Greg Gayne/Fox
Lanford Beard
November 20, 2013 AT 07:12 AM EST

And so we’re back to the drawing board, Newbies. All that hope I had last week now seems slightly too optimistic, no? To put it in thematically appropriate basketball terms, “Longest Night Ever” was an air ball: It felt very much like the writers realized they now have a six-person ensemble and, instead of building on the strength of the group, they did anything possible to split it up. As a result, what could have been a game-winning free throw was instead a whoosh and a whaaaa?

It all began as Jess readied herself for a quiet date night with Nick. Those plans were quickly compromised when Winston had an epiphany that he was a little too attached to Furguson (his exact words were, “Last night when Furguson and I were in the shower”… do I really need to finish that sentence?). Nick reluctantly agreed to watch Furguson — including administering a mere “one butt pill” — about the time Schmidt arrived with a pipin’ hot plate of peach cobbler. He was drowning his sorrows in comfort food after finding out that Coach intended to ask Cece out on a date.

Schmidt insisted he was fine, but Nick knew from experience that Schmidt’s “fine” was far from anyone else’s version of “fine.” Cue a flashback when he told a Fat Schmidt that “there’ll be other open mics with sturdier stools — then we’ll get to see your rap skills…” at which point Schmidt began choking himself as well as he could given his average-size hands and plus-size jowls. Back in the present, Schmidt claimed that the date was “good for Cece, it’s good for Coach, it’s good for America. Who knows? We might even get another Tiger Woods out of this situation. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

To Schmidt’s chagrin, his musings became ever closer to possible when Coach emerged from his room to announced that Cece had accepted his date invite. It wasn’t long before Coach admitted he was nervous and gave Schmidt the bro code-mandated power of veto. Still, Schmidt’s pride prevented him from telling Coach to back out of the date. Instead, he gave him an unlimited stream of passive-aggressive high fives that made me worry about the state of Damon Wayans Jr. and Max Greenfield’s hands after shooting this scene. Feeling like he was all-clear, Coach once again began puffing his chest and bragging how Cece’s “first-class ass is sittin’ in Coach tonight, and you best believe my seat will be in an upright and locked position.” (It’s going to be a happy holiday with all the contributions to the Douchebag Jar we’ll get out of these two!)

Seeing that Schmidt had to be contained (perhaps literally, considering Nick thought aloud, “I wish I had that dog cage… when you see a dog cage for sale, you buy it”), Jess and Nick put their date night on hold. Jess wasn’t too concerned because, as she let slip, “We’ll have date nights when we’re married–” At this, she launched into a stream of Swedish Chef durp-durping to cover up the boyfriend-terrifying M-word. With bigger fish to fry, Nick was more than happy to gloss right over that awkward moment. Thus, he started working on his containment strategy for the evening — ironically, by regretfully telling Schmidt he hadn’t bought that dog cage, which Schmidt apparently thought would solve all his problems, too.  

NEXT: Sparks for Coach and Cece

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