New Girl Season 1-06 ‘Thanksgiving’ Recap

This week on New Girl, Jess (Zooey Desschanel) has a date, and even better, she asked him out and he said yes while she was dressed as a giant turkey and he as a squash. If that is not a tailor made hook up for Jess then I do not know what is. In the short time that we have come to know Jess on New Girl we’ve come to expect quirky bordering on bizarre; a turkey and a squash is a superb example of this character and how we are coming to know and love her.

Jess has invited Paul, the squash (Justin Long), to Thanksgiving at the apartment. Of course, she failed to mention to her roommates that this was happening. Yes, Jess is interrupting and downright ruining ‘Dudes-giving;’ sorry Nick (Jake M. Johnson), it’s becoming a thing, it’s real.

Jess has 14 hours to prepare a multi-course Thanksgiving meal for her first date with a guy who is spending his first Thanksgiving without his beloved grandmother who passed away recently. No pressure though.

Thankfully, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) reveals a hidden talent for cooking. Indeed, after being enticed into helping Jess by the promise of Cece (Hannah Simone) joining the party, Schmidt dives into the food prep like he’s Guy Fieri, only dumber. Ok, Schmidt’s not that dumb; in fact, this was the best we’ve seen from Max Greenfield who did well to balance Schmidt’s douche-y qualities with his more human qualities in this episode.

I enjoyed the Schmidt and Cece pairing. The fact that angry Schmidt actually turned Cece on was unexpected and kind of funny and that Schmidt failed so completely to pick up on it was great as well; it gives this story a little more room to develop.

Winston (Lamorne Morris) didn’t have much of a story again this week. Poor Lamorne Morris has yet to find his rhythm with the rest of the cast, especially Jess, as the New Girl writers continue to fail at bonding these characters. That said, I enjoyed Winston bonding with Paul over their late grandparents. It was a moment that showed that not all sitcom scenes have to be about snark, something this series in particular is showing a talent for.

“Thanksgiving” offered another terrific performance from Jake M. Johnson as he continues to excel at keeping Nick from being a typical sitcom character. Nick is us, he’s observing all around him as we do with an often amused and occasionally irked take on events.

Nick may be the least winking and knowing character on any sitcom today. Johnson’s performance is so relaxed and natural that he never comes off as prepared for the lunacy around him; he truly acts as if everything that happens to him is surprising and unexpected.

Rarely is Nick ready with a standard sitcom line or does he seem prepared for Jess’s quirks. It’s refreshing and fun to watch and it changes the complexion of the show. Here’s hoping Johnson and the New Girl writer’s continue on the path of keeping Nick atypical of his sitcom surroundings; it’s part of what will make his eventual romance with Jess different when it finally happens.

Random notes:

  • Jess and Paul are brother and sister aren’t they? That’s the future of this relationship. There is no romance here, they’re too alike and it will haunt them eventually. I enjoyed the silliness but I have a good feeling that Paul will act as a mirror for Jess and it will be fun to see how she reacts to seeing her unusual behavior reflected back to her.
  • Schmidt’s right, there is nothing sexy about Thanksgiving.
  • Schmidt’s sexiest Holidays, in case you missed the list, 4th of July AND Independence Day and Women’s History month.
  • Schmidt’s list neglects the fact that How I Met Your Mother proved definitively that Halloween is the sexiest holiday. Slutty nurse, Slutty teacher, Slutty pumpkin. No contest.
  • The phrase ‘what’s for lunch’ is forever changed for me after “Thanksgiving.” ‘Gimme that hat’ however, will require further explanation.

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