Greg Gayne/Fox
Lanford Beard
January 16, 2013 AT 05:48 AM EST

Nickels. That’s the nickname given to Nick by his father Walt (Dennis Farina), who paid a visit last night. Well… Nickels and “Little Penis” (more on that later). It turns out that Nick’s dad is better than Nick at a lot of things — charming the pants off of people (sometimes even himself), feely cup, growing a luxurious mustache, and swindling Winston. But what Nick lacks in suave, he makes up for by not being a damn con man. And so we begin the tale of the demoralization of Nick Miller by the coward Walt Miller…

Nick began the episode blindfolded so as to enhance the surprise of his father’s arrival. Also, because he was playing a game of feely cup, in which you reach blindly into a cup and guess what’s inside based on touch. Nick is apparently terrible at this game. (Related note: Am I old? Is this a thing now? And, if so, whyyyy?) The only highlight of this time-killer scene was watching Nick’s anguished expression as he guessed everything from “fingerling potato” to “battery.” And all the time it was something so obvious: A tampon wrapped in duct tape and dipped in baking powder. Gah!

Long story short, Nick kind of hates his dad for reasons including a general lack of moral fiber and chronic unpredictability. But Winston never had a dad, so he clung to Walt (grower of a mustache “like the world’s sexiest pushbroom”) like baking powder to a duct tape-wrapped tampon. When Schmidt informed Jess that Walt was a con man (not a “business man” as Winston claimed), she switched over to her foreplay voice and riff on The Music Man (a riff, I’ll note, that inspired an adorable giggle from Schmidt). As we know, anything that gives Jess and excuse for her old-timey voice finds a home in her heart.

Another defining characteristic of Jess? She’s ultra-gullible. The ep featured an ongoing thread in which Walt duped Jess with lies ranging from amateur (“Hey, what’s that?!”) to semi-pro (tricking her into buying a racehorse “for Nick”). Even Nick got in on the action briefly, fibbing that his real name was Jamil. Of course Jess fell for it because, let’s face it, Jess would probably try to nurse back to life a bee that stung her in the gigantic eyeball. She’s just that unwilling to see bad in this world. And I have to tell you, I gave much thought to whether this plot line was too over-the-top to be believable. I’ve concluded that it was not (just barely). It’s not that Jess is stupid, per se, but she’s just so… Jess-y. It’s her greatest gift and her greatest burden — drawn from the very aspect of Zooey Deschanel’s own person that people find most polarizing. But I digress…

NEXT: The origins of Little Penis

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