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New Girl S03E02: "Nerd"

After last week's season premiere, we discused New Girl's unique ability to feature standard sitcom stories that have been done a bazillionty times before—like Schmidt's dual dating of Cece and Elizabeth—without being all stale and horrible and un-watchable. That trend continued this week in "Nerd," when Jess ran afoul of a cliche workplace clique, Schmidt continued to date both Elizabeth and Cece, and Winston contemplated the best way to kill a cat. 

Okay, so Winston's story was actually pretty unique, all things considered. I mean, let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that a third of this week's episode was dedicated to watching a protagonist try to kill a cheating girlfriend's pet. It doesn't matter that in the end, Winston decided to let Ferguson live—like we (mostly) figured he would. The intent was there. Winston's kinda creepy and it's awesome. 


The strength of "Nerd" lies in its diversity. All of our loft-mates were given fairly equal attention, even Winston's weird feline-homicide plot had a much more nuanced point at it's core. After tip-toeing around their relationship status since the middle of last season, Winston decided to ask Daisy to make things official... only to learn that she was sleeping with someone else. Ouch, boo. 

Meanwhile, Jess and Nick's storyline managed to feel rather vintage New Girl by walking the line between being a Nick-and-Jess story and being a Nick/Jess story (and it did so very well, I might add!). Jess's struggle to fit in with the cool teachers at her new school and Nick's semi-disastrous attempts to be her coolness guru could've easily been a Season 2 story. The romantic aspect of their relationship wasn't essential to the story—which, for those of us who might be a little nervous about the potentially premature launch of the good ship Nessy, is a very good thing. As characters, Jess and Nick are still full of potential stories that don't hinge on their relationship insecurities or swapping cooties in the backseat of the car. Nick didn't try to help Jess because she's his girlfriend, but rather because she's his friend. He cares about her—but these two characters cared about each other long before New Girl's writers went and made them an official "thing." 


While it was certainly refreshing to see Jess be insecure about something completely unrelated to Nick, deep down in my Grinch heart I feel that we've had so many variations of the "Jess doesn't fit in" story that it was a little bit hard to get excited about yet another adventure in self-acceptance—even with a cameo from a Paula Cole-loving, jacuz-hoarding Curtis Armstrong. With that in mind, I'm willing to argue that Jess vs. the Popular Clique wasn't really about Jess fitting in as much as it was about the writers reassuring us that even though they're a couple now, Nick and Jess are still individuals, and even though we've had a lot—a lot—of Nessy action in the last few episodes (if we're looking at the last few episodes of Season 2 in addition to last week's premiere), New Girl isn't about to switch to an all-Nessy-all-the-time format. 


Finally, we have Schmidt (and Schmidt's nipples). I said it last week and I'll say it again: I should hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. We should all hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. But I don't, and based on your comments last week, many of you don't either. I loathe love triangles. Loathe them. I didn't like the one that happened on Suits and I didn't like the one that happened on Being Human and don't even get me started on Glee (all that one's more like a love hexagon at this point). And yet, when Schmidt's super-evil co-worker (IT'S JUST AN OFFICE, CRAZYPANTSmade it her primary objective to force Schmidt to choose between Cece and Elizabeth under the worst possible circumstances at the worst time—and with, undoubtedly, the worst possible outcome in mind—I crossed my fingers and toes and actively hoped that everything would be okay-ish and we'd get to watch Schmidtty continue his charade for at least one more week. IDK. THIS IS WHAT NEW GIRL DOES TO ME. Does it do the same thing to you? Wanna join my support group? BYOB, and by B I mean hard liquor. And speaking of Bs—hey look it's the other kind of B (in Apt. 23): Hi, Dreama Walker!


Even though I personally loved last week's premiere, I understand that it was kind of hit-or-miss for some of the New Girl faithful. I think we can all agree that "Nerd" represented a fine return to form though, yes? Maybe? What'd you think of the episode? 



NOTES FROM THE DOUCHEBAG JAR

– Line o' the night, "Schools are for fools! Sometimes firemen are women!" —Drunk Jess. <3 her.

– Also rounding out the solid guest-star roster this week was Angela Kinsey from The Office.

