Another guest at the party was Schmidt’s cousin Big Schmidt. Schmidt claimed he’d been “raised by wolf-like parents in the wilds of Minnesota” and “put in juvie for stealing the synagogue’s minivan” as a teen. As he loaded cheap beer into a cooler, he assured Winston his cousin had changed. But BS arrived and declared his recent return to bachelorhood, issuing such gems as “I’m thankful for twins. They’re like sisters, only they do it!” It could have easily been surmised that it would be Cece that would spark the competition between these two. BS couldn’t believe she’d ever slummed to be with his cousin, and Schmidt’s pride was ruffled. Winston seized on the opportunity to set up a contest between the cousins to declare “the one true Schmidt.”
Somehow this contest involved BS wheelbarrowing Schmidt while they yelled at Winston, “I could do this all day!” After several mini-contests, Winston was ready to declare the contest a draw. I’ll just let him explain: “You did touch a hotter pan, but he ate a much bigger candle. You belched longer, but he farted louder. You punched a tree, he headbutted a bench. You both bailed on the fifth ball-punch.” Enter BS, who said ominously, “I got the belts rigged up in the bedroom. Are you ready to see who blacks out first?” That was Schimdt’s breaking point, and he declared defiantly to BS, “Your caveman ideas about manhood are over. Manhood today is about exfoliation and cheese courses and honesty and Paxil. And, yes, cutting peppers in classic stile de julienne. You may have bested me in a competition of pre-Clinton manhood, but I am Schmidt — a refined and enlightened pescetarian (90 percent of the time).”
Oh, but it wasn’t over! Seeing Schmidt’s challenge and raising it, BS chopped up some peppers with great aplomb. With that, it was round two. They both excelled at gourmet meal design, so Cece threw down the ultimate gambit, telling them the ultimate test of a man would be who could kiss another man. And — twist! — she decided to turn the tables on Winston. He would be the ultimate prize.
There attention was diverted when Nick let it slip that he saw Jess’s parents hooking up in the bathroom. They insisted it was nothing, somehow the Schmidts volunteered themselves as Joan’s future objects, and Cece revealed that she’d scratched Joan’s van as a teenager because Jess was high on a pot brownie. What I’m saying is, it was one of those only-on-Thanksgiving arguments in which Jess started out making a toast about family and ended up exploding at the rest of the table. Long story short, she accepted the fact that she’d never be able to trap her parents into getting back together, that they were happier apart, and that she might find a better future moving to Miami with Joan to “Grey Gardens the crap out of a condo” together. Then again, all those epiphanies didn’t stop Bob and Joan from banging one last time in the elevator for old times’ sake.
Oh yeah, and Big Schmidt learned that victory is bittersweet when the wages of war involve kissing another dude.
NEXT: “Nice squeeze bottle work there, Bobby Flay.”