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Paul Genzlinger is the musical theatre teacher at Jess' former school. He's a sensitive and amiable guy that plays the violin, and breaks into song at the drop of a hat, like Jess. He was very close with his grandmother, until she died shortly before Halloween 2011. The guys think he's a male version of Jess, and Nick dislikes him. He is the first guy Jess dates after Spencer, but they're only together a month before he tells her he loves her days before Christmas, and they break up. He returns later in season one when Jess "backslides" into bed with him, a reaction to Nick getting back together with his ex-girlfriend, Caroline. At the time, he's dating an Asian girl who looks and dresses a lot like Jess, named Jenn, and they soon become engaged.

History

Thanksgiving

From backstage, Jess is gleegully watching students perform the Thanksgiving musical at school, dressed as a giant turkey. Paul approaches to thank her for helping out backstage, telling her it's made a big difference. She smiles, and he nervously asks how her boyfriend is doing, so she admits that they broke up with a nervous, "Good riddance - just kidding!" before she asks about his plans for Thanksgiving. He tells her that he had intended to spend the holiday with his grandmother, but that she died just before Halloween. Suddenly, Jess realizes why the school's Halloween madrigal had been so deep, cutting to a memory of the kids, dressed in Halloween costumes, singing about the point of life itself. Paul is dressed as a giant yellow squash, and he's about to walk away to prepare the next section of the show when Jess stops him. She has an idea.

She arrives back at the loft with a huge frozen turkey, and informs the guys that she's going to cook Thanksgiving dinner for them - and for Paul - much to their surprise. None of them want to celebrate the holiday, but Jess doesn't take no for an answer, informing them that she's really excited about Paul because he's really hot and teaches at her school. Schmidt asks her to be honest, and wonders if she's named the turkey Paul. She hasn't - the turkey's name is Hank - she tells them, for Hanksgiving.

While Jess unloads her groceries, Winston asks if they'll be able to hang out with Paul or if "he's also a teacher." Jess insists that he's a total guy's-guy, who typically spent Thanksgiving with his now-deceased Nana. The guys aren't confident that they'll like him, and when Jess leaves the kitchen Winston tells the guys that they need to find out if Paul's cool enough to essentially become their fifth roommate. "We deserve to be happy," he says.

Jess has never made Thanksgiving dinner before, and she gets Schmidt to offer to cook it by promising to invite Cece, even though he thinks it's ridiculous that Jess asked a guy out on a first date on the least sexy holiday in America. Sexier options, he opines, would have been the Fourth of July, Women's History Month, and Christmas.

The next day, with just three hours before Paul is due to arrive, the turkey is still frozen solid. Nothing appears to work to defrost it, and Cece arrives to find Jess on the floor, hugging Hank with her whole body. Finally, the gang decides to defrost the turkey in the dryer, which just starts its spin cycle when Paul arrives early.

Still dressed in her baking clothes and with her hair a mess, Jess freaks out. She's not ready, but she goes to get the door anyway. Paul walks in carrying his violin, and Jess introduces him to her friends. To break the ice, Jess sings a Thanksgiving song she's made up on the spot - "It ain't so quirky to eat a lot of turkey, on a Thanksgiving day-ay-ay!" she chirps. At first nervous, he joins right in, responding, "My belly's wantin' something, a pie made out of pumpkin, in every gobble-gobble way-ay-ay!" He and Jess giggle to themselves as her friends look on, dumbfounded. Nick, especially, can't believe that "there's two of them!"

Jess gets Paul, who's talking to Cece, a pumpkin beer before she goes to get dressed, but runs back in to let the group know that Paul brought his violin for some entertainment. He stands up and says modestly, "Only if you don't mind being enchanted!" Jess and Cece chuckle, but Nick complains about just wanting to watch the game under his breath.

Annoyed, Jess pulls Nick aside and begs him to be nice to Paul and not make his usual "turtle face," because he's the first guys she's liked since Spencer. He agrees to help her out and be nice.

In the living room, Paul sits down with Winston and discusses the intimidating fact that Jess has guy roommates. He compares the situation to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, joking with Winston that he's probably the bear who's bed is just right. Perturbed, Winston suggests that they play a word association game. Paul loves the idea, and offers "kazoo," even though they haven't started playing yet. In playing the word game, Winston learns that Paul thinks boundaries are important, other people's stuff is private, and loud, early morning sex is nice work, if you can get some, before he blows on a kazoo he happens to have in his jacket pocket. Though he's slowly warming up to Paul, Winston still finds him strange.