– I caught a few glimpses of secretly-responsible-Nick in his struggle to juggle Jess's dilemma and make sure Winston didn't actually murder Daisy's cat. I like. Also, I know Margo Martindale is like, super busy right now, probably, but I wouldn't mind a return to Chicago to chill with Mama Miller and the fam at some point this season. What do you say? 

– "I Believe I Can Fly." That was beautiful, guys. 

– Was Winston right to steal Ferguson? "I got yer cat!"

– Do you have a hard time accepting Zooey Deschanel/Jessica Day as the epitome of unpopular? 

– How much longer can Schmidt maintain the delicate Cece/Elizabeth balance?

– Did you think that Elizabeth and Cece were kind of dense at the dinner party? I mean, c'mon ladies. 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/10/2016

Season 5 : Episode 22

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I loved that slow-mo flashback of Jess trying to befriend the “mean” teachers that was so great, and it was hilarious that they used "Bouncin' Back" by Mystikal in the background, too
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Who else reckons it was Coach in the shower then? Great ep though!
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Loved it as always! Quick question... was it Kevin McHale singing in the high school flash back? I could have sworn it was! But no mention of it anywhere so... *shrug* :)
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Sorry, gotta disagree. I hate the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline. I hope it ends very, very quickly. And man, do I hope it actually ends in a surprising and interesting way.
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I agree with you here, and I also think that Schmidt and Cece's relationship and their potential at the beginning of the show is now ruined. The writers probably think that the show needs two people that SHOULD be together, but they're never able to, for various (sometimes stupid) reasons. They're kind of like the Chuck and Blair of New Girl, but let's be honest, Chuck and Blair's relationship yelled "stupid" shortly after season 1. I liked the idea when the show first started but now I'm just bored whenever I see a scene involving them... And Elizabeth... well, I like the character, I like the actress, but I'm feeling like she too lost her charm because of this stupid Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth storyline.
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Decent episode but could have been better, i am just glad Winston is getting good storyline this season & he is nailing it so far, the Nick/Jess relationship is good for few episodes as a long haul will ruin the show.
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Man, I am late to the party this week. Damn Premiere Week. Winston's cat-killing tactics were hilarious and wonderful. Ferguson batting the cat noose around had to be my favorite part, although the "I Believe I Can Fly" bit was a close second.

I agree that we could have seen this storyline in any season and we still would have had Nick show up to save Jess (especially since he gave her the crappy advice to begin with). I like that we see the relationship but it doesn't feel like that is all that we're focusing on.

As much as I love CeCe and Elizabeth I just want this to hurry up and blow up in Schmidt's face already. I'm over it at this point.

Now is Ferguson not the cutest ugly-cat you've ever seen? How can you not love this face:

(Image credit: Fox)
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Definitely found the season opener a bit underwhelming but loved this episode which had some really good laugh out loud moments. Like others I found the cat/nipple bit creepy and hilarious at the same time
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Schmidt is getting dumped next week - CeCe definitely was suspicious...
I hope Ferguson stays... Adorable cat... well except when interested in Schmidt's nipples... funny but yuk...Winston & Ferguson rock...
Nick & Jess were adorable but not corny - check that!!!
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Poor Winston...another break up for him...how many is this, since the series started.....but now at least he has a cat...laughed so hard, while he was deciding how to kill the cat....he is awesome

Schmidt... schmidt...it was a close call this week...wonder how long he will be able to keep up appearance...

