Here’s the paradox of Nick Miller: He’s a crotchety old-young man who pronounces WiFi “wiffy” and keeps his car hidden under a canopy of cardboard boxes, but he’s also the source of some of the most powerful sexual tension on television. Same goes for Jess Day, whose idea of seduction is chewing on Nick’s sweatshirt strings and moaning, “Mmm, crunchy.” These people are total dorks — lovable dorks! but still dorks — yet when you put them together: Ka-boom.
The kiss two weeks ago didn’t douse the sexual tension — it only inflamed it. And even though last time we saw Jess, she was furious with Nick for ruining her relationship (he tried to cheer her up by dancing to Taylor Swift, as you can see here in these Jake Johnson–narrated GIFs), by the start of this episode she’s back to brushing her teeth side by side with him like they’re old friends. (Friends who say things like “You sucked my face.”) It’s like nothing can come between them. Except for a parking spot.
Said parking spot might actually be more dangerous for roommate harmony than anyone sucking anyone else’s face. Schmidt thinks he deserves it because he found it, and because he pays most of the bills. Jess thinks she should have it because she’s sick of chasing Outside Dave off her car in the morning. Winston — okay, we don’t actually get to hear much of Winston’s pro-parking spot argument because he has to run off to have sex with Daisy, his new lady friend.
As for Nick, he gives up with barely a fight (“How do you people care about stuff so much?”), which makes him a swing vote. It also pits Jess against Schmidt, a showdown that could really stand to happen more often on this show. Max Greenfield is just so good at sneering, smirking, and otherwise picking fights using only his face. He’s also a genius at delivering lines like this: “Destiny might be a lady, but victory has a penis. Direct quote, Scott Caan.”
Victory’s penis notwithstanding, Nick chooses Jess. Maybe he’s enticed by her sexy sweatshirt-nibbling; maybe, as he claims, he’s trying to be a gentleman. Either way, Schmidt finally realizes what’s going on, and it turns him into the mom from Carrie: “The stench of filth and lust is all over this room. It smells like frickin’ Tijuana.”
When Winston found out about Nick and Jess, he punched Nick in the crotch. Schmidt’s dismay is a lot more verbal. The words mazel tov have never been delivered with such vitriol. Nick: “Well, I don’t know what mazel tov means, but it doesn’t sound good.”
And as Nick starts to crack under the pressure, all three roommates give up on words entirely. The weird-off by the elevator was almost breathtakingly ridiculous — a scene that literally consisted of nothing but Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel making faces at each other. This is the sort of comedy that goes over great with 2-year-olds, but it still seemed to make sense here, maybe because it felt sort of like a callback to Schmidt’s sneering from earlier.
Obviously, there’s only one way this showdown can end: with a mad dash to the parking spot, and everyone ramming each other with their cars, or, in Nick’s case, their folding chairs. Sitting stubbornly in the spot, refusing to move no matter how much they have to pee (Schmidt) or want a sour ball (Nick), the three are forced to confront what brought them there. As it turns out, when Jess moved in, the guys signed a no-nail oath, which Nick has arguably now violated.
Jess is disgusted, but she eventually admits that, yes, Nick nailed her mouth: “You nailed it good and hard and strong.” And Nick admits, or claims to admit, that the kiss was a bad idea: “That kiss was the dumbest mistake I’ve ever made. Dumber than Caroline, dumber than law school, dumber than when I thought it was pronounced Brock Omabama.”
For the record, here’s the text of the no-nail oath:
“We the undersigned agree never to nail our roommate, Jessica Day, unless the sex can be parlayed into a business that provides for all parties involved. If one of the undersigned nails said female, then all must nail her.”
Under this logic, the solution is clear: Schmidt, who has recently peed in his khakis, has to kiss Jess for things to go back to normal. Spoiler: It doesn’t work. What does work, at least if we’re defining “work” as “make the audience get all shivery,” is when Nick admits that the oath wasn’t for Jess, but for himself. Without an oath, he might not have been able to stop himself. Is this the first time Nick has acknowledged that he’s been interested in Jess from the start? If so, Jess seems genuinely surprised, and definitely touched. The stakes were high enough already, but now they’re just a little higher.
That’s basically where our lovebirds left things last night, so let’s turn briefly to the abbreviated tale of Winston and Daisy. In short: Daisy travels all the time, and Winston works at night, so they don’t have much time to have sex. When Winston arrives at Daisy’s apartment during their brief sex window, he realizes he doesn’t have a condom, so he runs to the drugstore to buy one. But in his haste, he’s put on Daisy’s sweatpants, which (a) say “Yum” on the butt and (b) do not contain his wallet.
Some of Winston’s failed attempts to procure a condom with no money:
1) Making a passionate speech at the drugstore.
2) Showing up at Cece’s apartment, where Shrivang, her date from the True American episode, is explaining that he’s willing to give her another chance, and demanding that Shrivang hand over his condom.
3) Going through Jess’s almost-empty mega box of Tuffskins. “She’s either having crazy amounts of sex, or she does not know how to use these things.”
In the end, Winston’s screwed, or more literally not screwed, because he has no phone and can’t remember what Daisy’s building looks like. As always, Lamorne Morris is great at running around looking harried and yelling at people, but why didn’t this story line give us more Daisy? Or, for that matter, more Shrivang? Both characters are played by actors who come with their own fan bases: Brenda Song was in Scandal (not to mention 88 episodes of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) while Satya Babha played Matthew Patel in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Here’s hoping we’ll see more of them in future episodes.