'New Girl' Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: The Trouble With Dumplings

Last night's New Girl was a lesson in how passion can get really, really annoying. 

Both Coach and Jess are on missions — Jess to save the Earth, and Coach to save Nick … from himself.

It begins with Nick eating copious amounts of Chinese takeout for breakfast. Jess is all set to have doubts about his eating habits, but he quickly reminds her that, as she is now his girlfriend, she has to like everything he does. Bless his heart, he really doesn't get how relationships work, does he?

Lucky for Nick, Jess is too busy worrying about how she's going to kick off a conservation day field trip at school. She's even wearing a shirt reading "OCD Rules!" That's "Ocean Conservation Day," by the way.

 

Sadly, OCD is shot down by Principal Curtis Armstrong despite the fact that Jess's students apparently have no idea what the ocean looks like. I'm sorry, aren't children today required to have mastered Googling as well as potty training before they are admitted to school these days? I've had toddlers school me in using an iPhone. I can't buy that a middle schooler thinks a drawing of a flying bagel or a blue square represents the ocean.

When an adorable student in a hot dog hat tries to console Jess, she steps back. "Um, legally, you're not allowed to touch me," she tells the kid. Clearly, she is working under a different legal system than the dude on Glee.

As Jess is fighting for conservation, Nick is fighting with chopsticks. He just can't seem to keep his damn dumpling in between the sticks. And no, that is not a euphemism. Coach lets his friend know he's at risk for gaining the Boyfriend 15 and offers to train him. I'm sure there are plenty of viewers out there who appreciated that a guy was being told to watch his figure for a girl, because that's what feminism is, folks: It's taking things that we women don't like having done to us and applauding when those same things are done to men.

Winston is eager to get in on the action as well, but has hurt his foot. "Typical Winston," Coach muses. "Too injured to play."

Despite having moved out, Schmidt is still underfoot, hanging around the loft on a "PD" (that's "personal day." This was an acronym-heavy evening for "N.G.").  He returns his key as a symbol of his separation, but continues to come and go, even attempting to install an alarm clock with a poorly hidden camera in the apartment. Oh, and how thin are the walls in this building? When Nick and Coach are dancing to get workout pumped (or whatever reason straight dudes have for dancing with each other in the middle of the afternoon), the music is loud and clear in Schmidt's apartment, and he's grooving right along.

Jess, however, is not grooving. She takes issue with the Chinese delivery menus that keep getting slid under their door. She goes to return them to the restaurant and meets cute, compassionate waiter who flirts with her and thanks her for speaking up in defense of the environment. And … cue the clenching from Nick/Jess lovers across the world.

 

But never fear, friends. Compassionate waiter guy is soon revealed as maniacal restaurant owner who doesn't care about the environment (gasp!), he only cares about his business. She tries to smack some sense into him (figuratively) by smacking the crap out of his van (literally), as Coach smacks the dumplings out of Nick's chopsticks (again, literally, and again, not a euphemism, but I'm now determined to get "smacked his dumplings" into the cultural lexicon. Submit definitions here.)

Nick tricks Cece into bringing him Chinese food and Coach tries to flirt. Note to all men, everywhere: Do not flirt by doing squats. Ever. Under any circumstance. Squats are not sexy. 

Winston, rolling himself around in a wheelchair he fished out of a ditch, gets lockjaw from MSG, and instead of taking him to a hospital (crazy idea!), Jess wheels Winnie and his janky chair to the restaurant to deter customers. Instead, she ends up driving the menu guy right out of his job. Oops.

 

As Jess is realizing she might have gone a bit too far in her quest to be an Earth Warrior (leotard and cape not included), Coach admits his determination to whip Nick into shape was about making sure he was still himself, still "Coach," since getting dumped by his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Schmidt has a coffee date with Outside Dave and admits he feels left out of the loft goings-on. 

"They don't miss you," Outside Dave informs Schmidt. "He told me."

"He," in this scenario, is an action figure, and I suddenly know how the series should end: The roommates move out of the loft, and Outside Dave gets a spinoff. Make a note, Fox. Brilliant as that would be, however, let's hope it doesn't come for some time, because we still have plenty of adventures with our favorite loftmates ahead.

Jess and Coach are both drowning their sorrows in Chinese food, so it's up to Nick — the self-admitted "dumplinger" —  to lift the spirits of his "do-er" roommates with a motivational speech.

And … it works. With Nick's help, Jess wrangles use of the Chinese food van (job for menu guy!) and takes the kids to see the Pacific Ocean. "You made a difference," she says to Nick. "How's it feel?" He says it feels good … and then the little kid with the hot dog hat asks if he's Jess's father.

But it's okay. Nick still feels good. Like running, even. And off he goes, kind of a cross between a baby buffalo and Phoebe Buffay. The kids try to bury Winston, Schmidt tries to shoo the children away (yes, he actually yells "shoo, children"), and Jess takes it all in.


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Holly Leber

Writer, editor, aspiring professional sassafras.

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