem? Call the police!’ but it’s too late because she’s already getting murdered? My story’s kind of like that.”

Well, that’s quite an introduction. These are the first words we hear out of Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and if you think they’re irreverent, gold star for you because you’ve already got a pretty firm grasp of her amazing character.

Following that schpiel, we flashback to Jess in the back of a cab two weeks ago, on the phone with her best friend CeCe (Hannah Simone) as they discuss Jess’s surprise for her boyfriend Spencer. Jess has taken some sort of stripper classes (didn’t see that one in the Learning Annex catalogue! Zing!) in order to fulfill Spencer’s fantasy of sleeping with “a stripper with a heart of gold”, adding that she was going to pretend to be working her way through college as part of her “3-dimensional sex character”. That’s what she said! Does that apply here? I feel like it does, but I can’t be sure, they stopped showing reruns of The Office after The Simpsons so I’m a little rusty on my Michael Scott-isms.

Anyway, Jess’s stripper name is as innocent as she is – Rebecca Johnson. That doesn’t really sound dirty at all, unless you’re from 1970 and think “johnson” is still a euphimism for male anatomy. No thanks.

Poor Jess is in for a rude awakening when she gets home, however. After stripping down to her birthday suit and crooning out a rather delightful version of what we will come to know as her own theme song (“Who’s that girlllll? It’s Jess!”), she turns around to see not just Spencer staring on but also some ginger in only knickers and a camisole.

“So, that happened.” Back to present.

The breakup is why Jess is looking for an apartment now, but while she so kindly relayed her story, turns out the question she was answering was simply whether or not she has pets. Oops! Hey, who hasn’t been there? One time someone asked me what I was having for dinner and I may or may not have gone off on a tangent about how the olfactory senses are the most powerful we have and most capable of inducing nostalgia and/or sentimental feelings. So…

We’re then introduced to Jess’s future roommates – Coach (Damon Wayans Jr), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Nick (Jake M Johnson), who seem a bit baffled by Jess but still feel the need to show off. Well, Schmidt does, anyway. He immediately takes off his shirt to show off his “body” – something that Coach particularly takes pride in as his personal trainer. He then claims that his body is “LLS – Ladies Love Schmidt” and immediately loses $1 from his wallet to the Douchebag Jar. I feel I could benefit from one of those, just like, in my daily life. If I took it on the subway I could make serious bank.

The guys then try to commiserate with Jess, saying that Nick got dumped – flashback to Nick covering his ears as his ex tried to tell him that their relationship is over, 6-year-old style complete with “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” antics. However, he later admits he was indeed broken up with… six months ago.

The group moves to the kitchen, where Nick admits that they have a few questions before they can decide whether Jess is the right roommate for them. Before they can ask anything, though, Jess launches into a full-length bio, explaining that she’s emotional from her breakup and she’ll probably watch Dirty Dancing “at least six or seven times… a day”.

She also reveals that her job as a teacher means that she’ll be bringing home a lot of popsicle sticks. That’s perfect, Jess – I happen to have a lot of spare yarn that came from who knows where. We could make God’s Eyes!

Next, Jess mentions that she likes to sing to herself a lot and the guys look a little wary. However, they perk up a little when she mentions that she’s tired of living with Cece (who’s a model, by the way) and hanging out with all of her model friends.

In the bathroom, Coach, Nick and Schmidt try to reach a final decision as to whether Jess is the right fit for the house. Coach has reservation as he likes to “let his beans breathe”. (That’s what he… shouldn’t have said.) However, Schmidt is taken by her model friends and the decision is left with Nick, who claims to be an expert since he’s previously lived with women.

The executive decision is that Jess is in and while she promises that they won’t regret it, her Dirty Dancing cry fest immediately upon moving in seems to be a slight cause for concern.

The next morning, the guys discuss trying to get into a big party as Jess continues her Swayze breakdown. However, Coach thinks he can cheer her up with his game plan that consists solely of pointing and saying “Stop it!” in a very direct tone. While Jess is initially wide-eyed, she quickly begins sobbing again.

Schmidt is next to take a go and turns off the TV, telling her she looks “great” and offering to take her out on the town to seek a rebound. The idea seems like a good one to Jess, and then the greatest exchange in this episode takes place:

Jess: I don’t know if I’m ready.
Schmidt: You’re totally ready for it. I’ll take you through the whole thing. I’ll be like your guide.
Jess: Like Gandalf through Middle Earth?
Schmidt: Probably not like… first of all, let’s just take the Lord of the Rings references and put them in a deep dark cave where no one’s going to find them, ever.
Jess: Except Sméagol.