They're interrupted then by Nick, who emerges from Jess' room with a coffee in hand, and he's immediately thrown off by Paul's insistence on calling him Nicholas. They disagree over whether the pumkin beer is an ale or a lager, and Paul appears to know more about the process of fermentation than Nick does, even though Nick is a bartender. But when Nick turns on the Lions game, Paul knows next to nothing about football - he assumes that the Lions are based in Des Moines, not Detroit.

Their awkward conversation is interrupted by Jess, who emerges from her room in a pretty red dress. Paul thinks she looks beautiful, and they laugh together when she asks, "What you gobblin' about, turkeys?"

At halftime of the football game, Paul grabs the remote and turns on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nick makes his turtle face, but doesn't object out loud, as Paul explains that he would always watch the parade with his Nana when she was alive. He pulls out his phone to show off a picture of her, remarking that they used to get into "the funniest arm wrestling matches," before Winston pulls out his own phone to show off pictures of his grandfather, Nelson, who died the year before. He and Paul bond even further.

In the kitchen, Cece has triggered Schmidt's intense germophobia and he's thrown out all the walnuts. He needs more, and Paul immediately offers to go get some. Except, he realizes, he's had two pumpkin ales and shouldn't be driving, so Jess offers Nick, who hasn't been drinking, to go with him. Nick could not be less enthusiastic, but remembers his promise to Jess, and goes with him.

As they drive to the store, Nick and Paul are struggling to make conversation. To fill the silence, Paul makes up a song about going to get walnuts, for which Nick calls him out. Paul asks about Nick's hometown - Chicago - and remarks that Thanksgiving in L.A. feels strange without an autumn crisp in the air. Nick is giving one-word replies, and Paul brings up what Nick does for a living. When Nick says he dropped out of law school with three semesters to go and works in a bar, Paul says that our twenties are for figuring it all out - to which Nick replies he's already 30. To fill yet another lull in the conversation, Paul notices the store Mr. Copy-Cat out the passenger side window, believing it to be where he gets his copies made, until he realizes that he uses their other location. Completely facetious, Nick feigns interest in their pointless, painfully awkward conversation.

Back at the loft, Schmidt is about to lose it with Cece as she makes a mess in the kitchen, when Nick and Paul return with the walnuts. He tells Jess that he doesn't think Nick likes him very much, and she tries to tell him that's not true before the dryer explodes with the turkey inside, filling the apartment with smoke.

While Nick, Winston, and Schmidt try to air the smoke out of the loft, Jess disappointedly laments a holiday gone wrong to her date from the hallway. He insists he's had a great time as he chokes from smoke inhalation, and the guys are about to head to the bar, because they can't stay in the loft. But Paul is insistent that they still find a way to enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner that Schmidt has been slaving over all day, even though they've barely spent time together and he doesn't remember Schmidt's name. He tells Schmidt that his last name is Genzlinger, and he wants to eat the food he's been making all day. Winston and Schmidt are both on board with "Genzlinger," so Nick has no choice but to go along.

Jess is struck by a sudden idea, grabbing a set of keys for Mrs. Beverly's apartment next door. She's out of town visiting her sister, Jess reveals, so Nick reminds her that breaking and entering is a felony. "Hey, law school - nice!" Paul cuts in, and Nick scowls as Jess explains that the two women have exchanged keys to water each other's plants and get the mail when they're away.

Once everyone else is inside Mrs. Beverly's apartment, Jess shuts her and Nick outside and calls him out for being rude to Paul even though she asked him to be nice. Nick admits that he doesn't like Paul, but asks Jess why it matters what he thinks as long as she likes him. Jess says that she likes Paul - a lot - and can't wait to have sex with him in all kinds of interesting ways - big time. Unfortunately, the door is thin and everyone can hear their entire conversation, which embarasses Paul as Schmidt, Cece, and Winston offer him a thumbs-up while Jess lists various sexual positions. Finally, Winston sticks his head into the hallway and assures her that they all really love Paul and can hear everything she's saying. Mortified, she steps into the apartment and tries to cover by suggesting that she and Nick were rehearsing a play he wrote, called "Big Time," that's not very good. No one quite knows what to say, especially Paul.

