SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the post-Big Game episode, do not read on, Newbies. If you have and want to discuss how Prince(!) paved the purple-licious path for a major moment between Jess and Nick, click through.
I will not spend any time talking about the guys’ extensive opening conversation about panties or the ladies’ ridiculous “We’re going to a party at Prince’s house!” geek-dancing (even though they both showcased everyone’s improv-ving skill). Those moments were instantly overshadowed once Nick, who was sending Jess off to the party, blurted out, “I love you.” Nary a split-second had passed before a look of abject terror settled on his face. Other than a jut of the chin and a slight raise of the eyebrows, he was frozen. Jess’s response? Finger guns! Witness:
En route to Prince’s manse, Jess was similarly awash in panic (later groaning, “If the limo hadn’t pulled away, I probably would have done a lasso!”) – and, if Cece would have her way, she’d also soon be awash in champagne.
The guys had much the same instinct, and they headed to Nick’s bar to talk about the bomb Ol’ Turtle Face had just dropped. Nick admitted he meant what he said and did love Jess, but he’d hoped to tell her in a more appropriate/romantic context. Winston could relate since he’d done a lot of sneak-attack ”I LOVE YOU” shrieks in his day – much to the detriment of at least one of his surprised girlfriends, who looked like she needed the Heimlich maneuver afterward. (Speaking of flashbacks, there was one of superfan Nick in full Prince regalia, singing “1999” – poorly, it goes without saying – and high kicking to punctuate the chorus while Winny the Bish provided backup on the keytar. YES.)
After talking to his buddies, Nick’s vague sense of regret turned into a full-on freak-out, prompting Schmidt to suggest Nick “fix” the situation by crashing Prince’s party and taking his “I love you” back. So, like the fools they are, the guys rolled up to Prince’s house. Fun fact: When I spoke to Jake Johnson earlier this week, he gave me inside intel that Prince’s people actually walked through the set and approved all the décor so it would befit The Purple One’s aesthetic. Yes, Newbies, what you saw on Super Bowl Sunday was entirely Prince-approved.
Once there, Nick & Co. faced a major road block: They weren’t invited. Winston and Coach apparently had a scheme in college called “Fire and Ice” (it even came with its own pump-up ritual and victory dance!). The gist was they pretended to be old friends who may or may not have been military vets who lost one of their buddies after the war. The pièce de résistance? Coach saying, “What a great night. I hope nothing ruins it,” then looking pointedly at the bouncer. The bouncer was sufficiently inspired, so in “Ernie” and “Winston L. Bishop” went.
Nick and Schmidt decided they needed their own “Fire and Ice.” Nick yelled, “Ham and Cheese!” and made a beeline for the door – even though he and Schmidt hadn’t settled on a story line or rehearsed. Nick followed Winston and Coach’s first play, pretending to recognize Schmidt, but he took a left turn when his riff on back-story was that he and Schmidt was bitter enemies (“The last time I saw him, I was out in the desert, and he was putting my mother into prison”). Naturally “Ham and Cheese” was a disaster, but Nick managed to sneak in by “Trojan Horse”-ing, a.k.a. creeping into a crowd of models unnoticed. Schmidt, unfortunately, was left in the cold.
NEXT PAGE: Prince teaches Jess about love by hook, crook, or makeover montage