Diving into the Nick/Jess relationship too soon has rapidly become one of the primary concerns of Season 2 with the golden couple finally, sort of, confirming their feelings for one another with that awesome kiss at the end of “Cooler.” While the general consensus is that it’s far too early in the series’ life to fully embrace the inevitable Jess/Nick relationship, the disappointment caused by a complete denial of what happened would be an equally suckass response to the altered dynamic between those two. New Girl survived the morning after with the episode immediately following The Kiss, “Table 34,” and “Parking Spot” finally tackled the one burning question left over from kissy-face-smoochie time: What does Schmidt think?
Schmidt probably wouldn’t have cared nearly as much as he did if Nick’s favor toward Jess—both genuine and obligatory—hadn’t cost him ownership of the parking space set aside for loft tenants that he'd discovered in the garage. Initially, anyway. Honestly, I feel like Schmidt’s situation was one in which “finders keepers” totally and fairly applied, but I’ll forgive the small lapse in logic for the sake of the hilarious resultant parking wars.
With Winston quickly backing out of the battle and Nick not actually owning a (particularly functional) car, the fight came down to Schmidt and Jess, with both of them agreeing that Nick would hold the title of “The Decider.” Schmidt wooed Nick with beer. Jess wooed him with boobs. Nick’s own residual guilt over complicating things by kissing Jess led to him awarding her the spot, only to take it back when he worried himself into a potential sex-for-spaces scandal. He gave it to Schmidt, which reeeeally didn’t help matters, and finally, for the sake of fairness, opted to keep the space for himself and his glorious parking chair. PARKING CHAIR! (It’s a Pittsburgh thing.)
It wasn’t all zany fun, though. Schmidt’s outrage over Jess and Nick’s kiss ran deeper than his anger at losing out on the coveted parking spot—when Jess moved in, all the men (Coach shout-out!) signed the No Nail Oath, which basically stated that they wouldn’t try to bang Jess. Jess was horrified that they would think so low of her, but Nick revealed that the Oath was in place to keep HIM in check, not her. The admission could be read two ways: Either Nick worried that he was such a depraved, sex-crazed animal that he couldn’t be trusted around a female roommate OR, the more probable reason, he’s struggled with his feelings for Jessica from their very first introduction. Jess seems to be buying into that second option, which is great for the continued viability of Jess/Nick, but not so awesome for Schmidt, who was unhappy about the altered dynamic of the roommates... and his lost parking spot... and probably the pee he was sitting in. Don’t let his proud declarations of intentional pants-wetting fool you, he’s gonna be pissed when remembers how much those pants probably cost him.
To even things out, Schmidt insisted on kissing Jess himself, but even he admitted that it didn’t help. It just made things weirder. Jess and Nick’s relationship can’t be reduced to a few lines in a contract or quashed by self-control. There’s no way to “even” things out because a kiss from Schmidt or Winston doesn’t mean the same thing as a kiss from Nick, which was Nick’s entire point in not wanting to kiss Jess while they were drunk and playing a game.
New Girl has been content to let Jess and Nick come around naturally and as a result, the tropes of a will-they-won’t-they sitcom romance that, to me, tend to grow annoying quickly are a delight to watch unfold each week. It’s taken three weeks (four, if we want to be literal and count the State of the Union bye week) just to get the news of the kiss out to every roommate. It’s clear that New Girl intends to move slowly with its development of Ness and for now, that’s proving to be an excellent decision. There’s nothing wrong with slow as long as slow goes hand in hand with both mindful and deliberate, but not careful. Careful is what No Nail Oaths are for, and we saw how well that worked out.
– One-liner of the night: “Destiny might be a lady, but victory has a penis. Direct quote. Scott Caan.” —Schmidt
– I loved Winston’s episode-long quest for a condom. It was silly, but it was just so freaking funny. Poor Cece. Poor Cece’s-prospective-future-husband.
– Speaking of the possible future Mr. Cece, WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO HIM AGAIN, LADY? I thought we were over this arranged marriage thing!
– What do you think the future for the roommates looks like? Are Jess and Nick going to keep fighting it? Is Schmidt over it? Something something Winston?
– I hope Winston’s botched hook-up didn’t ruin things between him and Brenda Song. It’s nice to see him kind of happy. <3