With dinner nearly ready, Paul is tuning his violin on the couch, while Nick drinks a beer and makes a turtle face. Paul catches him glaring at him and sits next to him on the couch to say something. He tells Nick that he doesn't care if Nick finds him annoying and instead feels sorry for him, because he knows that at this point in Nick's life, he'll never dislike Paul as much as he dislikes himself. This offends Nick, who calls Paul "Violin" as Winston listens intently.

He gets up and plays a few bars on his violin for Jess, who can't believe he hasn't left. Cece has assured her that, though Paul isn't a "normal guy," a normal one would have left long ago, but he's still there to hang out with her. Paul asks Jess if anything went on between her and Nick, like whether they might have dated, but she assures him that's not the case, perhaps too eagerly, before he admits that he'd love to see her again - "Big time."

Nick can't believe that Winston actually likes Paul, but Winston points out that Paul's a nice guy, and actually asked him his grandfather's name, which is something Nick has never done despite all the years they've been friends.

Finally, dinner is ready, and the gang gathers aorund the dinner table while Jess and Paul prepare to recreate the school's Thanksgiving madrigal for their friends. Schmidt, Cece, and Winston are excited for the performance, but Nick sits down at the table and scowls as the strains of Paul's violin pick up. Jess begins to narrate, but suddenly Paul is screaming - there's a dead body in the bathroom, and they all crowd around the doorway to find Mrs. Beverly, dead on the floor. Thanksgiving is officially over, as they have to call 911.

Paul is traumatized, Mrs. Beverly's corpse reminding him of his grandmother, and he wears a heat blanket while Jess and the gang escort him into the hallway. Schmidt invites Paul to Best Buy with them later, especially as now they need a new dryer, as he steps into the elevator. Paul is mortified when the EMTs wheel the dead body in with him. He hugs the wall of the elevator and looks ready to run, before the doors slide closed and trap him in with the body.

While the gang waits in a long line outside Best Buy, Jess is still mad at Nick for being rude to Paul, as they discuss their hunger because they never got to eat. Suddenly, the familiar strains of Paul's violin can be heard, and he joins them in line with turkey subs and a more positive outlook on life and death.

With Paul's arrival, a man behind them makes a huge deal about cutting in line, so Nick steps to the back in order to make room for Paul. But Jess and the gang step out with him, as Jess and Paul dance merrily to the back of the line, singing the Thanksgiving madrigal song.

"It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better," Schmidt surmises with a grin as he, Cece, Nick, and Winston observe how annoyingly perfect they are for each other.

Bad in Bed

Jess and Paul return to the loft following a date. They begin removing each other's clothes in the hallway and can't keep their hands off each other, and they don't notice Nick stir in the living room, where he had passed out on the couch.

They make it to Jess' bedroom and Paul asks if they're about to have sex, to which Jess says, "Of course!" before awkwardly singing a hard rock refrain about intercourse. Recognizing how weird she's being, she excuses herself to the washroom, where she attempts to give herself a pep talk to get over her nerves. Thinking that she's ready to take her relationship with Paul to the next level, she soon realizes that she's not, as they lie awkwardly in her bed. Jess apologizes, explaining that she hasn't slept with anyone but Spencer in six years, comparing first-time sex to starting a new job with a "really weird interview."

Paul insists that it's fine, but Jess wants to get over it - she vows to "take him to pound town" the next night, after another date. Paul's eyes grow wide as she describes having a "v-bomb on the p-bomb," and he nervously verifies whether he would have the p-bomb.

The next morning, Nick is discussing with Schmidt and Winston how much he hates getting his hair cut, because he always has to socialize with his hairdresser, when Jess walks into the kitchen and informs her roommates that Paul will be coming over that night and she's going to tap him like a maple tree. Nick asks why she's telling them this, and they recognize that she's nervous about it, even though she denies it out loud.

Later that day, Jess goes lingerie shopping with Cece, and admits that she's nervous because everything she knows about sex, she learned from Spencer or the Clinton impeachment trials. She wants to impress Paul, and purchases a starfish string-kini, joking that she hopes Paul brings some coral polyps to their date, because the starfish is hungry. Cece rolls her eyes and gets her friend to pay for the weird lingerie that's totally unlike her.

Arriving back at the loft with her shopping, Jess calls Paul to confirm their 8 o'clock date in Koreatown, throwing open Schmidt's laptop to check the address. But she's surprised to see that Schmidt has left porn open on the screen, and dives into five and a half hours of research that confuses her more than anything else.

