A Ziploc gallon bag of meth is last on the list of things you’d expect to find while rummaging through Jessica Day’s closet, ranked right behind mood hats and whatever else she would’ve presented had New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriweather written Zooey Deschanel a longer scene in Tuesday’s “Background Check.” Somewhere there’s an extended deleted scene we all need to see, but that’s being kept in a safe until the season four DVD release.
Her bag of drugs, inadvertently purchased at a garage sale, has gone all but forgotten for God knows how long, but now it’s time to dispose of it because Winston’s in-house background check is about to start. Where the meth goes — in Jess’s bra, the toilet, sink, and all over the bathroom floor — is just one of the hilarious story lines to, by far, one of the show’s best episodes in a very long time. In fact, the last episode I vividly remember laughing so much during was season two’s “Cabin,” and even that was merely the scene when they’re on absinthe.
On the storyboard, “Background Check” brings into reality Winston’s pursuit of an LAPD uniform and badge. It’s all really happening, Winston hasn’t been flunking all of his tests in fact he’s one of the best cadets, and the roommates have a tough time believing it because, as Jess reveals this week, nobody actually sees him as a cop. When it turns out he’s ready and willing to take the fall for Jess’ meth, we are reminded how unselfish he always is and how the roommates have never done anything for him — they forgot his birthday last year, for one.
We’ve known this, as viewers, for a long time, but it took Jess four years to realize it’s time to pay him back and let him live out his dream. In her funniest declaration of the episode, Jess barges out of the bathroom, makeup smeared and meth in hand, to say, “My name is Jessica Day, and this is my meth!”
But speaking of declarations, Nick’s are the greatest per usual. Someday, I’m going to take everything he’s said about his life in every episode of the series and plot them on a timeline of his life. Look for that read in the future, but for now we’ve learned some of the following: “When I was 10, I once walked past my mother’s room when she was sleeping and put a lemon in her mouth” … “My 16th year, I never got an erection. I thought they were done. I thought my penis was dead! It wasn’t.”
Nick’s admissions like these come out as they often due, through stress. Meriweather has used this idea that Nick can’t lie a number of times in the past and she utilizes it through a number of channels. For example, through Jess’s suggestions we learn that Nick needs to avoid seeing what he’s asked to cover up — throwing meth in the trash — by closing his eyes and singling “Landslide,” a song we later learn he doesn’t exactly know all the words to. Later, the officer better known as “The Fish” asks Nick, “What kind of person would urinate on an electrical socket?” to which he responds, “I thought it’d make lightning.”
Whether in a small or large quantity, “Background Check” has something for everyone in the loft. Schmidt playfully kisses Cece, a moment that turns into something more when Cece admits she didn’t hate it. Coach has a game plan for going to the outlet mall on a weekend, then goes on his own adventure to find a fake “Little” for Big Brother Winston.
But at the heart of it all is the predicament they’re in. Help Jess hide or get rid of her bag of meth. It’s a simple, very funny idea that makes this episode great. Everyone’s afraid to approach Winston with the problem, which he’s ambivalent about, but as it turns out nobody really knows what they’re doing — or holding. It’s not meth, it’s a bag of aquarium rocks and that’s not the street name, Jess. There was never an easier, more believable revelation than this: nobody, not even the practicing police officer, knows what meth looks like. Neither did I.
And that’s why Winston will never work in narcotics.
MY INDIFFERENT THING: I’m watching Scrubs on Netflix and it changes its intro back and forth, during the second season, eventually going back to the original one. Why is New Girl doing it? It could be an alternate intro, shorter for longer episodes, but “Who’s that girl” already has a shortened version. After one episode, I’m not so high on it. Did people hate the old one or something?