The Mindy Project Review: Mindy Says Goodbye in “It Had to Be You”

Image result for morgaan and tamra's wedding the mindy project

The Mindy Project is a show that I’ve consistently liked and often loved throughout its six-season run. The last couple of seasons haven’t been quite as sharp as the first few; much as it pains me to say, it was never quite the same once Chris Messina departed as a series regular. Mindy was at her best when she had a great foil, romantic or otherwise, and they never found one quite as good as Danny. Weirdly though, even though it led to a bit of a decline in the show’s quality, I was happy when, and am still happy that, Mindy broke up with Danny. At that point, he’d become insufferable, shown that he wasn’t the dream guy or even a good guy at that time in his life. More importantly, Mindy making that heartbreaking choice was her biggest piece of character development in the entire series.

That was a defining moment for The Mindy Project as well; it showed that, while the show loved romcoms, it didn’t have to be one. They deconstructed but never mocked the genre and proved that, even if Mindy Lahiri adored the idea of a romcom-worthy romance, she knew she was the heroine of her story, not the co-lead. She could want but didn’t need a man to be happy.

Impressively, though, she never gave up on the fantasy of love or became disillusioned with it. After all the romantic lows in her life: the breakups, the failed engagements, the recent divorce, in this series finale, Mindy was still a woman who believed in love as much as she did at the start of the series, a woman who ran across New York City to prove it.

Romcoms are all about the endings: the romantic gestures, the declarations of love, the “I run to you”s, moments so big they almost make you forget everything that came before. Our favorite movies are known for one unforgettable scene: a kiss in the rain, a proposal in broken Portuguese, countless sprints through airports. But this was about a woman discovering that perhaps the messy middle of a romcom is more satisfying than the fairytale ending. In a show that both deconstructed and paid homage to the genre, how appropriate that it subverted it with its ending: a quiet moment of Mindy watching TV with the father of her child, a man she loves not because he’s perfect but because he’s trying.

For me, the best shows are the ones where you can’t predict the outcome of the series finale while you’re watching the pilot because the characters have grown and changed and evolved so much throughout the course of the show’s run. Watching the first episode of The Mindy Project, I never would have predicted that this simple, everyday ending is what would make Mindy happiest. And I’m so, so glad that’s the case.

What did you think of The Mindy Project‘s series finale? Let me know in comments!


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Review: The Mindy Project 4.18 and 4.19

I’m making this one a combo review because I thought last week’s episode was great but didn’t get a chance to write about it.

That episode found Mindy exploring her heritage, making her first Indian friend and having Leo take part in a traditional Mundan ceremony. This season has shown a more grounded side of Mindy (both the character and the show itself), and this storyline was a nice example of that. Mindy had a genuine curiosity about her background that was both mature and believable, especially when she took Neel’s rejection as an opportunity to learn rather than being offended by it. It was also sweet to see Mindy’s whole family together; aspects of her personality always become clearer when you see who she got them from. Her parents reassuring her that every baby cries during the ceremony was a nice moment too, and I’m glad that she ended up having Leo finish it.

That story ended with a great Mindy/Danny conversation about things that are important to each of them as parents, and it was nice to see them actually respecting and listening to one another (especially Danny, who I fully expected to overreact to Leo’s new ‘do).

Both last week’s and this week’s episode featured the delightful Lauren Cohan, who I’ve loved since her stint on Chuck. Her character Ashley was great, not only because she showed a nice side of Jody, but also because I love seeing a fun, flirty, unapologetic virgin on TV. A lot of times shows stick to the kind of homely, awkward stereotype who feels like he or she has something to be ashamed of, and Ashley’s a more realistic alternative to that. I also like that she stood up for herself with both Morgan and Jody, recognizing that she wasn’t top priority for either of them, though it is a bummer that we probably won’t see more with her character because of it. Granted, Cohan’s a tiny bit busy with The Walking Dead, so I know it was never designed to be a long-term thing.

This week’s episode also had Mindy reuniting with Casey, and while it’s always fun to see one of Mindy’s exes, I’m glad that it didn’t take her long to realize that getting back together with him was a bad idea. Mindy’s grown a lot since they dated, and they’re even less compatible now than they were then. There’s potential with Casey’s friend; they had decent chemistry, and even though he was kind of a jerk in the beginning, I appreciated that he was so protective of his friend.

That being said, I really do want to see Jody and Mindy actually make a go of it. I get that it’s awkward if she’s talking about having feelings for someone else, but she’s also uncharacteristically oblivious to his feelings for her, so I think he’ll have to just admit it eventually. She should kind of already know because of that almost coffee date a few eps back, but I’d understand if she took his abrupt cancellation as a lack of interest.

A couple of other thoughts on this ep:

Jody’s wardrobe transformation was spectacular (hello sir!), but I loved Ashley, Morgan, and Tamra’s descriptions of him beforehand even more, especially Tamra’s spot-on observation that he dresses like the narrator in a play.

