“The Box” starts off with Schmidt, unable to sleep, overwhelmed by cheater’s guilt. He becomes obsessed with finding out if people see him as a good person, at the expense of personal space and humility. Jon Lovitz makes a cameo as Schmidt’s rabbi and gets to utter the gem: “They used to call me ‘The Octopus’.” (You’ll get it later.)
Schmidt sets out to prove that he’s a good person, only to save a messenger biker who had started choking and laud himself as a hero. Schmidt later asks the bedridden biker, “What is the point of being a good person?” The biker responds, “Some say moral integrity is the cornerstone to humanity”—to which Schmidt retorts, “What do you know, you idiot? You choked on a piece of gum today.”
Nick gets a visitor in the form of a seedy man with a paper bag in hand. It turns out that Nick is due $8,000 as an execution of his father’s will.
Nick, notoriously frugal, is suddenly filled with wide-eyed ideas of how to spend his “fortune.” Jess suggests that Nick should open up a bank account, to which he replies, “A bank is just a paper bag with fancier walls.”
As Nick is burning through his money at the local mall (sneakers that aren’t even his size, a framed portrait of himself, etc.) Winston admits to Jess that Nick owes him nearly $2,000—which leads to Jess discovering “The Box” in Nick’s room.
“The Box” is a large cardboard box in Nick’s room, filled with things he doesn’t want to deal with. It’s chock-full of documents that indicate that Nick has a mountain of debt and has made some truly terrible life decisions. Jess tries to help Nick sort out his debt issues. Cue the relationship-endangering argument.
Somehow, this fight leads to another affirmative step in Nick and Jess’s relationship. Not only that, but Winston is again the voice of reason for Schmidt’s misplaced morality quest, telling him that he’s a good man that did a bad thing.
“The Box” isn’t as laugh-out-loud as other episodes, but it’s an important episode in terms of the group’s progress. Schmidt is slowly becoming self-aware, Jess and Nick are growing up together, and Winston is the sagely light that guides their way.
Den of Geek Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars