Us Vs. Zooey: Thank You, LeBron

Zooey Deschanel and Justin Long is this week's episode of FOX's "New Girl."

It’s Christmastime in the apartment of New Girl, and that means Jess got all the boys roller skates. Winston is completely joyous in his (hinting at his childlike spirit that will later come in handy), but Schmidt is unsurprisingly the real pro. “I had figure skating lessons until I was 13 and my mom sobered up and realized I was a boy,” he brags.

Of course, this means that Jess also has to figure out what to get Paul, so she drags all of the boys to the mall to help her out. She has already crafted an elaborate gift card for crazy sex, which she naturally shows Nick. He takes it to cash it in later (Hey! Not-so-subtle foreshadowing!) or to give it to his mom.

In fact, Nick’s mom was all over this episode. She called everyone to make sure that Nick would make his flight for the first time in five years (he didn’t). But we knew that was going to happen, so her constant phoning seemed a little irrelevant. Perhaps we will be meeting Mrs. Miller sometime in the future (and hopefully hearing the poem Winston wrote about her). We would have loved to hear her ask Nick about Jess, as awkwardly revealing who you spend unnatural amounts of time talking about is what moms do best.

Continuing its great pattern of including funny and characterizing subplots about Schmidt and Winston, New Girl, perhaps in a fit of Christmas spirit, gave Schmidt some balls at work and Winston a job he would actually be good at. Frankly, watching Winston bond with someone’s weird kid (“Mommy says he’s a d-bag”) was the best part of this episode.

Back to the point, Paul gets Jess a ridiculously over-the-top gift (that would have actually been perfect for Zooey) and then, in the face of her bizarre and quirky fuzzy heart replica, admits he loves her… “Thank youuuu…”

Jess, being the freaker she is, can’t handle Paul being the one who is really committed in this relationship. She chooses to confide in Nick (act surprised, everyone) and he accidentally spills the beans to Paul, creating the most awkward scenario known to man. Except it was much less awkward than almost every other scene in this show. The three of them end up locked out on the deck of Schmidt’s Office Christmas Party, and in one neat cut, New Girl disposes of Justin Long, who was dragging the show down anyway.

And let’s, just for a moment, celebrate the return of Cece. Hopefully without Justin Long we will see more of her. It seems like a certain fact now that her presence—making the show two women and three men—always makes New Girl stronger. As they all shouted at the inhabitants of Candy Cane Lane in the closing scene, it felt like we really had our cast.

She had another new boyfriend this episode—who didn’t like Jess’s fake mustache Christmas gift (“Kyle is the living worst.”)—but the tension between her and Schmidt is still producing funny lines while remaining believable.

We couldn’t help but notice they used a Zooey Deschanel rendition of whatever that song was to close it out, making us feel once again that Jess and Zooey are just almost the same person. Merry Christmas, everyone.

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