Jess wants to do a Thanksgiving dinner because she invited another teacher she likes but her roommates just want to watch the game and drink beer.
- Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day
- Jake Johnson as Nick Miller
- Max Greenfield as Schmidt
- Lamorne Morris as Winston Bishop
- Hannah Simone as Cece Parekh
- Chaz Marcus Fleming as Pilgrim Boy
- Troy Dogerty as Frankenstein Kid
- Jerrin Padre as Pumpkin/Native American Kid
- Ada-Nicole Sanger as Werewolf Kid
- Christian Anderson as Man in Line
Jess watches kids practice for the upcoming Thanksgiving pageant. The music teacher, Paul, approaches Jess and casually asks how her boyfriend is doing. She mentions that they broke up, acting like it was no big deal. She then asks what he's doing for Thanksgiving. Paul tells her that his grandmother recently passed, around Halloween, which explains the depressing lyrics of the Halloween play the school put on that year. Cut to Jess returning home with a giant turkey. The guys are disappointed. They just want to watch football and drink beer and head to Best Buy for "Black Friday," or as Winston calls it "Friday." Schmidt is trying to call it "Dudesgiving."
She tells them Paul will be joining them. Schmidt makes sure Paul isn't the turkey's name. (It's name is "Hank S. Giving - Hanksgiving). Jess assures them Paul is a "guy's guy." Winston thinks they have to figure out whether Paul is the right guy for them, they deserve to be happy. Jess wants to know if anyone knows anything about cooking. Schmidt suggests maybe she shouldn't ask a guy out on the least sexy holiday of the year. Schmidt gets dragged into helping when Jess promises to invite Cece. Schmidt says he'll only cook if he's allowed to run the kitchen. The next morning the turkey is still frozen solid. There are many non-conventional attempts to thaw the turkey out 3 hours before Paul arrives. Jess tries hugging it to her body to melt it with her warmth. Next it goes into the dryer. "I put it on permanent press," she says. "Good, you don't have to iron it," Nick says.
Paul arrives early in a suit and tie. Jess bursts into a Thanksgiving verse. After an awkward pause, Paul finishes it up, even posing with her. "Oh my god, there's two of them," marvels Nick. Jess gets Paul a beer and tells the guys that Paul brought his violin and might play later but, Paul says, only if they don't mind being enchanted. Jess talks to Nick privately, telling him not to do that thing that he does. She tells him not to be mean or make his turtle face or talk about small business loans. She really wants to get to know Paul outside of school. Paul sits on the couch with Winston. He compares their living situation to "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Winston suggests a game. He'll say a word, Paul will say the first thing that pops into his head. Paul starts with kazoo, but Winston hasn't started the game. He tries boundaries (important), other people's stuff (private) and loud early morning sex (nice work if you can get it).
Nick joins and asks what they're up to. "Just two dudes, playing word association games, kicking back a couple of pumpkin ales," Paul says. Nick turns on football. Paul thinks The Lions play in Des Moines to which Nick responds "Mine are from Detriot." In the kitchen, Cece horrifies Schmidt by touching food without watching her hands. He tosses out an entire bowl of walnuts she tainted and yells at her. Paul remembers his grandmother and shows Jess a picture of her, saying they used to get in funny arm wrestling matches. Winston shares photos of his grandfather, including the day he tried to quit drinking and when he tried gelato. Schmidt needs walnuts. Paul can't drive because he's had two pumpkin ales (even though Nick says they're lagers), so Nick drives. Paul asks about law school, then says it's ok Nick dropped out because that's what your 20s are for. Nick's in his 30s. He also points out to Nick where he gets his copies.
They return and Paul tells Jess he doesn't think Nick likes him. Cece helps Schmidt mash potatoes, but playfully dabs some on his nose. He freaks out. There's a blast from the laundry room and a puff of smoke. Schmidt goes in for the bird and comes out with a charred corpse. The apartment fills with smoke. ("It's like a Prince video!") The guys bail and head to the bar. Paul tells them not to give up and tells Schmidt he wants to try the food he's been cooking all day. The guys all get on board and rally. They go to the neighbor's apartment. She's out of town, but Jess has a key for emergencies. (She gave the woman theirs because sometimes she has problems with her shower.) With everyone else inside, Jess shuts the door and stays in the hall to yell at Nick for not being nicer to Paul. Everyone inside can hear them. She thinks Nick doesn't think he's cool enough. Nick says it doesn't matter what he thinks because he's not the one who's going to have sex with Paul. Jess shouts that she does want to have sex with him, big time. She elaborates, citing positions like bear claw and gimme that hat.
Winston finally comes out in the hallway and tells them they can hear everything they're saying. Jess trys to cover and says they were rehearsing a play called "Big Time" about a man who loves a man named Paul and it's not very good... she then runs off apologizing. Schmidt offers that he's done "gimme that hat," but for him it was more like "here, take my hat." Schmidt finishes cooking while Paul tunes his violin. Cece talks to Jess, and assures her a normal guy would have left by now (after the 'Big Time' speech). Cece tells her she is turned on by Schmidt yelling at her. Paul tries to talk to Nick and cheerily tells him he feels sorry for him, because Nick will never dislike Paul more than he dislikes himself. Nick feels like Paul is only making things worse. Cece tries to instigate Schmidt again, but he says he'll never yell at her. She sticks her fingers in the food and licks them. He won't yell, but just gets totally grossed out.
Paul asks Jess if something ever happened between her and Nick, attempting to find the source for his distance. She denies it, and he says he wants to see her again, "big time," like the play. Winston assures Nick he really likes Paul. He asked his grandfather's name, which Nick has never done. Schmidt sets the table with food. Schmidt suggests Paul play something before they start. Nick sits down and starts eating green beans. Paul starts playing while Jess recites the school play. Paul dances around the living room to an open door and comes back shrieking "dead body." They've found Ms. Beverly. After the paramedics take the body away, Paul is totally shaken given the recent experience of his own grandmother passing. Schmidt invites him to Best Buy, they're getting a new dryer. He gets on the elevator and is joined by the paramedics wheeling the dead neighbor, who he can't seem to escape.
Later in line at Best Buy, Jess hears playful violining. Paul joins them. He says that after he got off the elevator ride from hell, when the paramedics told him to stop crying like a girl and he told them it was sexist, he decided life was too short. He brought everyone turkey subs. After many other customers in line accuse Paul of cutting, Nick goes to the back of the line so Paul can have his spot. Jess and Paul follow, along with everyone else. They marvel as Jess and Paul break out into their Thanksgiving jig again.
- Jess: "You heard me! Big-time! Okay? I want to take him down to Chinatown and slice him off a piece of this pumpkin pie, okay? I want to do all the things that you do in a bedroom, with him, okay? I want to 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, and the one that the figure skaters do, and the What's For Lunch, and...the Give Me That Hat!"
- Schmidt: "The most sexy holidays are the Fourth of July, uh, Independence Day, obviously, Women's History Month, and Christmas."
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