THE MINDY PROJECT Debriefing: Gotta use your inside voice, Mindy.

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Look at that, we’re back from another hiatus, and Mindy and Danny are still a legitimate couple! In more ways than one, if office gossip is to be believed. It seems like The Mindy Project spent its first two seasons building up their relationship, and now that it’s finally happened, we’re getting more than we bargained for when it comes to the personal details.

On the other hand, Danny Castellano has a lot in common with Magic Mike, because of course he does.

I’m gonna state this up front: I have a love/hate relationship with this show. Okay, that’s a little extreme. What I mean to say is, I love the idea of this show: I like watching an independent woman — a woman of color, no less — playing an intelligent, successful, hard-working professional, who does whatever she wants and to hell with glass ceilings and convention. I love Mindy Kaling, and think not only is she hilarious, but she has an endearing quality that makes her relatable, even when her character is completely off-the-wall. And I think Chris Messina has finally gotten the spotlight he deserves as an actor, after playing bit roles for so long.

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Courtesy Fox

Yet, The Mindy Project just never grabbed me, as much as I try to give it a shot. It’s got a lot of great elements, with a fantastic cast, but the tone is often hit-and-miss for my own personal tastes. (And that’s okay — I love a lot of shows others can’t stand. It’s the circle of TV life.) Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) has great one-liners, but she’s so shallow she makes it hard for me to cheer for her a lot of the time. Danny (Messina) is the crusty old man in the young, hot guy’s body, with all the snark that goes with that, but he can be downright mean sometimes. (I thought his disparaging Mindy’s weight in the first season was uncalled for.) Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) has great gags, but he’s also creepy. Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) has fantastic comedic timing, but is so seldom used. Jeremy (Ed Weeks) is… English. Peter (Adam Pally) is basically playing the same character he played on Happy Endings, only not gay and a doctor. All this to say that there are plenty of caveats for my impressions of this episode.

First, the good: I like that the writers stopped jerking viewers around, and they let Mindy and Danny get together, despite the roadblocks last year. It’s not that I think every show needs a romantic plot driving its stories, but I think given how they wrote Mindy and Danny’s feelings for one another, it was better to act on them sooner rather than later. And I like that it’s clear that they very, very much enjoy each other — and that apparently, Danny is a very generous lover, if you know what I mean. (You will, because that was one thing we were told in no uncertain terms.) It’s refreshing, especially when most shows try to act so coy about the will-they/won’t-they of the week.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Furthermore, I actually do applaud the show for going there about oral sex: it seems to be one of those things that is still taboo on network television, so I am impressed they were able to discuss it so freely in tonight’s episode. And that everyone, including the other men, gave Danny props for his approval rating in that domain. We need to see more of that on TV! Maybe the show had a hall pass for the night and thought they would use it as many times as they could before the censors catch on? Hopefully it’s a harbinger of things to come. Um, no pun intended.

On the flip side, though, one of my pet peeves about the show in general is that I feel like it sometimes tries too hard to be edgy and funny, instead of letting it flow naturally, and I kind of felt that tonight. Like how Mindy couldn’t stop discussing Danny’s bedroom skills with the office. Sure, the first joke about Danny’s oral sex prowess was amusing — and shocking, given how prudish network Standards and Practices can be — but by the third or fourth time the joke was repeated, it started feeling stale to me. Okay, we get it, Danny’s good in bed and Mindy’s a lucky woman, but what else is going on with them? Or are we to believe they’re in the honeymoon phase of their relationship that they’ve done nothing else but have sex or talk about having sex? Besides, does Mindy really not realize how awkward it is to basically be giving color commentary about her boyfriend on a loudspeaker?

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

In retrospect, maybe the superficiality was the point: we saw that Mindy and Danny were solving their boredom with each other’s interests with sex, which is to be expected at this point of their relationship, but it makes me wonder if the writers are going to have them evolve beyond that cliché. Their scene on the balcony after the disastrous party seemed to be pointing in the right direction: Danny finally confesses his stripper past, as well as the middle name he shares with his deadbeat father, and it’s the first indication of emotional intimacy I’ve seen between them, well, ever. Here’s hoping they keep going there, because as titillating as it is to imagine Danny making his girlfriend “melt” into the comforter, the show’s going to develop more layers if we see him actually lose some of those walls that kept him closed off from Mindy for so long.

Courtesy Fox

Elsewhere in the episode, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenny guest starred as Morgan’s ex-con cousin who tried to put the moves on Mindy, obviously to no avail. Oh, and Jeremy’s got the hots for Peter’s girlfriend.

I’m cautiously optimistic about seeing where the writers take us with Mindy and Danny, but they’re not out of the woods yet. Is Danny going to stop being so closed-off and actually, you know, talk to his girlfriend? Will Mindy learn that there are some things you just do not share with your co-workers, especially when one of those co-workers happens to be your boyfriend?

What’s your take on the Mindy premiere? Did you like how they handled Mindy and Danny? What made you laugh the most?

Nels
Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

One Response to THE MINDY PROJECT Debriefing: Gotta use your inside voice, Mindy.

  1. […] culture. (In fact, Kaling herself admitted on Twitter she was surprised this made to air.) Between the discussion of oral sex in the season premiere, and of anal sex here, Mindy has become an unexpected champion for women’s […]

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