LOL! Jess is visibly cheered, however, and begins to sing her theme song and stare dreamily into space. However, that evening their plan hits a snag as the guys realise that they may not be able to get into the party they’re so looking forward to.

As Schmidt and Nick discuss the night ahead, Jess announces from the shower that “someone’s in here” and she’s rather calm about it. I dunno, man, I always double check to make sure the bathroom door is locked and I still don’t trust it. I’d prop the toilet under it if I could just to be safe.

Schmidt answers right back, telling her that they’re leaving in 20 minutes and instructing her to shave her legs – front and back. Do any of you ladies really not shave the back of your legs? I mean, I’ve kept it Amazonian above the knee on occasion, but I can’t imagine a situation in which you would only need to shave the front of your legs. Whatever.

In order to guarantee access to the party, Schmidt suggests that Nick call his ex, Caroline (she of the “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” break-up fame). You see, Schmidt wants to motorboat a Native American woman (I don’t know, don’t ask me) but, stepping out of the shower, Jess suggests that he finds a girl that he really cares about to motorboat and who will “motorboat [him] right back”, making everyone realise that she has no idea what motorboating actually is. You’re not missing anything, Jess. Ignorance is truly bliss in this case – who actually likes that?

Later, as Jess gets ready, Coach come into her room and asks her advice on talking to women since apparently he’s a bit… rough. By the way, I sorta think Coach is my favourite of the guys at this point. Maybe it’s just because he’s a Wayans which makes him naturally funny, but there’s something about him that cracks me up.

Jess suggests that Coach takes interest in things that women like to talk about, like the fact that she bought a new pair of jeggings, which seems to confuse him. He tries to stay positive but eventually shouts “WHO CARES!” I know I’m a girl so it doesn’t really count, but I care. Jeggings are a pretty great invention and I own multiple pairs.

At the bar, Jess has some red wine, which she proclaims will make her “slutty” and immediately oggles a “cute guy” walking by. Schmidt tells her that in order to get over Spencer, she’s going to have to do some real bad things. “Like, make out sesh with no tops?” she responds.

After trying out a few unsuccessful smiles (“You look like a hungry badger,” says Schmidt), she insists that she’s got it and goes over to speak to the “cute guy”, who looks like he stepped straight out of a 1980s Stetson ad, and opens with the line, “Hey, sailor!” It doesn’t go so well.

Later in the evening, Jess sits at the bar gnawing on celery and admits that she can’t “hide [her] crazy”, though Nick thinks that she hasn’t tried very hard. They commiserate over having both been dumped but Nick insists that he’s fine. Still, Jess isn’t buying it. She thinks he should talk about his feelings because people who keep it inside “get old, get sad and they get weird and then you’re the old man and you’re yelling at the kids who run across your yard and you’re telling them, ‘Don’t run across my yard. My life is filled with regret!’”

Nick fires back, suggesting that Jess lives on a “sparkly rainbow” and sings all the time, which she thinks is a great way of coping and I agree. I tend to make up a lot of my own songs and while some may think this suggests me as an excellent candidate for my local mental institution, I just think it’s fun. Nick thinks it’s a terrible idea because he’s a dude and at this point has no sense of adventure. Live a little, Nick!

“Your left boob is resting on a plate of chicken,” he retorts. She knows, Nick. We always know.

I’ve kind of omitted mentioning Schmidt’s jackass “friends” because they’re kind of not worth mentioning. The one guy kinda looks like what that geeky kid from Glee will probably grow up to be but without the afro. Anyway, not really important to the exposition. He basically tells Schmidt not to bother coming to the party as there’ll be more breasts for him to motorboat (ew) but Nick says not to worry, he’s texted Caroline and they’re definitely going.

Meanwhile, Jess has secured a date with some nondescript dude by talking in short sentences, not singing and saying she needed rebound sex. Her plan totally worked ‘cos now she’s going out for “dinner… with food”! Raise the roof for free food, y’all.

The next night as Jess prepares for her date, Cece comes over for the first time to help. The guys are sitting on the couch, staring at her, and then Schmidt takes his shirt off again and goes on about “teabag action” but insists that he wasn’t being gross. Still, $1 hits the Douchebag Jar. Cece just says that if anything happens to Jess, she’ll murder them.

Poor Jess has fallen off her heels, though, and is feeling a bit nervous about her date but Cece encourages her. She also doesn’t approve of Jess’s “hot farmer’s daughter” look and the pair decide to trade clothes for the evening. The guys are wowed… until she breaks it down with some awesome dance moves.

At the party, Nick meets with Caroline outside and thanks her for getting them in. Even though she has figured out that he’s been prank calling her in an English accent and confessing his love, she suggests that they grab a drink, which he’s into. However, he suddenly wants to know why she broke up with him and while she thinks it’s sort of awkward that he wants to discuss this in the middle of the sidewalk, she relents and reveals that it’s because she never knew that he even cared about her until after they split. Ouch.

