At long last, The Mindy Project is back in my life, and it feels pretty darn good. Much as the midseason finale (and really, the entire run of episodes leading up to it) broke my ‘shipper heart, I was impressed by the show’s commitment to putting a serious kink in Mindy and Danny’s relationship instead of coasting on the humor born out of their differences. Pain often makes for good comedy, but it’s not a well they’ve gone to very often in the past. This has led to an unexpected tonal shift, one that’s been executed quite well.
Mindy Kaling has talked about season four being the post-credits part of a rom com (she did a great interview here where she talked about it quite a bit). In this episode, for Danny and Mindy that meant putting their wedding off indefinitely, returning a ring, breaking it to both their real son and the man who thinks he is (here’s looking at you, Morgan), and then, inevitably, falling back into bed with each other. After all, it’s easy to forget why you ended a relationship once you’re free of it.
That beat was a big part of what made this episode painfully realistic. I completely understood Mindy wanting the security of their relationship again. But, as she knew deep down because she left the guy for a reason, Danny isn’t the person to give her that security right now. Instead, he’s sleeping with other women, a tough pill for both his former fiancée and fans of their relationship to swallow. Mindy left, I get that. If Danny wants to move on, he has a right to do so, but his behavior towards her indicated that that wasn’t the case. He was more than happy to invite her over for pasta and sex, something that I could maybe chalk up to him seeking that security that Mindy wanted, if not for his other actions. He ignored Mindy when she tried to talk about something important and then told her that “guys have needs that women don’t.” Put it all together, and he came across as kind of a horn dog, for lack of a better term.
What’s odd, though, is that this behavior, which would have bummed me out last season, didn’t bother or surprise me all that much in this episode. Instead of being angry at Danny for his misogynistic attitude, I was simply proud of Mindy for calling him out on his ridiculous summation of their breakup and eventually telling him that they were done. She showed an admirable self-awareness of her tendency to revert to what’s comfortable, even if it’s not what makes her happy.
This episode made me realize that I view the show through a different lens than I used to. It’s been easy to get caught up in the Mindy/Danny romance, but this season has reminded me that this is Mindy’s story. She’s our plucky heroine, and Danny is a side character, not a hero with equal billing. I’m not bitter about it, but it means that I’m no longer rooting for their relationship. Instead, I’m rooting for Mindy and her happy ending. If she decides that Danny’s a part of that ending, that his flaws aren’t deal breakers, that he’s ultimately the man for her, then I will happily get back on board the ‘shipper train. Until then, I’m content to watch Mindy figure it out for herself.
Other thoughts on this episode:
Jody and Mindy’s relationship has evolved into something sort of cool and unexpected. He and Danny are both fairly sexist, but there’s an interesting juxtaposition in that his outdated notions of women don’t stop him from respecting Mindy, while Danny’s often do. Jody proved this when he called Mindy a role model, a completely accurate assessment. It was great to see her thriving professionally in this episode, spring break kerfuffle aside.
The subplot with Morgan and Seth Meyers was wacky and hilarious, the kind of offbeat story that only this show could pull off. I loved the idea of the whole city of New York coming together to mourn Frisbee’s disappearance; the references sprinkled throughout added a nice bit of levity. Also, I would definitely watch a whole episode of awkward Morgan television appearances.
I completely understood Tamra’s concerns about being too old to understand what the kids are into these days. The first time my little sister texted me that something was “on fleek” I thought it was a typo.
Finally, can we acknowledge that Mindy blew off her chance to see Hamilton?! Danny’s cute and all, but Hamilton!
What are your thoughts on this episode and Mindy’s final decision? Hit up the comments, and let me know!