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The Mindy Project

So, “Mindy” fans, am I the only one experiencing a little déjà vu? It seems we’ve come full circle with this week’s “The Mindy Project,” as I suspected. As if we hadn’t backtracked enough by splitting up Danny and Mindy and resetting them to earlier in the season, they’re now heading down the same clichéd rom-com path they went down before.

Don’t get me wrong, this episode is still hysterically funny, and I’m glad they’re heading back into the potential romance. I actually feel clichés are almost a necessary evil (to a degree), especially when it comes to romantic comedies. But “The Mindy Project” is so brilliant at taking situational clichés and turning them on their heads. It’s just the plot clichés here that are the same, and don’t seem necessary. They didn’t need to reset and rehash them so quickly.

So, Danny is still in a relationship with Peter’s sister Sally, despite the very obvious age difference between them (she thinks Danny’s complaining is him playing an “old man” character). I’m surprised Danny’s still with Sally, as I’d think he’d want to take some time off too.

Mindy, on the other hand, reflects back on all her failed relationships during the course of the show (“from the tall and white to the short and white”), and decides to take a break from men. She puts pictures of all her exes, including Danny, into a “heartbreak box.”

Of course, leave it to swearing off men to summon a handsome stranger: in this case, Mindy’s patient’s father, Charlie Lang (played by a grizzled Tim Daly), a hard-nosed detective who wants to protect his daughter, Jenny (and looks and sounds too much like Danny). When Mindy provides Jenny with birth control pills, he goes ballistic and yells at her. Welcome, new (temporary) Mr. Darcy.

By the way, I’d love for them to come up with some different names: most of the names on the show end in an e sound: Mindy, Danny, Sally, Jenny, Charlie, Jeremy, Betsy, Beverly. The only exceptions are Peter, Morgan, and Tamra (oh, and Lawyer Cliff).

While riding the subway with Sally, Danny befriends Rabbi David Alder (played brilliantly by Peter MacNicol) when he rescues him from some bullies. Seeing the name Shulman and Associates on Danny’s bag, the rabbi assumes Danny is Dr. Shulman—a good Jewish boy. Before Danny can correct the misunderstanding, Rabbi Adler mentions the prospect of thousands of patient referrals, so Danny goes along with it.

I’m starting to hate that ploy. One person assumes something is true, and then doesn’t let the other person speak long enough to correct the mistake. It’s pretty rude behavior, frankly, and the device is getting overdone. Of course, without it, there’d be no secondary plot for this episode.

Rabbi Adler invites Danny to Shabbos dinner with his family, and Danny brings Peter—apparently the resident Jew—with him in case he makes any goyish mistakes. Peter’s charming them all, until they learn that he’s not circumcised. Apparently Peter’s just not that Jewish. (That strikes me as one of those rules you’d want to follow, regardless of how many others you decide to ignore.)

Meanwhile, Mindy comes home to find Jenny waiting at her door, hoping to get out from under her dad’s control. Mindy lets Jenny stay with her a while, and allows her to invite “a few friends” over—which of course turns out to be a sex party. Even Morgan (who Jenny has a crush on) is there, handcuffed to Jenny’s bed.

Jenny’s dad clears out the party and takes Jenny home, but not before allowing Mindy to give her a little talk. Jenny mistakes Mindy’s heartbreak box for a box of conquests, and Mindy explains the importance of making good decisions, without letting guys get in the way of that.

Back at Shabbos dinner, Peter again plays the voice of reason, pointing out to Danny that he’s lying to himself about Sally and that he really wants to be with Mindy. (I guess it’s just easier to see faults in others than in yourself). Danny hears it but doesn’t believe him, until he sees the Rabbi on the subway again, this time while he’s with Mindy. Rabbi Adler sees the love Danny has for Mindy (who he thinks is Sally), and tells him to follow it, since they’re clearly meant to be together.

Well, we knew that! So we’ve come full circle: Danny realizes that he loves Mindy and decides to break up with Sally, while Mindy decides she’s now interested in the cop—especially after he flirts with her, sort of, in his bizarre, sexist way (in front of Kathleen Kelly’s Pub, btw): by writing her a ticket for jaywalking.

