Title Quick Hardening Caulk
Two Sentence Summary Nick’s newfound sense of responsibility makes Jess more attracted to him than ever, leading to a pain-pills-induced confession of lust after a trip to the hardware store goes awry. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Cece’s engagement, Schmidt becomes obsessed with acquiring a rare tropical fish, and Winston helps him on his quest.
Favorite Line “I know this is a dumb question—but will a number two help?” (Winston to Schmidt, after he’s unable to pee on Schmidt’s jellyfish-stung face)
Episode M.V.P. This was an incredibly hard choice this week. Every member of the cast turned in solid performances, and every character had their chance (or chances) to shine. Schmidt’s storyline was full of laugh-out-loud moments (his temper tantrum at the aquarium and his reaction to getting stung—“IT BURNS!”—were two of my favorites), but, once again, Max Greenfield was able to ground the moments of broad comedy with a feeling that Schmidt’s antics were coming from a place of really genuine (and therefore really heartbreaking) pain. Schmidt’s fish quest also showcased the friendship between him and Winston in a way we haven’t seen before. Winston’s scene with Cece was a standout moment for me because it felt so real, and that’s a credit to the poignantly direct writing and honest performances.
Zooey Deschanel perfectly played Jess’s growing attraction to Nick spilling over into unbearable sexual frustration (I was especially fond of her bolting from the room when Nick complimented her dress and her yelling at him to leave when he started to talk about wanting to iron his shirts). From her medication-induced Judy Garland impression to her priceless reading of Nick’s hardware store shopping list, Deschanel’s performance was a true highlight.
However, this episode belonged to Nick. In order for this episode to work, Nick Miller had to be more attractive than ever, and that was accomplished on so many levels. Jake Johnson is on fire this season, and his balance of adorable enthusiasm for self-improvement, genuine confusion over how to handle Jess’s high-as-a-kite proposition, and raw desire finally set free was nothing short of perfect. Nick may be a terminal adolescent in a lot of ways, but there’s no question that he’s a man when it comes to his relationship with Jess. The way Nick refused to do anything with Jess while she was on her pain meds was both surprising and not surprising at all. Like their first kiss, Nick wants their relationship—every bit of it—to be real. You could almost see an echo of his “Not like this” confession on his face as Jess told him she wanted to sleep with him. That facial expression was beautifully contrasted with the hope and happiness on his face when Jess finally tells him that she wants him for real. Johnson is so good at using his facial expressions to both make the audience laugh and make us forget how to breathe. That last scene, with him running the gamut from longing to passion (I might just be a little obsessed with the vein in his neck popping out as they’re kissing and fighting) to comedy, was some of his best work in a season that has mentions of Emmy nominations being thrown his way (as they should be).
Also, the man is just really attractive…I dare anyone to disagree after watching this episode.
Favorite Moment The final scene between Nick and Jess demonstrated what New Girl does better than any show on TV: mixing the broadly comedic with the genuinely emotional. Everything about that scene felt true to the characters and their relationship as we’ve seen it develop. There was something so deliciously exciting about watching the two of them playfully argue about Jess being a gold-digger as she stepped closer to Nick, and I actually held my breath when Nick told her to prove that she wasn’t. (Like I said, I’m finding Jake Johnson incredibly attractive right now.) And I loved that what followed was like a powder keg of sexual tension exploding. It was messy, it was full of arguing over random annoyances (Nick’s anger over Jess’s shorts was my favorite), and it was the only way a scene like that between Nick and Jess should be at this point. New Girl is special because it manages to find moments of realism amid comedy, and that’s exactly what happened in this scene. The comedy that was there was perfect, and the realism was…Well there’s no other word to describe it except HOT. I can’t be the only girl who finally understood what it means to swoon when Nick told Jess to take off her damn clothes (His voice!) and when he kissed her “like a man” (Now that is a “damn fairytale” kiss, Nick Miller.) I don’t know how this show has been able to hit every beat between Nick and Jess in a way that is both creative and simply right for the show and the characters. But they’re doing it. And I can’t wait to see where it leads.
