I know it’s been a while, folks, but with the coming of the holidays is the holiday hiatus of some shows, including The Mindy Project. Between Thanksgiving and the week after we were treated to two fun episodes to hold us over until the new year.
“Wedding Crushers” was a fun treat filled with return cameos of old characters (remember Josh the lawyer?) and some more time on screen with Peter and Mindy. “Christmas Party Sex Trap” brought us more will they or won’t they moments and an overall fun holiday episode.
Instead of going into deep details, let’s gloss over the fun and memorable points about these episodes.
In “Wedding Crushers,” the writing took surprise turn after surprise turn, once again turning the usual rom-com tropes on their heads with every step of the way. You’d expect that with Mindy not only getting an invite but agreeing to attend her ex Josh’s wedding, her number one date choice would be Danny. He drops out to host a party for his younger brother. Mindy settles on Peter, who is down to hang out, referring to himself as “Mr. Wedding”. Though Mindy at first isn’t into the idea, she turns out having a lot of fun with Peter. It’s almost like we got a red herring will they or won’t they moment with Mindy and Peter, as people point out to Mindy that they look great together and are having fun. And Mindy actually buys into it! The next twist? Peter is actually releasing tension about not having been with anyone since his dreaded ex and winds up sleeping with the bride (who, lest we forget, Josh met at rehab… recovering from sex addiction). Mindy decides to take the fall and tells Josh to spare himself embarrassment to make her the party pooper in an act of kindness and friendship. On the ride home, you’d expect the clincher in the will they or won’t they between Mindy and Peter, but we get that notion effectively quashed.
On top of the wedding storyline, the writers brilliantly give us surprise after surprise with the seconary storyline of Danny’s brother visiting. At first, everyone in the office is worried that Danny’s brother’s visit is to reveal he’s gay, and they worry about Danny’s reaction to the coming out at the party he’s throwing. Everyone acts so delicately about it, and mid party it turns out Danny already knew. The reveal, instead, is that Danny’s brother has been in touch with their estranged father. Again, this gives us great character development in an unexpected turn, and allows us to see more into Danny’s personal life, being called the true “father figure” to his brother Richie by the end of it all.
Beyond that, the many little jokes and visual gags here were all simply amazing. Catching Josh “about to” do drugs when he’s just recreating habit for comfort? Brilliant! The comments Danny and Richie make about Richie growing up gay with Danny’s encouragement? Like Danny teaching Richie to shave his legs for Cabaret. So many little comic treats!
And then of course, the true holiday episode, “Christmas Party Sex Trap.” This once again takes a typical rom-com trope, and though the end is expected, there are moments of the journey that turn into fun surprises. We of course start with Mindy setting up an elaborate plan to ensnare Cliff and steal him away from Heather. She announces to the office that she wants the practice to host a building-wide holiday party, which she plans to use as bait for Cliff (as he works in the building) and she lays out the fantasy of how it’ll work out – the party will be a raging success, she’ll sing a seductive rendition of Santa Baby, and win Cliff over.
Of course, there are a number of snags in this plan. The newly non-fat (but still struggling) Jeremy and Peter decide that, to help their temptations, they will have a dry, no-food party. (Lest we forget Peter mentioned on his interview he got so hammered he violated a Christmas tree at his last holiday party) We also have cameos from Mark Duplass as the loveable antagonist Brendan Deslaurier and his new boo, Maria Menounos, which prompts Mindy to make the party a go in the first place as she lies about being in a relationship with a “lawyer in the building.” As the party goes under way, it becomes far more awkward and less sexy than expected, with Jeremy and Peter feeling anxious without their vices (food and booze respectively), and Brendan steals the show with Maria Menounos. And of course Danny hides out in the back crafting his gingerbread house work of art (of COURSE Danny is a gingerbread house aficionado!)
Each little step in Mindy’s plan sort of works out, with her appearing in lively conversation with strangers she winds up not understanding, and then all up toward her big Santa Baby number. By the time she has to sing, she realizes Cliff has bounced from the party. She hides in her office, but Maria Menounos takes the stand, which actually in a fun turn ruins her for Brendan! As Danny goes to comfort Mindy, Jeremy binge eats on – you guessed it – Danny’s gingerbread house, and Peter tries to find some hack for booze to get over his anxiety and build himself up towards talking to Maria Menounos.
The next unexpected gift we get out of this zany holiday party is Danny’s surprise “gift” for Mindy – he prepares a dance routine to Aaliyah’s “Try Again” as a present for her! Best moment of the episode – and it totally displays how much Danny truly cares about Mindy, reiterating how at least he recognizes that affection for her (it seems to be leaning more that way this season anyway, with Danny knowing somewhere deep down they’re a pretty decent matchup)
Their will they or won’t they Christmas moment ends when Jeremy and Peter burst in seeking help for their own issues.
Then, almost everyone gets their Christmas wish – Peter gets to ask out Maria Menounos, and Cliff comes back to the party to tell Mindy he broke up with Heather for her, with Danny watching from the window.
This show proves, once and again, that the writers totally understand not only comedic conventions, but how to keep us surprised and interested in the rom-com elements of the show. We end the year off with Mindy snagging a guy who was set up as a match for her.
Until the new year, we at least have this lovely dance routine from Danny.