So Jess asks a boy named Paul out and invites him to Thanksgiving with her roommates.
Schmidt: Jess, be honest, is the turkey named Paul?
Jess: It's a real guy. And he teaches at my school. And he's really, really hoooooooot! And the turkey is named Hank! (laughing to herself) Hanksgiving. And we are gonna eat him, so..
Jess assures the boys that she will do everything. The guys have other concerns.
Winston: Are we gonna be able to hang out with Paul, or is he also a teacher?
Jess: No, he's a total guy's guy. He normally spends Thanksgiving with his nana but she just passed away.
Nick: (sarcastically) That's a great plan, Jess. Be the girl who replaces his dead nana.
Jess: (totally unaware) I know!
As the boys worry that Paul is going to become the fifth roommate, Jess notes a more immediate problem.
Jess: You guys, don't even get up. Just enjoy your beers, this is gonna be a great meal. Just curious, does anyobody know anything about cooking? No pressure, just like cooking a turkey for example. It says you need some kind of strain.
When Schmidt offers a mildly informative tip on the process, Jess is excited and asks for more. The boys are edgy about the whole deal and Schmidt fires back.
Schmidt: Here's a tip. Don't cook Thanksgiving dinner for five people in fourteen hours. Here's another tip, don't ask a guy out on a first date on the least sexy holiday in America.
Jess: What are the most sexy holidays?
Schmidt: The most sexy holidays are 4th of July; ahhhh, Independence Day, obviously; Women's History month; and Christmas.
When Jess asks Schmidt for help he refuses, but she baits him with inviting Cece. To the objections of Nick and Winston, he cracks but declares he has kitchen control issues and doesn't deal well with being told what to do.
What is clear is that Jess is a danger to herself in the kitchen. It's also clear that this turkey is frozen rock hard solid (that's what she said?) and we are treated to a montage of Jess trying to thaw it, or force it into the oven (yes, I have had that problem before, ohhh!).
When Paul arrives early, before the turkey is even out of the dryer, Jess is looking a bit dumpy.
Jess: How do I look?!
Schmidt: It's better if you don't know.
Paul is dressed up, looking all proper and shit, but the gang quickly discovers that he is just as quirky as Jess. Nick is horrified.
Nick: Oh my god, there's two of them.
Paul's a happy fellow but Nick is a big grumpster and Jess pulls him aside to head off a problem.
Jess: I just need you not to do that thing that you do!
Nick: What thing? I don't do a thing.
Jess: Yes, you get all mean and you make that little turtle face.
Nick: Okay, I don't think I make a turtle face.
Jess: Just talk to him like a normal human being. Not about politics, or small business loans, or Google conspiracy thing, okay?!
Nick agrees to help Jess try to impress. Winston decides to play word association with Paul. The turkey tumbles around in the dryer. Schmidt and Cece discuss being sanitary. When that discussion results in the trashing of all the walnuts, Paul volunteers to go get more. However, since he is a bit tipsy, Nick is volunteered to drive him (couldn't Nick have done this by himself instead?). The two share an uncomfortable ride.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Schmidt and Cece are cooking up a storm. Cece, the naughty little bad girl that she is, knowing Schmidt's issues with being sanitary, shoves a bit of food in his face.
Schmidt: (with Cece looking at him sexily amused) What, what?! No! What is wrong with you?! Look at this recipe! Look at the recipe. Where in this recipe does it say 'put mashed potatoes on Schmidt's nose'?!
Soon after, the turkey explodes, smoking up the entire apartment. As the boys try to air it out with pillows, Schmidt makes a verbal note of the predicament.
Schmidt: It's like a Prince video!
The boys are not happy about the circumstances in which they find themselves.
Winston: Remember when there was only dudes living here and we had no fires?
Nick: This is ridiculous! Three months ago we didn't even know this girl.
When the boys decide to leave to go to a bar, Paul convinces them to stick around and eat the food they have been making. But Jess has an issue with Nick's problem with Paul and they argue outside of a neighbor's apartment as the rest of the gang listens from inside.
Nick: Does it matter what I think?! Does it? 'Cause I don't have to have sex with him.
Jess: I do. I want to. I want to have sex with him.. big time! (Paul reacts surprised inside the apartment) You heard me, big time! Okay? I wanna take him down to China Town and slice him off a piece of this pumpkin pie, okay?
Paul: (to Winston) What is pumpkin pie?
Jess: I wanna do all the things that you do in a bedroom, with him, okay? I wanna do it standing up and sitting down. And half up and half down. And the wiggly one. And the bear attack. And the claws in the head...
When Jess discovers that Paul has heard the entire conversation, she is embarrassed but survives. As she and Cece discuss it in the kitchen, her hot model friend confesses that Schmidt's earlier outburst turned her on. Apparently she is super into angry guys. If girls like this existed in the real world, I would already be thrice divorced.... but via exotic gorgeous chicks, yo. Win-win.
As Paul tunes his stringed instrument thingy, he senses hostility from Nick and decides to confront the problem.
Paul: (sitting next to him) Nick, I gotta just say something to you. I feel like you think I'm kind of annoying.
Nick: You didn't have to come here to say that, you could have done it from over there.
Paul: Okay, and if that's the case, which I don't know that it is..
Nick: It is.
Paul: I don't care. I actually feel sort of sorry for you. Because this point in your life, I know that you'll never dislike me more than you dislike yourself.
Nick: Really? That's what you're going with, Violin?
Back in the kitchen, Cece attempts to get her angry-Schmidt fix by antagonizing him. Schmidt tries really hard not to get pissed as she dips her fingers in his pudding (these things just write themselves, folks). Schmidt is not liking it but is trying to manage his temper having just misguidedly promised to never yell at her again.
Schmidt: It's so gross.
Schmidt: I'd really, I'd really rather you not do that.
Cece: I haven't washed my hands since three o'clock and I'm gonna double dip.
But he doesn't bite. Poor gorgeous Cece's needs are not met.
Just when things are going well and Thanksgiving dinner is being served, and Paul is playing a happy tune, he discovers the occupant's rotting corpse!
Jess: Poor Mrs. Beverly.
Schmidt: Oh Miss Beverly from the mailboxes.
In the end, the gang stands in line for Black Friday at Best Buy (paid in-show advertisement!) and Paul brings sandwiches... and I suddenly feel like I am watching CHUCK.
If I was forced to rate this episode at gunpoint, I would give it:
84 out of 100.
It was a cute and fun little episode and gave me the fix I needed but missed the mark a bit in being as funny as previous episodes, and for giving no real payoff to any of the more dramatic/antagonistic moments. Still, it is a solid B.