“New Girl”: Ma called, the bees are back

Schmidt and Jess tag-teamed the dating world once before, in season one’s “Valentine’s Day” in which Jess craves a one-night stand and must become Schmidt’s apprentice to have one. The pair’s distinctly differing views on dating piled up the laughs then and they tacked on more in Tuesday’s “Dice.”

Always the romantic type, Jess initially came to the loft in search of a new direction after discovering that long-term boyfriend Spencer had been cheating on her. Thirteen episodes into the first season, she hadn’t had much luck. Schmidt, on the other hand, was popping girls in and out of the apartment every night. Jess wants to know how Schmidt does it.

This premise is the same setup for “Dice,” only Jess is moving on from a relationship with Nick and isn’t experiencing Schmidt’s success in the bedroom. His secret, this time, is Dice (or New Girl‘s version of Tinder), an app built for instinctual decisions — something we already know Jess doesn’t do well. Just look at her decision at the end of “Valentine’s Day.”

Liz Meriweather’s success in the season one episode was based around exposing Ms. Day’s awkwardness around men, like a geeky fourth grader approaching a boy. This trait of hers is developing a theme already this season in both “The Last Wedding” and “Dice,” making Zooey Deschanel’s role in season four excellent already. This week we see her get trapped in 10 Dice dates (the “Dice Diez”) with Malcom the raisin farmer, a guy who isn’t gay but would go crazy with Michael Strahan, a guy who is really enjoying his fist-fighting right now, and much more. Meriweather’s creative juices were certainly flowing.

The Dice Diez is Schmidt’s way of desensitizing Ms. Day. The way he sees it, the more terrible dates he throws her into, the more she’ll become numb to the uncomfortable dust off maneuver. It’s actually working, too. “Jess?” a tall, slender companion asks approaching her outside of a cafe. “No, not Jess,” she lies, scurrying away. Why? “Velcro shoes… Pervert.” Schmidt didn’t even see it!

But the Jess we know wouldn’t be able to maintain this act for long, so it’s no surprise when real Jess emerges on the 10th date after Portland Jacob calls her on her stupid dust off line: “I have hockey practice. I play center wing.” He seemed nice and she feels bad. But they all seem nice until they turn out to be a magician. Oh, sorry, I mean comedy magician.

Like the Tacos in the Morning guy Jess goes home with in “Valentine’s Day,” Portland Jacob turns out to be a disaster. Unlike the season one episode, Schmidt takes a lesson from Jess. The roommates’ differing opinions on dating are laid on the table this week. Jess dates to fall in love and be in a relationship. Schmidt dates and dumps so he can keep on dating. Schmidt asks, “Why would you want to find love?” Jess really doesn’t need to answer because everyone has their reasons and she has the right to her own. Instead, she turns it on him and he calls back Barb, the sexy Dice date we’re introduced to at the beginning of the episode.

It’s only right that Barb throws it back in Schmidt’s face, “You really don’t understand how Dice works.” Funny, because he taught Jess the ropes. Moreover, it’s only fitting that neither technically ends up with someone — they both come up empty from their “dates,” even though Schmidt definitely had sex. That ending keeps to Meriweather’s established season four motto, “Nobody comes home alone.” As Jess referenced in “The Last Wedding,” nobody’s technically going home alone, although they sacking strangers.

“Dice” and “Valentine’s Day” have equally heartwarming moments that stand out as resolutions. This week, Schmidt says Jess is the prize, the “last piece of pie.” Thankfully Jess doesn’t take his compliment the wrong way, because we all remember the season one episode when Jess took Schmidt’s kind heartedness as a hint that Schmidt was meant to be the first special one-night stand. There, she got stuck with an XL box of condoms, outside of the room in which Schmidt and Cece were making love for the first time.

MY FAVORITE THING: Schmidt on the restaurant, “They’ve got pizza, gelato, tikka masala, rawbar… This place is doing too much, they can’t be doing all of this right.” And later, ordering, “I’ll take the rock shrimp meatballs… What’s is this place?”

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