Patrick McElhenney/Fox
Lanford Beard
November 16, 2011 AT 10:30 AM EST

Jess developed a crush on her fellow teacher, Paul Gunslinger (Justin Long) this week, and it was easy to see why. He was the kind of guy who’d bring a violin to a virtual stranger’s apartment, who’d call football halftime “intermission,” and who’d laugh when Jess asked, “Whatcha gobblin’ about, turkeys?” Is it any coincidence you can condense the phrase “Male Jess” into one word: Mess? Oh, I kid! All in all, Long was winsome as he began his three-episode arc on tonight’s Very Special Thanksgiving episode of New Girl. And by “special,” I mean there was singing, a turkey partially cooked in a clothing dryer, and the entirely unexpected addition of a dead body in the third act. All that without even mentioning Jess’s crazy-funny rant about wanting to get it on and Schmidt’s obsessive-compulsive persona in the kitchen.

It all began backstage at the elementary school Thanksgiving pageant. Dressed as a man-sized gourd, Paul revealed to Jess (who was decked out in a pretty impressive turkey costume herself) that he always spends Thanksgiving with his Nana, but she died last month. Jess’s first instinct was to invite him over to her place for Thanksgiving because it’s always a great idea, as Nick said, to “be the girl who replaces his dead Nana.” (Cue Jess’s peppy response: “I know!”) On the bright side, at least she has the wardrobe for it. Naturally, Nick had some arbitrary ideological opposition to Thanksgiving because he’s like a snarky shark — if he’s not grousing against something, he’ll die.

Too late, Jess told the guys later that night, because she’d already bought a gigantic turkey and invited Paul. Schmidt: “Be honest. Is the turkey named Paul?” In fact, its name was Hank, Hank Sgiving. Jess adorably gushed about how hot Paul was, which was met by a subtle but definite look of jealousy from Nick. But there was no time to dwell because Thanksgiving was upon them! As you might have guessed, Jess has no expertise whatsoever in cooking or organizing a large dinner of this magnitude.

But what she does have is a whole lot of moxie! Hoping to lure Schmidt to her side — where Schmidt goes, the others invariably follow — she dropped CeCe’s name into the mix. Soon enough, Schmidt volunteered to prepare the feast under the condition that no one jeopardize his culinary mission: “I don’t want you touching anything, and I don’t want to hear, ‘Schmidt, Schmidt! You’re using too much tarragon’ because I’m not.” The Tarragon Issue (which should totally be the name of a Peoria-based garage band) was one thing, but the other stipulation? Let’s put it this way: Schmidt just gave the okay for CeCe — whose only joy in life is to mess with others — to be part of this event, so I think we all knew where this was going.

NEXT: It’s Turkey Lurking Time for CeCe

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