The Buchanan musical bit was amazing, especially Jeremy’s obsession with it, though it did point to his inconsistent characterization. I’ve talked about this before, but I never know if he’s supposed to be a charming cad or an adorable nerd. It’s not that he can’t be both, just that he seems to favor one over the other depending on the episode instead of having one cohesive personality.

What are your thoughts on these episodes? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Mindy Project 4.17

I liked this one a lot, and it was the rare instance of a half-hour show juggling a lot of elements and actually doing them all justice. We had several guest characters and fully-formed A and B stories, yet the episode never felt too busy. It helped that everything was at least somewhat connected to Mindy’s dating life; I always like when there’s a common thread.

Mindy’s dating escapades were totally in-character (I completely understood why she wanted to get back out there) and let Eliza Coupe’s Chelsea pop up very believably. Mindy turning down the porker showed how she’s grown to demand respect, especially from herself. She knew that hookup didn’t feel right, so she didn’t do it rather than pushing through with the single-mindedness that Mindy of a few years ago favored. She and the bartender were cute together, and, while I liked their encounter for what it was, I also wouldn’t hate seeing him again. The problem is that Mindy Kaling has chemistry with pretty much everyone; she’s becoming the sitcom version of Lauren Graham. Bringing me to…

Jody, who tried to get the letter back, realized he did have feelings for Mindy and sweetly asked her out, only to get scared away by Danny. And ugh, that moment! For one, reading a gal’s mail is not a great thing, and the fact that Danny went straight to Jody instead of Mindy just illustrated how little he cares about Mindy’s agency. Then, when Jody very logically pointed out that he should consider what Mindy wants, Danny had the nerve to say that it didn’t matter. That right there is his relationship with Mindy in a nutshell, and it’s exactly why she broke up with him. If Mindy ever forgives him, then he has to let go of the terribly sexist idea that a woman’s opinion matters less in a relationship, otherwise his relationship with Mindy will never be a healthy one. Right now, I really need Danny to remind me why I once liked him, and he sure didn’t do that here.

I hope it’s not the end of the road for Mindy and Jody, not because I necessarily want them to be together, but because there’s potential there, and I’d like to see how it shakes out. I also don’t love the idea of Danny getting away with putting a stop to it, so I would like to see them pursue it just for that reason. If they don’t because they don’t want to that’s one thing, but their canceled coffee date made it pretty clear that they’re both still interested.

Finally, I have to give a shout out to the Elementary viewing party, which was one of the most wholly entertaining subplots in recent memory. Everything about it was a ton of fun, including Jody’s suggestion that they say grace, Jeremy’s costume, Beverly’s commercial theory, and the sheer number of people that were apparently interested in watching a CBS procedural in a group setting. This show loves a weirdly specific pop culture reference, and this was another hilarious example.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Hit the comments and let me know!

Review: The Mindy Project 4.16

This one felt like a filler episode to me: entertaining enough, but without much to write home about. The biggest moment was definitely Jody’s letter writing snafu, and I’m excited to see the repercussions of that next week.

Mindy’s money storyline at first felt like a variation of something we’ve seen before, with her blatant irresponsibility even harder to buy now that she’s a successful business owner and parent. However, it took a nice right turn at the end with Mindy admitting that some of her expenses are a little harder to justify with a kid around and that being a hard thing to come to terms with.

Whitney’s character was a fun foil for Mindy (I liked her a lot last time she was on, and I’ve loved Cristin Milioti since HIMYM‘s otherwise terrible final season). She and Mindy are both very successful individuals, and I enjoyed the reminder that there isn’t only one personality type that’s capable of achieving that.

I speculated last week that we’re headed for a Mindy/Jody romance, and this episode seemed to suggest that with Jody writing Mindy the letter expressing his feelings (and I loved that that method of communication showed what an old-fashioned guy he is, even more so than Danny in a lot of ways). I’m still not sure how I feel about the two of them as a potential couple, but I’ve enjoyed their friendship so far. If the letter actually makes it into Mindy’s hands, I’m curious to see what her reaction will be.

I wasn’t crazy about Jeremy’s storyline, mostly because it further proved that the show has no idea what to do with him. He’s funniest to me when he’s kind of wallowing and down on his luck (something they delved into a bit last season), but this year he’s mostly been kind of a cad, like was here, or just nonessential. I would have enjoyed his storyline more had he actually been dating Juliette, opinions be damned. I am glad that it led to that great moment where Juliette pointed out the hypocrisy of it being fine for guys to date younger women but gross when women do the same thing; this show has always excelled at shooting down casual misogyny in a very believable way.

One last note: still no Danny? I know there’s been some chatter about Chris Messina exiting the show, and this isn’t exactly easing my mind…

What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments!