THE MINDY PROJECT Debriefing: It’ll be the Falklands all over again

mindy cast

Ah, it’s a bit of a comedy of errors on The Mindy Project this week. Mindy (Mindy Kaling) is forced to play doctor(-mentor) with interns or else risk losing the clinic’s hospital affiliation, to predictably screwball results. Meanwhile, an accident leaves Danny (Chris Messina) in some hot water, and he has to race against the clock to fix it, with Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) and Jeremy’s (Ed Weeks) help, before Mindy gets home and finds out. Hijinks!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Mindy and Danny squabble over sleeping arrangements: Mindy wants to sleep on his side of the bed, since that is her side at home, which she never gets to sleep in anymore because he refuses to stay over at her place. (I don’t blame Danny on that one: I don’t like sleeping anywhere by my place, either, if I can help it.) After some prodding, Danny finally relents and agrees to spend the following night at her apartment, but when Mindy is forced to work at the hospital overnight, he’s left alone in her den of overstuffed pillows and scented candles. Buzzing from a “neck massager” (heh) leads him to Mindy’s nightstand, where he finds her diary, and in a moment of weakness he decides he’s found his new reading material for the night!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Unsurprisingly, the passages we’re privy to have to do with Danny, from their first meeting as interns, to their frustrating bickering as co-workers, to their first hookup and current coupledom. I actually thought this was a clever way to gain insight into their backstory, but that’s for another recap. In any case, Danny is thrown for a loop when an entry describing her brief misinterpretation of one of his comments as a marriage proposal reveals that Mindy supposedly wishes Danny would propose for real by Christmas, or else she’s going to move on. In his shock, Morgan startles him when he walks in on him in the living room, and Danny spills his glass of red wine all over the diary. His terror will have to wait: there are bigger fish to fry right now, like trying to cover up his snooping!

They run to Jeremy to duplicate the book, since he’s a certified expert calligrapher (that’s a thing?) and forges the doctors’ signatures at the hospital all the time to cover for them. (Which is how Mindy gets into this mess in the first place, but more on that later.) In the meantime, Danny panics some more, and after Jeremy and Morgan both counter that it isn’t so strange Mindy would be thinking about marriage seven months into a relationship, he seeks his mother’s counsel on what to do about the proposal situation. Annette Castellano (Rhea Perlman) advises he break up with Mindy, not only because her eggs are old, but because at her age, if he’s not serious about her, she deserves to be set free so she can find someone with whom she can settle down. It gives Danny some pause, because neither option seems especially pleasant at the moment, but the more pressing issue is that Mindy is going to be home soon, and he has to beat her there to replace the diary before she knows anything is amiss. (Three cheers for another Danny Castellano Running Through New York To Beat Mindy montage!) He pulls it off, but when an exhausted (and oblivious) Mindy asks if he’s staying or leaving tonight, bewildered Danny decides to leave — fraught with heavier meaning and leaving viewers to wonder if he’s leaving her for good, though at this point Mindy’s none the wiser. However, a second later he returns to her apartment, deciding he’s going to stay. Mindy thinks he just means for the night, but it seems pretty obvious Danny’s thinking long-term, too. Are we heading towards some wedding bells in the new year? I’m sure there’s more anxiety to be had on the topic in the coming weeks.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

On the other hand, Mindy’s laziness is finally coming home to roost. When Dr. Fishman (Niecy Nash) threatens to revoke the clinic’s hospital affiliation if she doesn’t start actually teaching her interns instead of sending Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) as her proxy, Mindy has to give up her date night with Danny to inspire young minds. A know-it-all male student, TJ (Andrew Bachelor) irks her, and she tries to take mousy Candace (Han Nah Kim) under her wing, but when TJ files a sexism complaint against her, she has to admit the mentorship is failing and apologizes to TJ. He rebuffs her at first, but when Mindy confesses that she actually identifies with him over Candace, he’s surprised. It actually gave some surprising insight into Mindy: she relates to being at the top of the class and opinionated and loud-mouthed, which doesn’t necessarily endear you to colleagues but does make you a good doctor. TJ learns his lesson, and figures out that he’s going to have to work with his fellow doctors if he wants to have a hope of having a successful career. While it started off vapid, it was unexpectedly touching to see Mindy grow into the role, albeit in her own colorful manner. I actually like the brief glimmers we get into Mindy as a doctor, because though we know she can be superficial, these types of scenes show how much she really does care about her job. She’s obviously worked damn hard to get to where she is, and it’s fun to see her take pride in that.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

So, lots to unpack tonight. Where do you think the writers are going with the proposal hints? I have no doubt it will be yet another misunderstanding, and that when it all comes out Mindy will ease Danny’s worries that she wrote that long before she knew how serious Danny was about her, though not before some hijinks. To be honest, though, part of me did wonder if Mindy is punking Danny, by planting fake diary entries in case he goes snooping through her stuff. (I think that might have been a plot on Full House once?) In any case, are we heading for a Christmas proposal before the show wraps up for 2014?

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.

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