Review: The Mindy Project 4.01

Summary: Fresh off her fight with Danny, Mindy has a Sliding Doors-esque dream where she’s married to a rich producer and Danny’s dating Freida Pinto. In the real world, Danny and Morgan help Mindy’s parents find a husband for Mindy, with Danny working up the courage to admit he’s Mindy’s baby daddy in the process.

Best Scene: In a lovely final moment, Danny and Mindy both realize their relationship means more than their conflicting thoughts on marriage, which Danny proves by proposing bedside.

Best Line: It’s a toss up between “It’s boring as hell to wait in a long line for one stupid chip!” and “His office hours are poorly attended because he teaches it right the first time.”

My Review: Whew. I won’t lie; I was nervous going into this one. As some of you probably remember, I was a little disappointed with last season’s finale, and you never know what will happen creatively when a show makes a distribution move (mainly because it happens so rarely), but I’m happy to say that I loved this premiere, and it made me feel like the move to Hulu is only going to improve this already great show.

Since I’m on the topic, let me talk a little bit about why I think the show benefited from this move. I think the biggest advantage is extra time. This episode clocked in at twenty eight minutes, something that wouldn’t have been possible on Fox. Those few extra minutes allowed the episode to breathe in a way that definitely benefited the story, especially because it had two A-plots. The episode didn’t feel noticeably longer, but scenes were given a little more time to reach their full comedic and emotional potential, which made the story that much stronger. Another difference (though not particularly good or bad) was the content disclaimer beforehand. I know Mindy Kaling has said in interviews that they don’t plan on taking advantage of their new freedom on that front, which seems like a smart move. This show’s brand of sly/sexy humor works perfectly for it, and it was good to see it confirmed in this episode (which was actually tame by Mindy‘s standards) that they don’t plan on deviating from that too much.

Like I mentioned, we had two different stories in this episode that were given pretty equal focus: Mindy’s crazy dream and Danny and Morgan’s adventures in India. We didn’t see the rest of the cast at all and, while appearances by Jeremy, Beverly, and Tamra are always welcome, I don’t think they were needed in this episode. Since it ended with such a big Mindy/Danny moment, it made sense for this one to be focused on the two of them. Plus, with all of the guest stars, it stopped the episode from feeling too crowded. I am hoping that the longer episodes will give the supporting cast more time to shine this season. I definitely wouldn’t complain about seeing more shenanigans at the practice, and those actors/characters have certainly earned some more screen time.

Alternate universe episodes are done fairly often on TV, but I still get really excited about them. It’s always fun to see the characters you love rearranged a bit, especially when you go in knowing it’s only temporary. It’s also interesting to see how a show makes this trope their own, and I thought it made total sense that TMP‘s version happened in Mindy’s head. Not only did we get her hilarious internal dialogue as she explored this new world, we also got the sight gags of Mindy eating seashell chips and sitting on Freida Pinto. However, as often happens on this show, it wasn’t all fun and games, and there was a gooey emotional center to the whole dream experience: a realization about Mindy’s real-life relationship with Danny.

Mindy’s progression in the dream world mirrored her journey throughout the series in a lot of ways. Her life seemed perfect at first, with all of the things she thought she wanted: a hot, rich, semi-famous husband, gorgeous apartment, beautiful clothes, etc. That’s how she started the series as well, dating guys that weren’t right for her because they fit her checklist of what she wanted in a husband. But just as dream Mindy slowly discovered the flaws in her “perfect” life (and made her way back to dream Danny), real-life Mindy has discovered over the course of the series that she deserves the best in her personal and professional life. And that doesn’t mean the glossy sheen of a marriage that looks great but means nothing. It means a relationship with a dependable, kind, sometimes gruff guy who loves her as much as she loves him, even if said relationship doesn’t end in marriage.

We saw Mindy come to this realization in the dream first, as she discovered where it all went wrong there and asked Danny why he hadn’t kissed her. In typical Mindy/Danny fashion, it was a little heartbreaking at first because it’s easy to imagine Danny making that choice. It spoke to the reservations Danny has always had about commitment and Mindy’s frustration with that. But ultimately, dream Danny does kiss Mindy, after, in perfectly prickly Danny fashion, telling her not to do it herself.  I’m a sucker for a rain-soaked kiss, and this AU ended the way the best ones do: with the realization that a couple that’s truly meant to be will wind up together regardless of their circumstances.

While Mindy was on her dream journey, Danny was on one of his own with Mindy’s parents, as they showed him how good marriage can be, leading him to realize that maybe it’s something he wants after all. Before I get in to Danny’s discovery here, let me talk about Mindy’s parents for a second, because I absolutely loved them. They were crazy charming (and they needed to be so the arranged marriage bit would come off as sweet rather than controlling), with their love of Bollywood and Boston and I love that they had a flair for the dramatic and modern just like their kids (“Ex-squeeze me?!”), while still feeling like parents. I also loved how supportive they were of each other, the perfect couple to show Danny just how wonderful marriage can be, and why it’s so important to Mindy.

It was very in-character of Danny to be scared to admit who he was for awhile, going so far as to help choose a future husband for Mindy. Only on this show would that crazy situation be a sweet way for Danny to show Mindy’s parents how well he knows their daughter. I also enjoyed the role Morgan played in this episode; it was fun to see him be hard on Danny because of how much he wants Mindy and Danny to be happy, and his forcefulness was definitely needed here. His asides about his adventures in Pakistan also provided some of the episodes most humorous moments.

Danny’s final realization about his relationship with Mindy (discovered sweetly in front of her parents) was well-earned and had me so excited for what was coming next. Danny proposing to Mindy bedside (at the exact moment she woke from her dream with a realization of her own) was pitch perfect, exactly the kind of proposal I wanted for the two of them. Danny’s line “I’d like to be wrong” will go down as one of my favorites from him, especially because it’s hardly ever true in his life. This is a couple that deals in epiphanies and big moments, and I love that this proposal came when they both realized that they would give up what they wanted for the other. That’s the sign of one strong couple and, happily, one that’s ready to walk down the aisle.

What are your thoughts on the premiere? Bets on when we’ll see the baby/wedding? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Mindy Project 4.01

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