Haven’t we done this before? Yes, I love the two wonderful moments between the couple in this episode: one in the office break room where Danny tries to cheer up Mindy, and the other on the subway when Mindy gets tangled up in her earbuds (does Mindy always need that much help, or is it just timing?). These moments remind us how wonderful their friendship is, even without romance, while showing hints of their deeper feelings for each other. But I’m sure Danny and Mindy will reconnect by the finale, which makes this whole breakup even more like a writers’ ploy to draw out the tension.

But it’s still a hysterically funny episode, as evidenced by my favorite lines:

Detective Lang (to Beverly): “Susan Robinson?”
Beverly: “No, I’m Beverly Something.”
Betsy (to Beverly): “What is your last name?”

Detective Lang: “I could get you on the no-fly list like that.”
Mindy: “Joke’s on you ’cause I’m already on it!”

Mindy: “My cardiologist says I’ll be dead at 50.”
Danny: “That’s very generous.”

“This feels inappropriate even to me, and I have no sense of boundaries.”—Mindy

“Harry Connick Jew, everybody.”—Peter, after Danny sings the prayer

“Oh my god, it’s like a Cognac ad in here.”—Mindy

“My apartment is not a place for sensuality, it’s a place for repressed sexuality, It’s a place where you order Chinese food, you cuddle, and you fall asleep, too full to have sex.”—Mindy

“Danny, there is a civil war general who is pointing and waving at you.”—Mindy

“My family will be telling the story of the lying goy and the Jew with the baggy schmeckle for as long as I’m alive.”—Rabbi Adler

Mindy: “Why do you think I’m swearing off men?”
Jenny: “Because you slept with all of them?”

So what did you think, “Mindy” fans? Will Danny and Mindy reconnect by the finale? Do you also find they’ve gone in circles, or are you enjoying the ride too much to care? Chime in below.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Fwiw, Mindy Kaling and Joanna Garcia are the same age. So it’s not an age thing but a personality thing.

    I’ll be glad if Mindy and Danny get back together — the show is just funnier when they’re in scenes together.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Alexandra.

    Just because the actresses are the same age doesn’t mean their characters are. I had the very strong impression that Sally is younger than Peter (and Mindy and Danny)–or at least less mature. But we really don’t know much about her.

    I definitely agree that the show is funnier when Danny and Mindy are together. 🙂

  3. I didn’t see the break up as a writer’s ploy so much as Danny freaking out and ending things before he got too close and screwed it all up(in his mind). And I think it was very true to character, btw. I also think it was an important road block for them to hit NOW, rather than later, a large New Girl. I hope they get together and I hope it lasts. They have so much chemistry and such great scenes.

    • Thanks for commenting, Meg.
      I can definitely see that Danny would freak out about the relationship, and I think you’re right that it’s true to his character. I’m always annoyed and aware of characters behaving uncharacteristically, and I didn’t feel that with Danny. But why do you think it was important for them to do it now? (I’m not sure what you mean by “a large New Girl,” but I’m also behind a couple episodes.) I feel like they could have stretched it out before getting too involved; ie: he could have kissed her on the plane and then immediately said, “that was a mistake.”

      • “A large” was an autocorrect… I meant “a la.” I’m happy they didn’t immediately say that it was a mistake. Because it wasn’t. The timing was off and Danny panicked after getting what he’s been wanting for so long… but the kiss was not a mistake. I think it was great for us to see them together, but… for their sustainability as a couple, breaking up now over Danny’s panic and fear, is way better than waiting until they get deep enough in that a breakup would be irreversable…and if they had said right away “this is a mistake.” There is no way they’d know what they’re missing right now…

        • Ah, stupid autocorrect. 🙂

          I’m also glad they didn’t say it was a mistake right away. I agree that’s it’s not a mistake, and I don’t think it would’ve worked to say so. I suppose the relationship could be irreversible if they broke up later, but it just zipped through their time together so quickly. I just wanted more (as I’m sure there will be).

  4. Oh man, I want to see more of them together so much, too!! I think them being together will be good for the site, and I’m a little in love with Danny… ha!

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