by Clio McConnell
Ah, Thanksgiving. Whenever this time of year rolls around, we get to enjoy delicious food, football, and particularly funny episodes of our favorite shows. It appears that this year is no exception, at least in that final category.
“New Girl’s,” creatively titled “Thanksgiving” brought a lot of extra sexual tension to the show, mostly thanks to the arrival of Justin Long as Jess’ new love interest. Paul (Long) is a teacher alongside Jess, and they hit it off backstage at their school’s Thanksgiving theater extravaganza. At the time, Paul was dressed as a gourd, and Jess as a turkey. Apparently, they’re two peas in an awkward pod—much to Jess’ roommates’ chagrin.
When Paul tells Jess he has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving this year, the infatuated young woman magnanimously invites him over to her apartment for the big day, where Nick, Schmidt, and Winston are gearing up for their “Dudesgiving” – a day of beer, football, and absolutely no cooking. When Jess tells the boys that she’s planning to make a feast, they all immediately shoot her down, insisting that they just want to sit in front of the TV and then go to Best Buy for Black Friday (“or, as I like to call it,” Winston remarks, ”‘Friday’”).
Jess plays the ‘model best friend’ card, however, and Schmidt is easily convinced to cook the whole meal as long as Cece will be in attendance. The usual turkey troubles used in comedy – it’s still frozen and too big for the oven, as they try to throw it in the dryer to thaw it out – ensue. Paul arrives in time to discover that this Thanksgiving is not shaping up too well. The roomies all do their share of testing Jess’ new flame, just in case he’s not “cool enough” to be hanging around their apartment in the future. Nick, in particular, is quite anti-Paul, and just generally anti-social during the episode.
Despite Nick’s attitude dragging things down a bit in “Thanksgiving,” there are plenty of laughs to be had, with Justin Long’s character only adding to the fun. His similarity to Jess, quirk-wise, is uncanny, and when they start to sing a made-up duet, one can’t help but smile.
Also, it turns out that Schmidt is a bit of a chef de cuisine (and a germophobe), so he insists on being the only one touching the food. What with his expertise of trussing string and tarragon, his precious ‘cardi’ sweater, and his intimate knowledge of Prince videos, it seems like only a matter of time before he figures out that he’s gay, despite the show’s insistence on pairing him with Cece.
That pairing might complicate things further, as they seem to be creating a budding romance between Schmidt and Cece. When he yells at her while cooking, the model gets a bit hot and bothered, confiding to Jess, “He’s got this rage inside of him, this fury, and I just love it!”
Overall, though not quite up to the hilarious standards of last week’s episode, “New Girl” continues to improve charmingly into the holiday season.