This episode i loved Jess and Nick..they were their oldselfs again...with all their weirdness, but still a bit more stable Nick...was lovely to see...
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The writers are not a fan of Winston when it comes to women. Schimdt and Nick are always getting hot girls all the time and its always them messing it up. Winston gets a sexless relationship and a girl cheating on him practically in his face. Poor winston, hope the writers give him a win with the ladies
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Lol I didn't know that you can "thumbs up" a comment more than once. I just wanted to remove mine, because I don't exactly agree with you. I'm such a mess.
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I think they want to balance the show, with Winston being the guy who never gets any, Schmidt the guy who likes a girl (two, actually) and never gets to have a real relationship and Nick the lucky one, who found someone good for him. If all of them had girlfriends we would probably get bored really soon.
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Its and it's are two different words. Learn the difference.
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I just want to say this: 1. As a TV fan and avid watching, Cece and Elizabeth might have been a bit dense at the party there, though the lame excuses/ploys in this instance were actually a cut above the usual sit-com lame tropes. 2. As a man in the real world, I honestly and freely admit that my knowledge of women and their behaviours, actions, and whatnots are about 3000 lightyears beyond my understanding, so I don't know. But still a well done episode altogether. "I Believe I Can Fly" was priceless. Also, the Schmidt/cat flashback was done so perfectly.
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The weakness in this show is the over the top annoyness of Jess. She makes me cringe. If the show evolved around her, it would be so lame. However, as you said, the show works best as an assemble. I, too, loathe triangles, but I was glad that Schmidt didn't get busted. The reason we feel for him in this particular triangle is we like both girls, too, so how can we blame him for not picking? And he is so fun!
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I'm pretty sure I'm gonna start using Sig Ots as a term, now.
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I only have fifteen and a halfie.
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I love love love this show but I hate the love triangle. I do not like Elizabeth and I really thought that whole situation would be wrapped up by now. Everyone knows those "juggling two girl" scenarios never work out well and he will just end up losing both of them. It's so played out.
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was very underwhelmed by last week's premiere, but this has suitably atoned. Brilliant episode.
I believe I can fly was incredible.
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There is one excellent love love-triangle in television that I can think of: Olivia-Peter-Altlivia
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No picture of a cat licking Schmidt's nipple? Let me help you:

I imagine it must have been hilarious to film the two scenes where the cats licked him. I'm sure the crew had a really tough time trying not to laugh when they stood around watching Max squirm under the cats. I wonder what they did to make the cats lick him. His nipple is like catnip(ple) to the cat.
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That's beautiful, man. Catnip(ples)!
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It was funny and it made me laugh. Which is good enough for me.

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I LOVE the way they handle the Nick and Jess storyline. How they stay true to them as individuals and yet have them be all happy and "all in". Really well done...particularly if you consider how many shows chicken out and just don't deliver when they put their OTP together.
Really enjoying this!!
The Schmidt storyline with Cece/Elizabeth? Not so much...personally, I don't believe that you can truly love two people and I feel like whatever Schmidt and Cece had will be ruined by the time this triangle is resolved. Plus, it's really douchy of Schmidt. Stringing them both along for too long.
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So far I really like it but I hope they don't drag on Schmidt's storyline. I really enjoy how they aren't making it just a relationship between jess and nick like the friendship is still there so far season three is pretty swell and winston is getting more screentime
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I LOVED the entire conversation in the elevator!
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I really like the way that the Winston character is evolving. I wasn't really sure how he fit in during season one. I loved the fact that one possible weapons of choice for Ferguson's demise were Ninja stars. Awesome!

I also thought the banter between Nick and his co-worker was a highlight of the episode. And, wow, she is like, Allison Janney tall!
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Winston holding the cat noose and the cat just batting at it was the best joke of the week.
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So twisted. So awesome.
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Loved this episode! As much as I love Nick and Jess, I'm glad to see that not every episode is going to be about their relationship (But I did think the scenes where Nick came to her rescue were adorable). I was glad to see Winston get a good storyline this week (the puzzle thing last week didn't give him much to do), and I'm sad to see Daisy go, but it was good to see Winston finally stand up for himself. I hope Winston gets more to do this season. And the Schmidt/Cece/Elizabeth conundrum was funny, but I'm hoping it will be resolved by next week. Is anyone else 100% Schmidt/Cece Forever, like I am? Overall, another great episode. "New Girl" delivers every week, and I can't wait to see where it goes this season!
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I think Cece and Elizabeth are really full of themselves like "Schimdt you made the rigth call" so that´s the way I explain how dense they are xD
I love Winston he is so awesome creepy, and I'm so glad he isn't a cat killer, don't get me wrong I don't love cats but that cat was f***ing cute.
Yeah I know Jess is the weird woman, the nerd and blahblah but come on the woman is gorgeous and funny are we really supposed to believe that she can't make friends?
The whole Schmidt's nipple thing was really weird and kinda disturbing... thanks New Girl I laughed while watching something I don't want to admit.
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Sorry, I sign off on New Girl this season. I watched the 1st ep. and couldn't finish it. I wholly believe that when the "will they, wont they?" TV cliche is traded in to the 'shippers' it leads to comedy death. The show is called "New Girl". Now Jess is just someone's wacky girlfriend. Why is it necessary to develop her character through proximity of dude. I love Nick Miller's character, but he is funniest at his lowest. Getting laid on the reg, and getting Jess as a companion holds no meat for his character. Look forward to boring "Oh no, what do i get Jess for her birthday?", and "Uh oh, Nick's ex is in town, how will Jess feel?" storylines. Think about this, how cool would it have been if Jess shacked up with Winston? Kinda outta left field, but way more comedy potential. Yet the writers went safe, guaranteeing this show slips into mediocrity. Look forward to the "TV Event" of 2014 Its a Jess and Nick wedding special! uuggh
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"Look forward to the "TV Event" of 2014 Its a Jess and Nick wedding special!"

