The Mindy Project is back for season 3, and it comes in with a bang! The thing I really admire about the show is the boldness Mindy takes the writing. It’s smart, witty, and unabashed. And this episode is an excellent example of great comedic writing. And, to boot – we also get the entire ensemble involved in the episode!
So the episode’s main two story arcs touch on the themes of trust and secrets. For Mindy and Danny, in the early bliss of coupledom, they come across a minor roadblock when confronted with secrets. For Mindy, it’s the fact that she blabs to everyone about their life behind doors: Danny gets upset when Peter asks for sex advice based on what Mindy’s told him about their sex life. The brilliant thing about this early gag is that right away Mindy takes a step to talk about sex in a cute way, teetering between clean and dirty. She doesn’t have to be super outright when discussing sex, but it’s definitely clear that she and Danny have gotten down. She’s made sex super network TV friendly. For Danny, he has trouble admitting or wrestling with some secrets from his past, triggered by Mindy rummaging through his drawer and uncovering a mysterious pink thong with DIAMOND splayed across the front in diamond studs.
The second act of the show focuses on both of them being tested on how well they can deal with secrets. Danny shares a secret with Mindy about Jeremy and Peter’s new girlfriend Lauren (whom we met last season) possibly sneaking around behind Peter’s back (which, let’s hold the phone a moment and think about the fact Peter is actually DATING someone. great character development for him) which Mindy wrestles to keep a secret in the office. And of course, Mindy won’t let it go that Danny may have once dated a stripper, so she goes on a Google search for Diamond. In a double whammy, Morgan both hears firsthand the secret Mindy cannot keep, and Morgan reveals to Mindy that the thong is actually a male thong. BAM! What an amazing and hilarious surprise that Danny was once a male stripper.
In the third act, Mindy and Danny both confront each other now with their issues with secrets. Danny confronts Mindy about not being able to keep the secret about Jeremy and Lauren, and Mindy confronts Danny about his past as a male stripper. The other great thing about Mindy is she can write tender, real moments – both painful, and happy. The moment they share on Mindy’s fire escape sharing secrets is really sweet, especially with Mindy’s admittance that she blabs about them so much to insure herself the relationship is real. And of course Danny reads off a bunch of things he sounds afraid to have ever shared with anyone.
The secondary story arc involves Jeremy and Peter. Jeremy and Peter’s girlfriend plan a charity event for the practice to participate in, and they’ve been planning this a while. Peter is struggling in the bedroom with Lauren, but is clearly totally into the relationship. With Morgan finding out what Danny walked in on (which really was only a backrub), naturally everyone was going to find out. Seriously – everyone on this show is bad at keeping a secret. At the planning party for their charity event, Tamra’s phone dies, causing her to be a comedic bystander of the confrontations that Peter has with Lauren, and later Peter with Jeremy. My biggest takeaway here is that Peter’s grown as a person since the last season (and I hope this stays true past this episode) and Jeremy is kind of just a jerk whose primary function at this point to me is that guy running the practice. I did enjoy, though, Tamra trying to film everyone’s confrontations.
There were amazing comedic moments spread throughout both storylines. First of all, opening up with Danny’s pseudo-VO was great. It was a cute callback to when he narrated over that “best day” spent with Mindy last season. And it was an even better reveal that he was narrating the progression of their relationship hovering over Mindy in bed. This is such a great reworking of a rom-com trope.
I also love that Morgan feels a little bit smarter and more put together in this episode. He’s always crazy, but he seemed different. Maybe they had to tone down his crazy while they introduced Cousin Lou, who is definitely a bit dumber and weirder and crazier. And, like Morgan, Cousin Lou injects himself into the family of the practice, enough so that it’s he who ends up spilling the beans to Peter about Jeremy and Lauren. And, in an almost Shakespearean move, it’s the fool (Cousin Lou) who imparts some wisdom onto Danny (“The truth will set you free!) so that Danny can finally confront his secrets with Mindy.
Danny as a comedic character in Mindy has totally improved over the seasons, and this episode was filled with wonderful funny Danny-isms. Chris Messina really nails this odd, old fashioned, adorable guy. He reveals to Mindy that he had to resort to stripping to pay for med school because he literally couldn’t stay on a deep sea fishing boat long (he was too light!). When Danny is upset after the charity meeting trying to figure out what to do with Mindy, he resorts to the piano and starts playing “Let It Go” from Frozen, which Morgan calls him out on. I definitely laughed out loud at that moment. More important than the comedy, I loved that this episode also turned the tables on objectifying women by instead having Danny perform one of his former strip routines for Mindy. Well, I guess it all makes sense now that Danny would be a good dancer, good enough to learn that amazing Aaliyah routine from last season.
Overall, the episode was fun and had really great turns throughout, and not just for Mindy and Danny. I’m glad Peter is becoming more and more a driving part of the secondary storylines. They’ve written him so much better than Jeremy (he’s funnier anyway). This is a great start for the show, and I hope the momentum stays!
A few final odds and ends:
-The Staten Island Handshake? What on earth IS that move?
-Mindy’s pseudo-feminist argument about healthcare in defense of Tamra’s desire for fashionable braces was hilarious. “If there were braces for your penis!”
-Cousin Lou’s crush/obsession with Mindy is definitely funny. I hope it continues as a running gag
-Did The Mindy Project get a bigger music budget? Using More Than a Feeling through the show open and American Woman at the back ain’t cheap.
Till next week!