Original Air Date: Mar 26, 2013
Nick Miller Nick Miller, from the streets of Chicago, is back on those streets tonight. His conman father has passed away suddenly, teaching us all a very important lesson: when life gets serious, don’t get caught with a squeaky helium balloon voice. More importantly, always support your friends. The roommates accompany Nick to his childhood home, giving Jess—and all of us—a closer look at what makes our favorite turtle face so turtly.
Fears are faced, costumes are magically shrunk, buttons are buttoned, and the gang reminds us again that family comes in many forms.
As it turns out, Nick’s family is even messier than he is. He grew up shouldering the bulk of the responsibility around the house, which is surprising but also kind of perfect; worrying about your family’s well-being leaves little time to learn the fine art of washing your own towel. Expected to plan the entire (Elvis-themed) funeral, Nick falls right into old habits, crunching numbers, finding food, and calling for impersonators. It’s the eulogy he just can’t handle. He tries to delegate the job to Jess, but one race-horse con does not a eulogy make.
Meanwhile, Schmidt’s rattling through a list of funeral-avoiding excuses, most of which revolve around his buttons. Remote control suit aside, he’s really just terrified that the dead body might suddenly not be dead, so Winston plays a corpse for practice. The resulting fake eulogy (fauxlogy?) is classically Schmidt: it’s an absurd scenario to which he commits 100%, to the point that he panics when Winston moves at the end. Despite that, his fear seems to have been cured—or at least transferred to Winston. Watch out, dead bodies of the world; Schmidt is coming for you, and he’s not even afraid.
Nick shows up drunk at the funeral. He’s recruited a guy from the bar to dress like Elvis, but that guy’s in no better shape than Nick. His mom almost cancels the funeral, so Jess steps in, magically shrinks the King’s costume, and does her best “In the Ghetto.” The expressions on her roommates’ faces make this episode for me: Nick, in particular, is lovestruck (yeah, I said it), but Schmidt and Winston look just as proud. It’s a far cry from the early episodes, when Jess floundered around, well-meaning but awkward, while the guys cringed. They aren’t cringing now, and that’s the heart of the show.
Nick finds the courage to eulogize his dad, concluding that he’s not sure how good or bad his father was; he only knows that he’s going to miss him. Jess holds his hand, and the next day, even Nick’s mom has to admit that she’s glad he has someone to care for him. My roommate’s response: “Wait, are they officially together now?” Not officially, but that was the point of this episode. Labels aside, these people watch out for each other. That’s what makes the bigger Nick-Jess romance work—they might yell at each other while they’re making out on tables, but they’ll never stop caring.
So what did you think of “Chicago”? Did you enjoy the Miller clan? Are you as shocked as Nick’s brother that siblings can marry out of order? Would you dress up like Elvis for these people? Think about it.