NO!

I'm definitely concerned about what Jess/Nick means for the show in the long run. "Will they, won't they" is one of my TV pet peeves, so, personally, I'm kind of okay with them just diving in sooner BUT I don't want the sucky storylines you mentioned either, so I'm worried. Ugh, indeed.
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Jim and Pam. Perfect example. How AMAZINGLY boring was that couple (show) after they hooked up. On dramas, once a person has their goals completed, they have a target on their head, their death is imminent (breaking bad) . On a comedy once somebody gets what they want, you get a shitty wedding episode (parks and rec) and straaaaaained scenarios to cause 'humorous' confrontations. It's straight outta the tv sit-com writing handbook...........,,,,from 1986.
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True, but Parks and Rec is still going strong after having successfully survived two 'ships (Andy/April and Leslie/Ben), so it's not *impossible* for a comedy to still be funny after somebody gets what they want.

I'll admit the percentages aren't in New Girl's favour, and if Nick/Jess do stay together, we're probably going to get that cliche wedding episode.

Personally, I'd rather have that with the hope the writers can keep it fresh and original, than the Ross/Rachel cycle of makeup/breakup banality. Doomed or not, they've set Nessy up soulmate/endgame style, so if they DO breakup, I'm gonna facepalm so hard.
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I know I'll catch a lot of flack for this, but i find P&R pretty damn boring these days. Give me a Donna spin off, or 20 min of "Ya Heard", and Joan Callamezzo's show any day over the domestic/workplace "hi-jinks' in the Pawnee P&R dept. I just like it weirder. The show's growing toothless, soft and saccharine, more so each season. Not everything can as amazing as "the heart, she holler" I guess.
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About the Schmidt storyline: I hate it not because of the triangle itself, but because I thought he was really better than this.
The dinner party scene was fun, but I doubt that in the real world a girl could keep up the fantasy in front of her boyfriend's ex...
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Look, technically yes both ladies came off as dense in the dinner party but that's not at all what I took out of it. To me that scene was brilliant for how it managed to subvert a classic trope so unexpectedly.

That story line is obviously building towards a forced confrontation and it really seemed like it would happen this time, it couldn't have seemed more inevitable. But then a really unexpected twist. Really unexpected. I was as shocked as Schmidt and evil office lady (I'd look up her name but I haven't). Maybe the reason it was so unexpected was because we'd come to think better of these characters than to fall for something like this. My point is this didn't strike me as the ladies coming off as dense because the writers were being lazy, I think they were in a very self-aware way mocking a classic TV cliche.

I also got the same vibe from the elevator scene. Seemed like they were just playing it for gags but it worked well. It also reminded me alot of Community, the good Community. (Season Two, Ep 10, Mixology Certification was the precise scene I thought of while I was watching New Girl)
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New team member: Ferguson! Daisy is out.

Winston's hidden craziness is so hilarious. He should have pretended to kill the cat by buying one of those stuffy animals then poured fake blood over it and such and left it in Daisy's apartment.

Jess and Nick are good teammates but their relationship is superfluos and unnecessary to the show. Nick's multi-task challenge to stop Winston's cat murder career to kick off and Jess to make fool of herself which kind of her unpaid job was great, Nick is such a fun character to watch during stressful times because he always makes things worse in a weird way or just moonwalk backwards like a cool guy he really is.

Schmidt's nipple story was so awesome! The look of Winston's face when he heard it. Priceless. I also loved the idea that Schmidth was very surprised of his hidden skills to date two women at the same time, in the same room! I hope that continues with more awkwardness, his colleague made it more of a challenge too. As for the girls I don't know about Elizabeth, she acted like she genuinly didn't understand the situation but Cece, on a good day, would likely do it but she was emotional after that bad job she had (why is she still a model? She seems to hate her job..like everybody else so why am I asking..)

