Probably the main trait of Jess’ character on New Girl is the fact that she is incredibly awkward. In every episode, we’ve seen Jess do something cringe-worthy in the face of uncomfortable moments. What “Bad in Bed” does is throw Jess into the most intimate of situations, intercourse (or as she puts it “v bomb on p bomb,” “tapping the maple tree,” etc.) and leaves her floundering, overcompensating and freaking out.
After a date with Justin Long’s Paul, Jess and her new romantic interest head back to her apartment for the night. Everything seems like it should go well, but after a bathroom pep talk Jess has in the mirror prior to the big event, we see that the night has ended up with Jess apologizing to Paul in bed after nothing has happened.
The episode becomes Jess trying to overcompensate for her awkwardness. She goes to buy incredibly confusing lingerie with Cece, watches over five hours of porn on Schmidt’s computer and has a talk with the guys about what she is doing wrong. This talk leads to some big problems on their second go around, including ending up in “sex talk,” where Jess pretends to be an old lady and Paul raises the creepiness factor with a Jimmy Stewart impression as he gets spanked. After Jess takes Schmidt up on his advice to try some light choking, Paul rightfully runs away. By the end though, Jess and Paul do what they should have from the beginning, not be so worried and be themselves and everything will go naturally.
“Bad in Bed” offers subplots with the roommates that start promising but don’t really go anywhere. Nick’s insecurity over getting a haircut, which features a hilarious flashback to past unusual haircut experiences, moves into Nick going to Winston’s barbershop and leaves him coming back with a haircut that would fit in in the movie House Party.
Schmidt gets more screen time with his plot, as we get to see his all-female office and the sexism that occurs against him there. This side story does have some good laughs at Schmidt’s expense. When he gets invited to a baby shower, he confuses afterbirth for literally a party that happens after the birth (“you know what they say, an afterbirth ain’t an afterbirth without some Schmidt up in there”) and an unusual cutaway of Schmidt eating candy out of a baby bottle. But after he pushes his boss in her pool to give her a great night, his plot ends with a girl leaving Schmidt’s room with a pacifier around her the next morning, and that’s the end.
New Girl has always been at its best when it gets weird with the humor. The aforementioned baby shower and Nick and Winston watching a guy cut his own hair on YouTube all supplied surreal moments that are odd enough just to fit right in with the show. But the show’s problem with balancing all four characters into a great episode still seems to be a consistent problem. The guy roommates all have stories that fizzle out, and Jess’ story comes to the logical conclusion that everyone told her to come to before the halfway point. “Bad in Bed” has some hilarious moments, but that doesn’t pay off if the story and characters aren’t there to back it up.