A New Girl GIF* For My New Girl Feelings
I agree, Jess. Everything about this episode worked: the jokes, the friendships, the tension, and the payoff. But the thing that worked most of all is Jake Johnson. Who would have thought that Nick Miller would be known as the best kisser and one of the most swoon-worthy characters on TV back when this show started? Things have certainly changed…and it’s definitely a change for the better.
*I have no talent for GIF-making. Thankfully, I am highly skilled at searching Tumblr for the best GIFs. I take no credit for this beauty.
I love the way they are handling Nick and Jess’s relationship. The kissing/fighting at the end was so perfectly them.
I completely agree that this was Nick Miller’s week to shine. He was so excited about simple things like laundry and taking vitamins and it was the best sort of character development we could have gotten from him.
I love the character development happening with Nick. He’s grown so much this season, and that’s one of the things I’m happiest about in terms of the Nick/Jess relationship. It’s allowing these characters to grow in organic ways, and that growth is being handled with such care.
I love your review. I think Jake Johnson is a phenomenal actor. I’m HOPING he’ll get Emmy and Golden Globe wins for his portrayal because he is such an excellent actor. This episode was one of my favorites. Also, Nick is my favorite character on television. The character is so interesting and fun. He has so many layers to him.
And I’m LOVING the Nick and Jess romance. It’s beautifully acted and written. Best tv couple! I’m amazed by their storyline. Now, New Girl is my favorite show on television. I don’t want to miss a single episode! I think Jake and Zooey have superb chemistry together. It’s so rare to see that on tv these days. Their chemistry is so genuine and realistic. They are perfect together!
Thanks so much for the comment! I completely agree with you about Jake Johnson. I will be incredibly disappointed if his work this season doesn’t at least get him an Emmy/Golden Globe nomination. The little insights into Nick he gives us every week are phenomenal. You’re right; he has so many layers, and I think Johnson plays them all perfectly.
I also agree with you about his chemistry with Zooey Deschanel. Their interactions never feel forced, and their scenes together always feel like they’re coming from a very real place, whether they’re being silly or emotional. That’s such a rare thing to find, and I love that the writers were smart enough to capitalize on it this season.
OK, I didn’t really need an excuse to re-watch this episode AGAIN (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched it) but since I didn’t have the words to comment on this episode when you first posted this, I thought maybe I should watch it again today and try to say something.
When I watched this the first time I was really tense and uncomfortable, anxious about what was going to happen – there was just too much going on! But by the second or third view I was just so amazed at how much there was in here. Some of the elements were silly – yanking the chain, pee on my face and Schmidt in the hospital for a jellyfish sting (that urine thing is really not recommended, except on sitcoms), breaking the aquarium – but I just remind myself that’s how TV comedy works and at least New Girl takes that stuff and makes it the best it can be. The shopping list and the air conditioning and the laundry stuff was hilarious.
The Nick and Jess stuff was SO good, and so HOT! Some of the little details I loved – Jess and the cocktail umbrella (thanks to tumblr for pointing that little gem out!), Nick’s genuine confusion over whether Jess meant what she said when she was drugged, his stunned face when she screamed Yes!, and his smile when he was teasing her after she said she was interested in him (when he realized that yes, this was really going to happen and that he could make her come to him and prove that she wanted him – heart palpitations – omg). The “room-friend” scene was impossible – what was he supposed to say? But that whole thing showed that they are already in a relationship of sorts – that they both already feel that they are attached in some way. I loved the way Nick got in every kiss he could while they were fighting, and I do rather think/hope that we might get to watch long enough to see him pick Jess up again in 2×23 ;). In rewatching old episodes now, I can’t quite look at that dining table in the same way…! As always, I can’t believe this whole thing was tucked into the last 5 minutes of the show and only lasted a couple of minutes.
I’m so glad they let Nick become the guy who has the guts to have this difficult conversation with Jess. I loved that he asked her outright if she wanted him. And who would have thought that “Stupid Nick Miller” had all of this sexy inside of him?! I’m so glad he does though. It’s been really great to watch.
Yay for new comments from you! They always make me smile. Your last paragraph sums up everything I loved about Nick in this episode. He was the one being open and forcing Jess to be honest about what she wanted. He made the first move by asking her and by telling her that he thought a lot about it, too. I never thought he had that in him—just like I never thought he had that level of hotness in him, either! 😉