Glee geek shows up with… wait, is that Jess’s date? Nick asks where Jess is and her date admits that he flaked because she texted him “like seven times… long ones” and he “just wanted to hook up”. He’s also a total ass who didn’t bother to call her. What a sweetie.

Nick doesn’t hesitate before telling Caroline that he has to cancel their drink as he’s got to go see Jess, who is no doubt waiting at the restaurant where her date is supposed to take place. Coach runs off with him but Schmidt is reluctant – don’t want to miss out on that motorboating opportunity, do we? – though he eventually follows.

At the restaurant, Jess is sitting alone at her table and is just about to be sent away since her date hasn’t arrived. A girl after my own heart, she asks the server if there’s any more “stuff that’s free that has bread in it” because she ate all the good stuff. You know the one thing that’s better than bread? Free bread. Just sayin’.

Anyway, the guys sweep in just in time, claiming that they’re “reverse Mormons” and that they’re all her boyfriends. Jess is touched that they missed their party just to come and see her, calling it “so nice”, which it totally is. As she starts to cry, Coach pulls his “stop it!” move but Nick cuts in by beginning a rendition of ‘I’ve Had The Time of My Life’. Coach and Schmidt soon join in, with Schmidt getting hilariously earnest about the whole thing, closing his eyes and throwing his head back while Coach goes for the vibrato.

The outburst gets them kicked out of the restaurant, sure, but it sure cheers Jess up. Back at the apartment, the foursome watch Dirty Dancing and Jess doesn’t cry! Progress! As the episode ends, Schmidt offers his words of comfort: “I know you’ve been through a rough time, but I want you to know, truly, that I would still do you.”

And another dollar goes into the Douchebag Jar.

Stay tuned for more New Girl recaps every Wednesday! New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

Sponsored by: Fox Broadcasting Company

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  1. I missed it!
    Ugh, I’m so upset by that. :(

  2. What I want to know is…. What grade level does Jess teach?!?!?! I really hope it’s first grade, because that’s the grade that I teach!! And yes, I come home with Popsicle sticks (and glitter and paint and yarn and googly eyes and stick glue) too!

  3. i loved it!! especially the part when coach asks her to help him talk to the ladies. She tells him she bought some jeggings and he looks a bit confused as to what to say back, then bursts out with…
    ‘WHO CARES??!!?!’
    ‘just few things you should walk on, 1. lowering your voice 2. listening 3. um rage’
    i laughed so hard at this part i almost peed

  4. i think im gonna get cable again just for this show

  5. Best new show I’ve seen in a long time! Looking forward to Tuesday nights!!

  6. I LOVE that show. And Zooey. And that show :D

  7. Jess is a “never-nude” like Tobias from Arrested Development, thus she wears a bathing suit in the shower. There are dozens of them, Dozens!

  8. it’s not red wine. it’s pink wine.

    pink wine makes her slutty – best line of the night

  9. I love the show, wish I tape it and watched again. I like the “Douchebag jag” it’s a great idea for any house :O)

  10. Television just got better and I now have a standing date with Jess and the boys every Tuesday at 9. Thank you magic TV gods for creating a show this good and casting Zooey D!!

    • Also, I’m convinced that Jess and Nick are going to be my new Ross and Rachel or maybe Monica and Chandler. Either way my magic 8 ball and I foresee love in their future. :)

  11. I LOVED the show! I love that she has her own theme song and turns sentences into sing-songy lines… I LOVED when the guys sang to her in the restaurant… definitely looking forward to this show!

  12. The episode was SO good! Usually when a new series is setting up the backstory, you don’t get any of the humor or charm that comes later. But the writers and of course Zooey and the other actors did a fantastic job.

    What I loved most was the fashion though. Jess has a fun sense of style. I wrote a Fashion Recap for the episode here: http://prommafia.com/2011/09/the-new-girl-fashion-recap/

  13. I really wish Damon Wayans Jr. could have stayed past the pilot, but I’m also SO excited that Happy Endings got picked up. I’m torn! I just have to hope that New Coach will be just as hilarious, and then everything will be fine.

  14. I DVR’d this while I was working midnights and I’m going to watch it now. I’m so excited! Finally, a funny show worth watching. It kind of replaces will and grace :0)~

  15. Love it! I’m so excited about this show! Just wondering why Jess was in a bathing suit in the shower?

    • I was under the assumption she wasn’t taking a full shower, just prepping to go out (shaving etc…)

      Crap, I really hope I’m not the only one who’s done that? Hahaha