Ray Mickshaw/Fox
C. Molly Smith
October 05, 2016 AT 12:32 AM EDT

Still coping with her feelings for Nick, Jess joins a group of singles, not to meet other singles for potential romance, but to help each other remain single.

That ends up being pretty difficult when sparks fly between Jess and group founder Robby (Nelson Franklin) — who you’ll recall is Cece’s ex-boyfriend and was one of Schmidt’s groomsmen — on a glamping trip. The weekend away was meant to be a sort of couple’s vacation for Cece, Schmidt, Winston, and Aly, but Jess and her group crash it.  

Back at the loft, meanwhile, Nick works on his novel and struggles with being dubbed a “genius,” and not having any notes from Schmidt or Winston to work off of (oh, WHAT a burden).

Here are the top 5 “loft”-iest moments from “Single and Sufficient.”  

Jess’ singles group. Robby is the founder, president, and secretary of the group, and made it after Nadia (Rebecca Reid) dumped him. They meet weekly for non-romantic companionship, like when they got together for Korean BBQ, used 13 credit cards, and were basically banned from the restaurant as a result. Their motto is “I’m single and I’m sufficient,” which Cece points out is abbreviated to ISIS. “As Communications Czar, I should’ve caught that,” Jess responds. Also in the group are Brenda (Becky Thyre), who is “a circuit court judge who also teaches taxidermy class for kids”; Hugh (Rob Yang), who “grows his own onions”; and Principal Foster (Curtis Armstrong), Jess’ “former boss and current friend… his hip surgeon has okayed him for sex, but he hasn’t okayed himself.” 

That group’s insistence on remaining independent. It’s one thing to enjoy being single; it’s another to make your singledom, and the independence that comes with that, an inconvenience for others, like when the group insists on taking a bunch of selfies rather than a group shot, and how they insist on having a photo taken on each phone when they do agree to a group shot. “We don’t share phones like you people,” Principal Foster says to Schmidt and Cece, to which Schmidt asks, “Who shares phones? How would we call each other?” More than an inconvenience, there are just things that don’t make sense, like Jess playing badminton by herself. As to be expected, this drives Schmidt insane. He’d challenged Robby and Jess on it earlier, asking, “Isn’t this group just a painfully transparent stall until you meet someone?” Jess accuses him of single shaming, and says that singles can do what couples do, like how Robby went on a solo dessert date and she dealt with a backache by rubbing herself against a door.

Schmidt’s efforts to challenge that philosophy. “Can’t you just go somewhere else and enjoy being single,” Schmidt asks the group, with quote hands. Then he says they’re lying to themselves, saying they’re happy being single, when everyone knows they’d rather be in a relationship. This is when Jess really loses it. She basically equates single status with “jazz hands, the end of an explosive musical number” and being in a relationship with “O.J. trying to put on the bloody glove.” Eventually, Schmidt challenges Jess on her commitment to remaining single when he sees that there are sparks between her and Robby, and he does kind of have a point there.    

Nick’s frustration with “no notes.” While the other loftees play, Nick stays at home to work on his novel, and he’s experiencing a big bout of writer’s block. Schmidt had told Nick that he had “no notes” to give him, and Nick is lost without the direction. He furiously types “no notes” over and over again on his computer, tries to draw it out and figure it out on his whiteboard, calls Schmidt repeatedly to push him for feedback, and even enlists Winston and Aly, too, but nothing. Finally, Schmidt tells Nick to “stop cutting yourself off at the knees like a selfish coward” and calls him a great writer. That push seems to be exactly what Nick needs, and inspires him to write a character based on Schmidt, who is the bad guy to Nick’s protagonist; he’s very unlikable and is first introduced when he’s kicking a puppy. Of course, now, Schmidt wants to give Nick notes…

Potential feelings between Jess and Robby. After Robby breaks up some friskiness between Brenda and Hugh, he and Jess seem to have a connection. “Your ability to dampen sexual chemistry is astounding,” Jess says, but then they do actually have a moment of chemistry. Schmidt catches on immediately, and later encourages the budding romance; Cece too, saying it’s not weird at all that she and Robby used to date, that Jess has her blessing. Jess insists she’s not interested in Robby, but that’s really put to the test when they start singing Toto’s “Africa” by the campfire. Jess yells to stop because there’s clearly chemistry there, and the group can see that; Brenda calls Robby a hypocrite, and he admits that he has “sexual and romantic feelings” for Jess. Schmidt and Cece continue to encourage that coupling, but Jess says she’s just not really ready for anything like that, because Nick. The episode does end, though, with a cute little moment between Jess and Robby, so maybe there is something there?

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jess’ realization about her clown dream, when reflecting on why she can’t be with Robby. “I could never date a guy who wears glasses because of the clown from my dreams,” she says. “The clown who wears glasses. Oh my god, that clown is me.”
  • Aly and Winston’s very weird sexscapade, and plans to repeat a certain part of it…“Eleven was great…but this time, I’m the mermaid,” Aly says.
  • Principal Foster’s very strong feelings about Toto. “When singing Toto, why is it always ‘Africa’? They’ve got a deep catalogue.” He continues, angrily, “You sexualized Toto. I know those guys. They’re good guys.”
  • Robby’s goodbye email to the group that was in Latin and in gothic font and had Jess worrying.
  • Cece and Schmidt’s pact to befriend another married couple. “How are we going to do that,” Cece asks. “We don’t have a kid, and I refuse to take cooking classes.” Schmidt responds, “I don’t know, maybe we just go to a Norah Jones concert, stand outside, and look lost.” A+ plan.  

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