The Mindy Project Season 1 Finale

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So I know this is a few weeks late, but I can’t ignore a pretty amazing season finale for a show I’ve invested a lot of faith in for its first year. Though The Mindy Project certainly had its rocky start, it finished with a bang and has proven itself as a great comedic force in primetime, a fun female voice in sitcoms, and a worthy commentary on the rom-com genre.

There were two major Will they or won’t they? questions asked and (partially) answered within this finale. First and foremost (and most prominent anyway) is will Mindy and Casey go to Haiti or not. The episode dips us back and forth between Yes and No brilliantly through each act – the cold open starts with Mindy and Casey practicing their romantic Skype skills, clearly showing that Mindy would not be joining Casey in Haiti. In the next act, we see Mindy standing by her decision to go to Haiti with Casey, even through being challenged by Danny and everyone at the practice – they even start a Mindy Pool to see how long she’ll last. To prove herself, Mindy invites herself and Casey to Danny’s camping trip with Christina (they are now back together at this point with a surprisingly minimal appearance by Chloe Sevigny) and the seeds of doubt are cast as Mindy experiences one night of what it’d be like cooped up in a tent with Casey (he’s all “elbows and penis” after all) Cue in the next act, with Mindy praying an apology about secretly not wanting to go at her own going away party in Danny’s house. She tries to manipulate Casey into breaking up with her by saying she’s ready for the full commitment, only to embarrass herself and Casey as she rejects his proposal. And lastly, we get the surprise moment at the end: instead of remaining her usual selfish self, Mindy runs to Casey’s apartment to beg him back – a great parody of a rom-com trope turned on its head with the girl asking back the guy, and the girl showing her commitment in a shocking way by cutting off her hair. We resolve this arc in the end with Mindy admitting to Danny post-triplet birthing that she, in fact, is going to Haiti after all.

Dipped into this will Mindy and Casey or won’t they arc is the romantic story arc set up by the series from the start: will Mindy and Danny, or won’t they? It’s been fun watching their will they or won’t they dynamic, and the writers were smart to put up the ruse and drop us some red herrings that leaves us both sad but satisfied with the end, when Mindy effectively rejects Danny’s subtle advance. The thing about the rom-com happy ending is we cannot reach that moment prematurely – it has to be earned. The seeds for this have been planted subtly, up until April, where a big bomb was dropped by Josh, Mindy’s ex: Josh basically called out the Mindy and Danny chemistry to Mindy. We’ve watched their comedic chemistry all season, and they came close but never too close to establish romantic potential. The finale, once again, puts them in this position of closeness: Mindy helps Danny shop for Christina, Mindy invites herself to camp with Danny, Danny hosts Mindy’s going away party, Danny and Mindy confide their fears to each other at the party, and, the clincher, Danny teasing Mindy about her haircut while wiping “shmutz” off her glasses for her. The brilliance of that final moment is we have yet to really learn what Mindy and Casey decided: the collision of the two story arcs gives this moment that cliffhanger punch and that aw shucks moment for the Mindy-Danny storyline.

Overall, really great story development in one episode that encapsulates the talent of the writers for the show, and Mindy’s total understanding of how the rom-com genre operates. I am curious how they’ll write Mindy back into NY for Season 2.

And, to end with, the many wonderful odds and ends:

-Yes, weird that the three doctors have to be present to deliver the triplets for Jeremy’s patient – obviously a device to give Mindy that spark of inspiration to get back together with Casey. However, it is funny that they try to make a competition out of it!

-Once again, the holistic doctors make their mark in their cameo. Love when Brendan and Duncan detect Mindy’s second thoughts. (Brendan) “Duncan’s hugs never lie” / (Mindy, later on) “Sorcerers!”

-LOVE that Morgan is the constant interrupter – he interrupts Mindy and Casey’s practice Skype, and lumps himself into the camping trip.

-During the red herring breakup, Casey asks about what guys made Mindy feel like crap. Loved Danny pointing out how they’re all oddly at the party! (Mindy) “That was a rhetorical question!”

-After the shakedown:
(the new nurse Tamra) “White people problems”
(Mindy) “I’m obviously not white, Tamra”
(Brendan) “For the record, a person of color can have white people problems”

-I really appreciate that Danny does contribute some pretty brilliant comedic lines, especially as it revolves around Mindy, i.e. when she discusses going to Haiti, “They’re not gonna have Jimmy Choos and Wally Wongs and what have you!”

-As much as I’m so-so on the Mindy-Casey relationship, they do have some brilliant lines together as well, i.e. “You like your woman between an A and a B?” / Casey laughing at David Sedaris while reading in the tent / (Mindy) “Your penis just knocked off my glasses!”

-Lastly, LOVE the random interruptions by Casey’s neighbors during her rom-com trope moment. This totally shows how Mindy has taken that typical moment and made it her own style.

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