The name “Coach” worked on many levels in Tuesday’s episode. Relationship Coach, specializing in how not to treat your girlfriend. Basketball Coach, with an emphasis on how to grind Winston’s gears. Strip Club Coach, expertise: how to spend your Bunny Money (okay, that was more Winston’s forte). Suffice it to say, Coach is not just a beloved ’90s sitcom anymore. And that’s just the tip of the Damon Wayans Jr.-shaped iceberg, Newbies. While you debate in the comments whether Coach’s return measured up to expectations, I shall get to the recapping.
Coach had sent text messages to both Nick and Schmidt, who were still feuding over Schmidt’s defection to the loft across the hall (though Schmidt was still popping up every once in a while to startle everyone and steal wind chimes from the garden). The guys surmised that Coach must have broken up with his latest girlfriend, since he’s the kind of guy who disappears when he’s in a relationship, and they were super-excited to bro down with their long-lost pal. Or, as Winston put it, “You better hand over Power of Attorney to your loved ones, because it’s about to get craaaaazy.” You see, Coach is a notorious partier — cue flashback of the guys drunkenly singing Mariachi karaoke to Scorpion’s “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” including a trumpet solo from Nick!
And, as if saying his name forced some sort of Candyman-esque materialization, Coach suddenly appeared. He hilariously didn’t remember Jess at all, even though she claimed they’d shared some important times during their two weeks as roommates (cue flashback of them celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death). After only a few seconds, the mood shift in the room was immediately apparent upon the ultra-macho Coach’s arrival. Predictably, Winston was ruffled by Coach resurfacing an old nickname: “Shrimp Forks,” which mocked his “little girly hands” that couldn’t hold a basketball. Less predictably, Nick started acting like a misogynist pig.
The latter was spurred primarily by Coach’s suggestion the guys hit up da strip club. Naturally, Jess wasn’t too excited about the prospect of her boyfriend ogling naked women. She took him aside to discuss, but Coach kept interrupting Nick’s talk with Notorious N.A.G./Naggie Gyllenhaal. Between these interruptions, Nick was making a pretty strong effort to ruin his relationship by digging a dry-spell-deep hole about how they hadn’t had “the boyfriend-girlfriend-seeing-other-people conversation” and eventually bragging to Coach that he was “just telling [Jess] what kind of cake to bake for me, son!” (His trembling face when he turned back to Jess after saying that was particularly priceless.) And so Jess had had it! She gave Nick “permission” to go to the strip club, and by darn, she was going out, too: “And I’m gonna “bake a cake”! A pineapple upside down cake…” and… yeah… that metaphor didn’t really have the legs she’d hoped it would.
So Jess summoned Cece for a retaliatory girls’ night out, throughout which she planned to send Nick passive-aggressive texts (she’d eventually ask Cece, “Should I add a ‘Woohoo!’ or is that too bitchy?”). Cece had other plans, like making Nick jealous to teach him a lesson. Jess idly mentioned a sexy coffee shop guy named Artie, who turned out to be the human equivalent of a grande shot of steaming espresso (a.k.a. Taye Diggs). As it were, Artie had given Jess his number and suggested they go out some time. Her response? “Shut your face!” (That was apparently the only response Jess could muster in the of Artie’s smoldering handsomeness.) So, when Jess excused herself to go to the ladies’ room, Cece took matters into her own hands and called Artie.
No sooner had Artie arrived and ordered Jess a drink — he’d sniffed her signature concoction out to be a Shirley Temple with a finger of coconut rum and a lemon squeeze that Jess had named the Temple Grandin “because it makes me friendly and compassionate” — than Jess uncomfortably giggle-confessed that she had a boyfriend. Artie graciously shook Jess’s hand and started toward the door, stopping only to seductively wipe an eyelash from her cheek (“Make a wish,” he said, and Jess countered, “I’m afraid to!”). Jess said she’d had her fun, but Cece insisted she call Artie back. So the steamboat gamely sat there for hours and listened to Jess’s relationship issues (she would later grouse that “Nick doesn’t have a life plan, he doesn’t even have a day plan — I once found a note he’d written himself that said, ‘Put on pants’… followed by a question mark“). Artie even tried to convince Jess to stand by her man — mind you while he was dropping hints of his own awesomeness, like how he owned the coffee shop and that his job required “jetting off to Brazil at a moment’s notice.” Were Artie’s intentions truly pure? Would it even matter since Jess couldn’t stop herself from tittering like a schoolgirl at his dulcet voice while requesting for him to repeat the word “Brazil” and say “rubber baby buggy bumpers”? She was a goner.
NEXT: “Shake ya ass, show me what you’re workin’ wit'”