fluffernutter, n. – a sandwich made with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter.
I kind of wish that New Girl had based last week’s episode on sugary sandwiches rather than on casual sex hang-ups. Pretty much anything would be better than watching Jess and Nick dance around an issue that does not (currently) exist.*
The Booty Call
JESS (knocking on Nick’s door late at night): Hey. Sam booty called me?
NICK: “Oh, Sam, he’s so hot”—I don’t care. Goodnight.
JESS: No! I need your help! I don’t know what to do. I’m terrible at casual sex. I left him in there with crayons and paper, like he’s a kid in a restaurant, and I told him I had to check my fantasy football.
NICK: You don’t even know what that is.
JESS: No sir, I do not know what that is. I panicked. Help me.
NICK: Look. You can’t separate your feelings from sex? So what? You’re a girl!
JESS: I deserve to have a shorty on the side.
1. Why is she coming to Nick for help with casual sex? Aside from the whole 21-year-old fiasco, Nick is pretty much a serial monogamist—at least in comparison with Schmidt. Why isn’t she knocking on Schmidt’s door?
2. This would be less of a problem if Nick and Jess had not been set up as good friends (and future lovers). RULE #1, people: do not talk to friends of the opposite sex about your love life. You will be friend-zoned immediately. Unless you think guys like hearing about how you are getting it on with someone who is not them, or girls enjoy knowing everything you loved about your last girlfriend.
3. Off topic.
The Morning After
JESS: Last night was horrible. Sam came over, we tried to make out, I stopped it, and then we just laid there. Like two old people. In The Notebook. Waiting to die.
(Nick looks disgusted)
SCHMIDT: Jess, I get it. You’re the type of person that—you need to ease into these kind of things. Let us take you out tonight. And that way you can feel like you’re going on a date.
(Nick is shaking his head No.)
JESS: Yes! Like we’re all dating in a large, non-sexual friend group!
NICK: My nightmare. Have fun. I’m out.
JESS: Come on, Nick. Please?
NICK: Why are you doing this, Jess?
(When Nick said that, it was like he was saying, “Why are you doing this to me?”)
NICK: Why don’t you just date a guy that, I don’t know, you like?
JESS: This is good for me. I always jump into relationships. Plus, Sam’s not the kind of guy you spend Saturdays in your sweatpants with.
1. Faulty logic. You always jump into relationships, so jumping into casual sex will be good for you? Why, because it’s the more superficial version of what you do already? Wouldn’t it be better if you just got to know the men you date first?
2. Logic. Schmidt is the only person who makes sense in this episode. “Friends help friends have meaningless sex,” he says, and if that is his motto he lives up to it (at least until Kanye gets involved). Hence the suggestion of:
The Dinner Date
NICK: Where are you, Schmidt? This place is fancy and I don’t know which fork to kill myself with.
Let me recap:
Nick gets up to leave. Jess walks in wearing a tight, low-cut red dress (because obviously that’s what you wear to a date with your large, non-sexual friend group). Nick checks her out, thinks she’s hot, calls her a loft troll, and then to make up for it segways into impressions of Looney Tunes characters. Because that is so Nick. There is an awkward “Everyone bailed we could just leave” and “We’re already here” moment. The camera jiggles just so you KNOW it is awkward but sweet. #thankswouldhavemissedit Cue more weird voices.
Okay, do I even need to state the problems here?
1. Obvious set-up. AND THEY DON’T EVEN DO IT WELL. Casual sex and the bulk of your large, non-sexual friend group deserting you to meet Kanye is NOT the emotional earthquake necessary for the we-are-accidentally-having-a-date meme. It is hardly an aftershock. They should have just been in a huge fight. Or Jess should have crashed her car. Or Nick should have found out he owed a million dollars in back taxes. Even jury duty would have sufficed. What I’m saying is: if you aren’t going to pull out the big guns, don’t freaking shoot us with water pistols.
2. By “big guns” I mean Jess and Nick realizing they love each other. Which, according to Zooey Deschanel, will not be happening any time soon. So why pretend that it will? There is a difference between building romantic tension (which they have been doing really well) and starting to run for first base. Don’t start running for first until you are actually up to bat.
3. I alluded to this before, but Nick busting out Looney Tunes voices? Since when…?
All you need to know about the dresser is that Jess needs a new one. So she asks Nick to go to IKEA with her. (Does anyone else remember that IKEA is the place where relationships go to die?) Except the closest IKEA doesn’t carry it and the next closest IKEA is an hour and a half away. “Cool,” says Nick.
This prompts Winston’s speech:
A man can only sit back and observe for so long before he has to speak his mind. A line has been crossed. You, my friend, have become her fluffer. An emotional fluffer. You’ve got to set some boundaries, all right? You’re going to start fulfilling every single need of hers, all right? Doing all the things that a boyfriend would do, for some other dude, who ain’t doing nothing. You’re her boyfriend. You’re her boyfriend, without the rewards.
They get back with the dresser, and Jess starts to ask for Nick’s help putting it together. Which leads to…
The Argument (but is it really?)
This is where the issue that does not (currently) exist* comes into play. Nick and Jess start arguing (NICK: I’m your emotional fluffer! JESS: That’s what friends do!) and it is just… bland. It isn’t convincing at all. I mean really. Go back and watch the NICK: ME TOO! and JESS: BECAUSE YOU DRIVE ME NUTS, MILLER! moment. I was insulted.
1. Nick and Jess are NOT actually in love with each other at this point, so the whole argument is pointless.
2. Side note: what happened to Zooey Deschanel in this episode? Was it her hair? her makeup? did she just never blink? She seemed like an entirely different person, or a weirdly hot robot. Jake Johnson (Nick) was off his game as well.
3. Actually, you know what? That’s not a side note. I think the drama in this episode is out of character for Nick and Jess, and Jake and Zooey just had an awful time trying to fake it. Why is it out of character? Because the casual sex thing is out of character (as we have mentioned before) and the plot of “Fluffer” is entirely based on that.
The Moral of the Story
So Jess has a conversation with her non-boyfriend sexual partner and realizes that she has been taking advantage of Nick.
JESS: I didn’t know what I was doing to you. I’ve always had relationships in different boxes. Friends in one box, boyfriends in another. But now… it’s… messy. And I don’t want to screw up what I have with you! You’re too important to me.
NICK: It’s different with us.
Excuse me? I am sorry but… what the HECK is that line. WHAT IS IT.
NICK: We’re just two people who want to be friends but are sometimes attracted to each other.
If they were trying to throw us a bone… that was a SAD, sad attempt. If there was some sort of soy substitute for a chicken bone, that would be it.
NICK: I just don’t need a bunch of people telling me what we can and can’t do together. That pisses me off! If I want to build you a dresser, I’m going to build you a damn dresser. But if you want to have dates before sex… just do me a favour and have them with the guy you’re having sex with.
Moral of the story: boundaries.
Oh, um, wait. Wasn’t the moral of the story supposed to be that Nick and Jess are friends but KIND of love each other but they’re not going to go down that road at least not yet and meanwhile have to deal with slightly awkward situations because of this mutual attraction? If this episode was supposed to fluff us for that eventuality… it failed.