This week we saw the return of guest star Dermot Mulroney aka Russell aka Mr. Fancyman. While things seem to be going swimmingly for Jess and Russell, she realizes she’s spent an entire week at his place and it’s time for him to spend a weekend at the loft. Naturally, the three guys aren’t prepped for the presence of someone so mature and sophisticated, but all Jess asks is that they “be normal” (meaning no covert “label checks” by Schmidt or Winston accusing Russell of fearing black people). The result? The revelation of a fictional drinking game called True American, Nick and Schmidt’s dabbling in entrepreneurship and Jess and Russell’s first fight.

50% Drinking Game, 50% Life-Sized Candy Land
Russell arrives and after an embarrassing collective battle with their finicky garbage disposal, Jess tries to lighten the mood by suggesting they all play True American. The rules of the game, which is “50% drinking game, 50% life-sized Candy Land” (or, rather, “90% drinking game in a loose, Candy Land-like structure”) seem arbitrary (though one New Girl fan has managed to capture them in detail). All that is clear is that the floor is lava, the furniture is safe zones and there’s plenty of yelling of American Presidents’ names. Russell, like any normal person, seems lost but gamely plays along. By the time Schmidt quits to join Cece’s arrival in the bedroom (or “Darwin’s jungle”), the guys are sufficiently drunk (while Jess remains curiously sober).

Russell and the Boys, Sans Jess
Russell proceeds to offer some advice to Winston, who has just scored an assistant job at a sports radio station, about his tyrannical boss (“dip your boys in his milkshake,” which he means literally). Nick, having a clear mancrush on Mr. Fancyman, tries to get some feedback as well about his/Schmidt’s “Real Apps” invention, which is a cell phone case attached with real-life tools (for cutting a bagel, cobbling a shoe, “haberdashing on the fly”). Jess can’t get a word in edgewise and so goes off to bed looking forlorn.

“Relapse”: the Breaking Point
In the morning things worsen when Jess announces the great day she has planned for her man (apple picking!), to which he responds “that literally sounds like hell” in his hung-over state. Nick and Schmidt arrive in suits to present their Real Apps prototype, which Russell pointedly notes sounds like “relapse” and when it ends up slicing Russell’s hand and Jess attempts a makeshift Band-Aid of napkin and tape, he finally breaks – nonsensical drinking games and inadequate first aid are not what he signed up for.

Making Amends
Meanwhile, Winston, realizing that despite his impossible boss, he has friends like guest star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (playing himself) and must tough it out to achieve his dream job, rightly disposes of the “compromised” milkshakes, but not before his boss learns of his evil deed and hilariously pulls the prank on Abdul-Jabbar. Jess similarly tried to make amends with Russell, inadvertently quoting the Spice Girls when she says he must “get with her friends,” even if that means childish drinking games and questionable elevators. He politely obliges and it seems the happy couple has survived their first fight, bandages, hangovers and all.

While the episode wasn’t the funniest or most touching of the season, the return of Mulroney was welcome and watching all the actors pull off the ridiculous drinking game shenanigans was entertaining. What did you all think of “Being Normal”? Are you happy with Russell and Jess’ progressing relationship?

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.