The believe I can fly moment was not my favourite, I don't like the song and they should have just screamed their asses off with surprising way of doing it, had been a much better scene.
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Ouch..I can´t help it but scenes with cats and nipples were so unbelievable disgusting and creepy..
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I couldn't agree more with your comments about Nessy in this episode MaryAnn. Jess and Nick's 'romantic aspect of their relationship wasn't essential to the story—which, for those of us who might be a little nervous about the potentially premature launch of the good ship Nessy, is a very good thing. As characters, Jess and Nick are still full of potential stories that don't hinge on their relationship insecurities or swapping cooties in the backseat of the car.'

You raise an interesting argument that 'Jess vs. the Popular Clique wasn't really about Jess fitting in as much as it was about the writers reassuring us that even though they're a couple now, Nick and Jess are still individuals.' I'd argue otherwise. Jess is such a sweet character and watching her be desperate to fit in with her co-workers that so obviously don't fit with the type of person she is, or would even like, was unsettling but completely realistic. I loved how Nick was the voice of reason in all this - he knows who Jess is and is completely in love with her, so his attempts to ensure she didn't compromise her own personality for something as superficial as popularity definitely made for good watching.

I didn't enjoy the rest of the episode so much... I wouldn't say I hat the Schmidt love triangle storyline - I just want it to be over with ASAP. As with last week, Winston was just too crazy for me to enjoy (although Ferguson was cute). That being said, his breaking up with Daisy was a very important character moment that I never thought I'd see from Winston. His line, 'I wanted this to be a thing, but I deserve better', felt like to me something Lamorne Morris should be saying to the New Girl writers on the development of his character. And perhaps they've listened, if this short but sweet scene was anything to go by.
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I legitimately hope Ferguson becomes a permanent fixture in the loft. The potential for Winston hilariousness is endless!
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It would be interesting, but they say animals are just too much of a pain to constantly have on a television show because of their diificulty to work with. I wonder if they'll make an exception?
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But they have Bear on Person of Interest. And in Veronica Mars, she used her actual dog. Who's to say letting a cat run around wouldn't be a horrible idea?
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Dense. Yes.
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I don't know why, I just get the feeling sometime that Winston and Dexter would have been best of friends!?
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more likely with Masuka
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I think the fact that Schmidt himself can't believe this is working makes the triangle so fun to watch. He is not confident his 'plan' will work and he's afraid it will blow up in his face. He has good intentions, which makes this unique and I truely believe that he can't choose. I really, really like how this is handled. Also, I love Merritt Wever, please don't let her go away.
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I'm pretty sure the New Girl writers purposely take old, washed up tv tropes and sit in a circle and go "now, how can we put this in the show, but with a twist!" and don't leave the room they're in until they've figured out the answer. Like jury duty.
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This episode was one of the most hilarious in my book! But, no come on now seriously. Schmidt's nipples attracts cats!? ROFL! WHO WRITE THIS STUFF!?!?
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Loved the look on Schmidt and evil co workers face at the end there: "How the hell did that just happen?"
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I would like to join the support group
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We need a catchy name! And cookies.
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"A cat for a cat."
"What's the other cat?"
"My heart."

Winston's over-the-top-ness (he has characteristics now!) made me laugh out loud, which happens so rarely.
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Ah, Nick and Jess were both great in this one. The final scene where they kissed, Nick telling Jess he would have noticed her, and Jess calling Nick her "old man" just warmed my heart. Did not care for anyone or anything else much, but an overall improvement over the premiere.
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Brenda Song appeared on two shows on Fox tonight. Did they just write her out of New Girl so she could appear full-time on Dads? Hoo boy.
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Oh my goodness!! Nick is the only roommate with any sense now?! I sat through most of the episode with hands on my face, chin on the floor, eyes wide open. This episode was definitely one of the crazier ones.
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I would kill that cat too, its ugly.
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noooo! hella cute :)))
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"I'm gonna kill her cat."
"I got ya cat!"

LMAO!!!!

Winston OWNS my heart................that is all.
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Poll

Winston being crazy again was great
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We would definitely have remembered Schmidt's cat story.
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Season 3 is on the right path, loved it.
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The Cat Noose was funny as Hell, I loved it.
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