Any doubts I had about Coach and/or Damon Wayans Jr. reassimilating into the show’s ecosystem? Gone. “Menus” was classic New Girl: Stupid, silly, glorious. If for nothing other than the “Work Bitch” workout montage (see below), this week’s episode wasn’t just a return to form. It was an elevation. It was also proof that this show is always, always better when it’s about the ensemble. Every person — even Winston! — had a specific, discrete part in the action, and I loved every second of it. So before I get to work (bitch), YOU get to work, Newbies:
Thanks to an excess of Chinese menus (and, thus, an excess of Chinese delivery), Nick’s ever-growing belly was the impetus of this week’s action. Jess was too self-satisfied by Nick calling her his “girlfriend” to mind his paunch, but Coach knew better. Also, he was still post-break-up and had nothing else to occupy him. So Coach took it upon himself to become Nick’s personal trainer, prodding him about gaining the “boyfriend 15″ and pshawing at Nick’s claims that he had a bad back: “You gave me a piggyback ride two days ago, and you giggled the whole time.” Coach finally said firmly, “Either take this dumpling and be a dumpling guy or train with me and be a doing guy.” After being tantalized with the promise of one-day abs (Nick: “I thought God just didn’t give me those”), Turtle Face decided to be a doer.
Schmidt was not pleased about Coach’s success — he had tried to get Nick into the gym for years, after all. Of course, it didn’t help that Coach’s takeover of Schmidt’s room and his plan to shape up Nick began around the time Schmidt handed over his keys to the loft. And, just because the moment was awesome: Schmidt dropped his keys, claimed he wanted space (despite being just across the hall), then said faux-circumspectly, “Everywhere you go… there you are.” (Max Greenfield nailed this delivery once again, as ever.) As Schmidt left, Coach mocked his skinny jeans, and Nick snarked, “He looks like a little puppet — like something some Italian whittled.”
But Schmidt wasn’t alone. Winston was also feeling insecure. To impress Coach, he’d been working on his insult game (“I’ll tell you when the last time [Nick] worked out was — it was the time he battled his daddy’s other dumb sperm in order to make his way to his mama’s dumbass egg!”). But Winston’s scathing wit would never be enough for Coach, and he knew it. To save himself some embarrassment, Winston claimed he’d injured himself shooting hoops the day before (translation: he’d slipped on all the menus while eating a double-scoop ice cream cone). Alas, Coach saw through the ruse because Winston had used this dog-ate-my-homework-esque excuse more than a few times. (Coach: “Remember when you sat out of the game because you were sad?” Winston: “I was also cold.”) But! In a hilarious, didn’t-see-it-coming moment, when Winston insisted on joining the boys’ workout, he mimed a jump shot, slipped for real, and actually did hurt himself. Winnie the Bish, down!
Coach and Nick were the last men standing when it was time to get fit. Coach had developed an acronym: “PEANUTS… it stands for Physical… Education… Activity… NUTS!” More importantly, he had Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch.” As you saw above, this glorious segment started with Nick and Coach “sexy” dancing (unbeknownst to them, a jealous Schmidt joined from his apartment across the hall). The sequence also proved once more what a hilarious physical comedian Jake Johnson is — who else has done “push-ups” by just lifting their butts off the ground? Anyone but me? No? Okay…
The workout ended fairly abruptly when Cece arrived with a big ol’ bag o’ Chinese food for “Jess” — turns out Nick had duped her into bringing it, only to insult her by giving her a $4 tip. (Ha!) Coach made a horrific attempt at flirting, by which I mean he quoted “No Diggity” before seductively doing squats and spluttering out the last-ditch come-on “I’ll tip you good — I’ll tip you right over!” That failure on his shoulders, Coach tried again to get his soft-centered roommate Nick to find his inner doer — this included slapping dumplings out of Nick’s hands. But Nick didn’t want it. (Though it was hilarious when he took a bite of dumpling and realized it was made of vegetables: “I did all that for nothing?!”)
And! Lest I forget: In the midst of all this, Winston rolled out into the living room in a wheelchair he’d found “in a ditch” so he could join the workout. When Jess wheeled him out of the loft (click to the next page to see why), Schmidt couldn’t take it any more: “What’s next? Roberto Benigni coming through the halls, making everybody laugh?!” These people be cray. And I love it.
NEXT: I pity the Foo…