Can you imagine what New Girl would be like if Coach has never been replaced by Winston after the pilot? This episode explores the dynamic between the guys with the addition of Damon Wayans Jr.’s Coach. As it turns out, New Girl would have been terrible had this character stuck around. “Coach” is an episode that’s light on humor and heavy on obnoxious behavior.

After his breakup with his girlfriend Malia, Coach returns to the fold for some good old Tuesday night strip club action with his old friends. Apparently he disappears every time he gets a girlfriend, which explains his absence from the group for so long. (The actor was busy with the recently cancelled Happy Endings.) His character from the pilot was a gruff, tough man who had trouble being vulnerable. Coach in tonight’s episode is a misogynistic ass who by all means should have been the original owner of the douchebag jar.

Not only does he claim not to remember Jess after living with her for two weeks, he actively encourages Nick to treat her poorly. It’s not shocking to me that Coach wouldn’t automatically remember somebody he barely spent time with but unless he’s had absolutely no contact with Nick, Schmidt, and Winston since then, he must have had a few reminders of her existence.

Around Coach, Nick becomes a jerk of epic proportions. Coach wants to bring the men to a strip club with him, but Jess expresses her reservations to Nick. Their argument leads him to say they aren’t technically exclusive, can’t call each other girlfriend/boyfriend, and that he was just telling her what sort of cake to bake him. That final line alone would have been justified means for Jess to dump him right then and there. Nick’s words are all for Coach’s benefit, as if the show is eager for us to be glad he never stuck around.

So as Nick, Coach, Schmidt, and Winston go to the strip club, Jess and CeCe commiserate about Nick and men in general. As revenge, CeCe suggests that Jess hook up with Artie, a coffee shop owner who turns Jess into a giggling school girl. Artie, played by a very ragged looking Taye Diggs, is supposed to be everything Nick isn’t. He’s an adult who is smooth and know the right thing to say at any given time. (“I bet you can use a phone too,” Jess says of Artie’s smooth ways. “Your bar for having it together is pretty low,” he replies.) Due to CeCe’s encouragement, Jess gets amped up about hanging out with a guy she’s barely interested, if only to stick it to Nick.

The only thing I really liked about this storyline is CeCe’s involvement. It was nice to see her and Jess spend time together. Plus, everything she said about the immaturity of the men in their lives was clearly about Schmidt. When she sees that Jess is willing to mess everything up because of CeCe egging her on, CeCe may have actually healed herself a bit. She was taking her anger about Schmidt’s cheating out on Nick, but it was really going to hurt her best friend.

Meanwhile, the men are drunk at a strip club, being obnoxious, loud, and cowardly. Not much of it is very funny, except perhaps Schmidt believing that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a Nazi propaganda film. (Nick later says, “You saw a different film that everyone else in the world!”) Finally, Coach admits what we all could have guessed. Malia dumped him, not the other way around. (Earlier he said “She got real fat on me.” He’s a catch!) This revelation ends with the boys at a police station which amounts to nothing. Boring.

In the end, Nick and Jess are comfortable with the boyfriend/girlfriend labels and learn to trust each other. But the real lesson here is thank God for Winston and may we never see Coach again.

Other Musings:

  •  There was a side plot where the strip club illegally puts fake money in the ATM which can only be spent there. Winston takes out 2k. Instead of reporting them to the police (they even go to the police station) he spends the money on jackets, hats, and gross food.
  • Coach calls Winston “shrimp forks” because apparently the basketball always slips out of his hands. It makes absolutely no sense because Winston played professional basketball. At least they point that out in the end.
  • Nick: “I’m just telling her what sort of cake to bake me, son.” THE WORST.
  • Jess about Nick: “The other day I had to tell him not to pull a dog’s tail.”
  • Jess’s drink had TONS of cherries in it.
  • Coach: “You keep making mistakes, Winston!” They seemed to hint that Coach is a bit jealous of Winston, but it didn’t really amount to anything.
  • Coach: “It’s butt o’clock”
  • Artie finds an eyelash on Jess’s cheek. “Make a wish.” Jess: “I’m afraid to.”
  • Winston: “Did you hear the joke about the two black guys and two white guys who walked into a police station? The two white guys came out.” Best joke in the entire episode.