As we learned in the series opener, Jess doesn’t deal well with break-ups. Only, instead of watching Dirty Dancing 937 times in a row, this time she listened repeatedly to Joni Mitchell’s “River.” Suffice it to say, the roommates had very little sympathy 18 hours of proto-emo later. Or, as Winston put it, “I liked it when you played it for the first time at 10 o’clock last night. I liked it a little bit less at 2 a.m., and now I’m kind of hoping that the sun comes up, thaws that river, and that woman drowns.” Nick and Caroline even made up a clapping and booty-popping dance mocking Jess’s despair. On the bright side, their smug crap finally got Jess off the floor and out of the house.
She went straight to the bar, where Schmidt was the Designated Backslide Blocker, confiscating Jess’s bunny-eared iPhone so she wouldn’t call Russell. Soon enough, he was distracted by Cece, who was in a bulky hoodie and a knit cap – “like a women’s studies major” – so as not to arouse him (more on that later). Jess swiped her phone and snuck off to call her ex. But not the ex you’re thinking. She actually called on the long-lost Paul Gunslinger (Justin Long), or as Schmidt and Winston know him: Mercedes Genz, Genzel Washington, and It’s the Genz of the World As We Know It. Paul brushed off the gentle ribbing and (am I wrong?) kind of got a little racist when he called Winston “Washington.” And so, with a possible slur and an excruciatingly awkward hug, Paul was gone.
Schmidt was also occupying himself by running interference on Nick’s reunion with Caroline. Not very well, mind you. Nick had convinced himself that their timing had simply been off and that he and Caroline could work through the “mental, physical, and emotional abuse” this time. If nothing else, said Nick, “Caroline is way hotter than that voice in my head that sounds like Tom Waits and tells me I’m a failure and that I look bad in hats.” The next day, he even seriously considered moving in with Caroline, who was in the market for a new apartment.
When the guys heard this, they enacted some sort of secret signal that must have been established on a drunken bender. While cuckawing to each other like psychotic birds, Winston held Nick down and Schmidt retrieved a DVD they had hidden away the last time Caroline dumped Nick. They full-on Clockwork Orange‘d Nick to force him to watch himself wallowing in his own despair, muttering disconsolately (see dotables), looking like Charles Manson and the Unabomber’s illegitimate child while wearing the exact same hoodie (only, ironically, with less stains), and drinking nearly as much as one would during an average game of True American.
NEXT: Schmidt, Paul, and Nick step up the commitment, for better or worse