She begs her roommates for help being good at sex, freaking out that she won't be able to please Paul. But she can't even get her questions out, and the guys manage to convince her that Paul loves porn like every other guy on Earth. She asks the guys if there are any trendy moves she should be doing, admitting that with Spencer she used the same four moves over and over for six years. Schmidt suggests role-playing, and debates with Nick whether or not choking is sexy. The conversation quickly devolves into a debate between the roommates over which one of them is best at sex, and Jess is relieved when Paul arrives at the loft to pick her up and save her from the competitive and awkward conversation.

Schmidt closes the laptop, which still has open porn on it, when Paul walks in, kissing Jess to greet her and calling her "Goose." He says hi to the guys, letting them know that the nickname comes from the phrase "Me gusta Jess." They don't care, but invite him to sit down with them on the couch while Jess tries to climb into her starfish lingerie in her room.

On their date, Jess is drinking wine and nervously brings up how excited she is to have sex that night. Equally nervous, Paul agrees and says that sex is the bomb - before he backtracks, thinking he sounds like a guy from Entourage. She asks if he likes porn, and Paul says no, but changes his answer when he asks Jess if she likes it, and she half-commits to a nod of her head. Their conversation grows progressively more awkward, and they drink their wine a little faster.

They get back to the loft and go to Jess' bedroom. She puts on an old-time newscaster's voice and strips down to her lingerie, which shocks Paul as she encourages him to play along with voices and "talk dirty." He adopts a Jimmy Stewart imitation, and she spanks him. He's getting progressively more nervous, and can't figure out how to get her out of her string-kini, calling it chain-mail before he abandons the voices. Jess pretends to be a lumberjack, pushes him onto the bed and cries that she's going to split him like a log, which scares Paul. He begs her to start over, going back to basics using their regular voices, and they start making out on the bed. He thinks this is nice, but suddenly Jess starts choking him. He can't breathe, and releases himself from her grip. Jess feels bad and offers to get him some water, but he says he's going to get some water at home. He can barely look at her as he slinks out the door, rubbing his sore neck.

The next morning, Jess walks into the kitchen. Nick asks how her night went, but it's clear it didn't go well when she realizes she's out of tea and tosses a handful of tennis balls into the living room in frustration. Nick and Winston go to her room to check on her, and she admits that the night was a disaster because she lightly choked him. Winston tells her that's what happens when you listen to Schmidt, and they both tell her to stop worrying about it because Paul is clearly crazy about her.

Later that day, Paul stops by the loft to talk about the night before. He tries to say hello to Nick, but as usual Nick doesn't want to talk to him. In the hallway with jess, Paul admits that Jess intimidates him, but says he's up for trying all the crazy sex stuff that she's into as long as they take it slow and don't use felt, choking, or bugs. He presses the button for the elevator and Jess admits that the night before was a low point for her, vowing not to do the crazy sex stuff and stepping into the elevator when it arrives, offering to walk him down to the lobby.

They start making out inside the elevator, and as one thing leads to another she presses the emergency stop button, and they have sex. When they finally let the elevator go, it opens again on the fourth floor, where Nick, Schmidt, and Winston are waiting for it on the other side. They invite Jess and Paul to join them at the movies, and Nick spots Jess' shoe lying alone in the corner of the elevator. She and Paul look guilty, but satisfied, as the elevator doors close again.

Trivia

  • Paul worked at the same elementary school with Jess, as a musical theatre teacher.
  • Paul used to spend every Thanksgiving with his grandmother, but she died about a month before Thanksgiving, while he was running the Halloween musical.
  • He can play the violin.
  • He and his grandmother would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together, and had "the funniest arm-wrestling matches."
  • He likes Air Bud 2, loves dogs, and likes to whistle. He gets his copies made at Mr. Copy-Cat.
  • He can do a bang-on Jimmy Stewart imitation.
  • He is an ugly crier.

Quotes

  • (To Jess, singing): "My belly's wanting something, a pie made out of pumpkin, in every gobble gobble way-ay-ay."
  • (To Winston): "It's like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Bet you're the bear who's bed is just right. Hmm?"
  • (To Nick): "I feel like you think I'm kind of annoying, and if that's the case, I don't care. I actually feel sort of sorry for you, because at this point in your life, I know that you'll never dislike me more than you dislike yourself."
  • (To Jess): "When I was on the elevator ride from hell, the coroners told me to stop crying like a girl. I told them that was sexist."

Episode Appearances

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