The Mindy Project – “Mindy’s Minute” and “The One That Got Away” Two-Week Recap

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Again, sorry for the delay in posting. Here’s a two-week catch up on what’s happening in “The Mindy Project.”

These two episodes, following the Valentine’s Day episode, definitely continue to highlight the more amicable nature of Mindy and Danny’s friendship. The writers are playing it well – they mesh well together to build up that will-they-or-won’t-they vibe, but the way they mesh isn’t always quite so flirty. They riff off each other in a way that can definitely read platonic, but never as vicious as it was at the onset of the series and always with the deep sense of depth between these two people.

It was definitely a big wake up call to see how much screen time they share together in “Mindy’s Minute,” which primarily features Mindy’s brief dash of local fame. The first shot of the cold open is the two of them sharing a cab together watching replays of videos Mindy filmed for a company that produces videos for cabs. From there on out, most of either Mindy’s or Danny’s screen time was spent with the other in tow.

“Mindy’s Minute” was definitely a ball of cute. Maybe a little too cute, but cute in a very Mindy way. Her unabashed attitude toward her bizarre Rolph furry costume wearing bit gets tested as she is met with a taxi driver driven mad (no pun intended) by the constant replay of her videos. (PS – I’m glad the show is finally making more references to the setting being in NY – it still definitely doesn’t look like NYC, but the details are peeking in every now and then) It turns out the weirdness of these videos is alluring enough for people to keep watching, and enough for the local news to approach her for a bit. Of course, being approached for some media spotlight comes at a convenient time – Jeremy, Mindy, and Danny lament the midwives’ cheesy (and, thereby, hilarious) commercial for their practice. A local news spot is the perfect thing to spread publicity about the practice!

What’s interesting about the turn that plot twist takes is how involved Danny decides to get. Part of it is obviously Danny’s self consciousness coming out – he’s not a fan of the costume, nor the puppet. He somehow finds a way to convince Mindy not to use hand puppet Ericka to co-star her segment, and coaches her through a screwball-esque projected run through of what it would be like on tv (camera one! camera two! very cute, very well paced editing and visuals here) In the backdrop of this, we also see Mindy shine through once again as a great doctor. Just as she’s about to go on air, her least favorite patient – also a hypochondriac – goes into labor. Mindy foregoes the segment to be with her patient, even though she wants the fame (she references she wants to rise above embarrassing video fame a la Kardashian – pretty funny stuff here). She turns on the local news while waiting with her patient to find Danny blunder on live TV. It is here where there’s a great little moment between doctor and patient as the patient realizes Mindy sacrificed her moment on TV to be with her. These little details are definitely worth it – for as silly as Mindy can be sometimes, moments like this show there is craftsmanship in the writing.

In “The One That Got Away” there wasn’t as much Mindy/Danny screen time, but their chemistry was definitely very apparent. Danny approaches Mindy’s childhood sweetheart Sam (guest star Seth Rogen) with the protectiveness a good friend would. After Danny gets a wake up call of what it really means to be a sperm donor to one of his patients (a great break room scene with everyone’s comments about anonymous fathering sapping the color and life out of his face), the first person he turns to for advice? Mindy. She even helps him get out of the situation by posing as a former, well-informed lover. And this happens so naturally and frankly that it can read as both platonic and filled with romantic potential.

Of course, the big story in “The One That Got Away” is the whole day date Mindy has with Sam because it’s his last day before re-deployment in Afghanistan. The details of the whole date were very real and rich – their conversation had the giddiness of still fresh love, but they were realistically unsure how to rekindle the fire after so many years. (Didn’t find amusement in Betsy’s dumb moment of wondering why Mindy and Sam wouldn’t have exchanged emails when they were 13. Betsy’s not THAT young to think e-mail existed forever) The concept of having one last good date played more fun than forlorn, as it may have appeared in say a more dramatic TV show. Knowing that The Mindy Project likes to play on famous rom-com ideas, this definitely wreaks of one of those concepts – what would be the perfect one day date. We get everything from funny lunch conversation, a hilarious and outlandish self check out scene (how many times have you tried to continue or finish paying but couldn’t because the stupid machine can’t detect what’s in your bag?), and a twee-filled post-coital scene with a teddy bear.

As Sam faces the fact he has to leave, we get a red herring. He gets very weird and stand-offish as he tries to make a break for it to go back on duty, while Mindy’s wild fantasies drive her to find ways to stop him from going away (i.e. asking the doctor to write on record that his minor sprain from a window fall was actually a fracture – kind of preposterous that the injury is so small but whatever) There was definitely the look of “you’re crazy and you’re totally misinterpreting this” in Sam’s eyes – very “He’s Just Not That Into You.” We’re also deftly led to believe as Sam’s writing his goodbye letter that it may be a little harsher than we’d wish for Mindy, especially if he’s not brave enough to just wait for Mindy and say goodbye. In the end, Sam’s letter turns out to be sweet, and as it makes Mindy cry, Danny supports her in the best way he can – reading off the choices in the vending machine.

Overall, these episodes feel a little more in the groove of what The Mindy Project really aims to be. It seems to have found a little more footing with its style. There’s still some workshopping going on with the characters. But there are great subtle details popping out through and through. The rivalry with the midwives has evolved into a really amusing aspect of the show – I’d rather the midwives be the “antagonist” than lumping the antagonist in potential love interest Danny. And the banter continues to be relevant and funny (so glad they threw in a Kanye joke and that “The One That Got Away” aired close enough to be thinking abou March Madness). Overall, two fun episodes, ones that leave you curious where things are gonna go for Mindy.. and Danny.

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