I wasn’t completely sold last week on the Nick/Jess kiss – but ‘Table 34’ went a long way from alleviating those fears, a hilarious, uncomfortable half hour of panic moon walking at an Indian arranged marriage convention. Navigating Nick and Jess territory is going to be difficult, but ‘Table 34’ does a good job giving it some comedic context, and another solid episode of CeCe and Schmidt to surround it.
Nick and Jess arguing over their kiss is completely in character for both of them – Nick likes to prod at Jess to provoke reactions out of her, and Jess can’t internalize feelings of frustration, a combination that always boils over into an amusing argument between the two of them. It’s too bad ‘Table 34’ is so focused on them, because it makes Sam’s departure pretty anticlimatic: Jess tells him about her kiss with Nick off-screen, and a scene later, he’s gone with nothing but a punch to Nick’s throat as a departure gift. The writers try to contextualize it later on, but all it amounts to is Jess didn’t like his morning fist bumps – not anything about the commitment he made to her, which is forgotten about just as soon as he’s off-screen. Keeping things awkward in the loft is a good thing – Nick is at his worst when he’s uncomfortable, defensive and insecure about everything except being placed at Table 34 (as he tells CeCe, “we’re both bad at life, and have model good looks”).
Having the Nick/Jess hijinks at the Indian convention also let us tag along with Schmidt in bedazzled Indian attire, a “Jew in a turban” whose mission at the convention wasn’t really clear. He wants to get CeCe back, but he talks her up in front of other men – which eventually leads to them sleeping together? Plausibility aside, it’s always fun to watch Schmidt do anything and everything to get CeCe in his bed – the last few episodes have been a nice throwback to last season, before Schmidt experienced whatever disturbed behavior goes on between them in the sheets.
the encompassing theme of ‘Table 34’, however, reaches a bit deeper than relationship-centric hijinks: it’s about the pros and cons of acting boldly, exploring the benefits and repercussions of acting without thinking. For Jess, it ruined a relationship – but for Nick, it empowers him for the first time in a long time (he tells Jess it’s the first time he’s ever felt like he intimidated someone). For Schmidt, it also cost him a relationship (in last season’s finale) – but thanks to CeCe’s split-second decision, it looks like he’s back in the game after all. And let’s not forget about Winston: without his unplanned hook-up, we would’ve never got to spend the evening with Mojo Man.
– the director of the convention was quite creepy. Was it she doing with men of other races in small spaces?
– CeCe apparently has some odd aureoles.
– when Winston finds out about Nick kissing Jess, he slaps Nick in the nuts. Twice.
– “Pink robes are my catnip” is the best excuse Nick can think of.