Greg Gayne
Lanford Beard
October 03, 2012 AT 04:30 AM EDT

Who’s the real emotional fluffer here — Nick or Liz Meriwether? With another week of delicious back-and-forth between Nick and Jess, another delay until their ultimate get-together, and yet the first outright admission that the two goofballs are actually into each other, we’re left primed and ready. Only… Jess had Sam for follow-through, Nick had the Digital Underground and shoddy furniture to sublimate all over, and what do we have? Schmidt, I suppose. Can’t we all use a bit of “Tugg time”? In truth, I did enjoy how the writers faced their biggest bogeyman head-on — though I’m not sure they needed to do it in episode 3. (A midseason finale, perhaps?) Then again, if they’re willing to put a moment this bold out there this early in the season, one can only hope that means they have greater plans in store for the next 21 episodes than we could ever imagine. Considering the way the show continually gained momentum in season 1, it wouldn’t be out of the question. Agree or disagree, Newbies? 

The axis of this week’s action, so to speak, was Jess’s discomfort about her booty call situation with Sam. Ever the generous roommate, Schmidt volunteered all the guys to serve as a pre-booty call date to get Jess in the mood. Of course Nick balked at the idea of a non-sexual group date with his roommates, claiming he was at “a crucial point” in writing his zombie novel. (Z Is for Zombie, in case you’ve forgotten since last week.) Schmidt wouldn’t take no for an answer. Why? Because “friends help friends have meaningless sex.”

Ironically Schmidt was the first to bail. He was chasing down his to pal around with Kanye West. As he explained, “Friending Kanye is the most efficient way for me to jump social strata. Now all I have to do is meet him and then dazzle him to the point where we’re each other’s last call at night.” The first step: Dress like Yeezy. By which I mean a navy blue belt with pink whales embroidered on it, or, according to Winston, the kind of belt a Romney would wear. After getting Rom-dazzled, Schmidt moved to step 2, getting into a downtown club he’d heard Kanye was going. As insurance, he roped in Winston to prove he could be friends with black people — “even oddly shaped ones.”

Schmidt and Winston’s defection left Nick alone with Jess. Who, by the way, looked smokin’ in a form-fitting red dress. Or as Nick so delicately put it, not “like a loft troll. Great opener, buddy. To her credit, Jess actually embraced “loft troll” as a shtick, and within seconds their chemistry was greater than probably 95 percent of all the other couples on television. Adding to the charm, Jess brought white wine in a thermos. Love. It.

While Jess and Nick got sloppy splitting a $20 bowl of soup and a $2 bottle of wine, Winston revealed he hadn’t had sex with his girlfriend Shelby for three weeks. He had learned to manage the frustration by having mental sex with pretty much every woman within eyeshot. In case you’re wondering, brain copulation translates facially as equal parts intense, bug-eyed stares and fidgety lips. You’d think he was suffering from an aneurysm — or maybe three rounds into Nick’s fruity drinks. Winston snapped out of it when Schmidt couldn’t get into the club. Assuming it was because of the whale belt, Winston turned a positive into a negative the only way he knew how — pretending he was the head of security for “Tugg Romney” (that’d be Schmidt). And so they were in! Even Cece showing up and laughing in his face couldn’t tamp down ol’ Tugg Romney. Security, please escort this lady.

NEXT: Nick — Fluffer? Or nutter?

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