The Mindy Project, The Devil Wears Lands’ End

MINDYPROJECT-s2e5

This season has been a lot of fun thus far. I think the writers have well proven that they can keep a relationship fun, funny, and interesting for Mindy and Danny. This week’s episode is probably the first real hump in the season to me. It’s the only episode thus far where things started to feel… forced. There was definitely the same humor, and a lot of the plot movement they strove for was admirable. But something felt a little off, and again I think it’s because there was a lot of this that felt devicey – this feels like a set-up episode for things to come. Let’s dive into why and how this all happened.

The A storyline revolved around Mindy and this grave misunderstanding about her sexuality, driven by the newfound introduction of a new, hardass head of the obstetrics department at the hospital for the practice. The show has previously tackled homosexuality in a fun way when introducing Danny’s brother Richie and everyone feeling this fear that Danny doesn’t know about it. In this week’s episode, including it in the storyline felt forced and trite. To segue into a lesbian misunderstanding is an interesting twist to introducing the to-be recurring nemsis Dr. Fishman (a very welcome Niecy Nash), but the aftermath of this becomes silly and runs into some ridiculous stereotypes. It becomes part of the neverending lies trope that comedies so often love to use – someone begins a lie to get closer to what they want, and it slowly spirals out of control because the lies move them in different directions. After Mindy makes a terrible impression on Dr. Fishman during Dr. Fishman’s first day as department head in the hospital, the practice gets the short end of the stick, being forced to schedule their births in the graveyard shift. Mindy tries to girl-talk Dr. Fishman into throwing them a bone, which becomes a misunderstood date. Now, there ARE fun moments in the lying bits that follow thereafter as Mindy tries to uphold the ruse – mainly from Danny trying to pretend to be on the edge of suicide – but again, it felt like the writers were looking for ways to create a situation that would pin Dr. Fishman against the practice. My other problem is Dr. Fishman’s wife just HAD to be the “butch” lesbian archetype. The performances were fine, and I’m sure we’ll get some golden moments from both ladies later on, but I wasn’t too impressed with the initial introduction. Danny being able to negotiate the initial conflict was a good little twist, but again – the show relied on everyone lying to somehow manage and get their way, so something about this just felt like a device to establish an aura of tension between the practice and Dr. Fishman.

The B storyline had a great concept, pinning Jeremy and Peter together in a situation for the first time since the girlfriend stealing incident. If Jeremy is here to stay, we can’t make him an enemy forever. Getting the two of them into a room together, working together, and confronting the issue in a way that would be a step to healing is an excellent idea. But again, something about this felt forced. Like, it felt too soon for that step to be taken. Peter’s Dartmouth frat buddies are having a Shonda Rimes beer pong tournament (soak that in again, if you will) and Peter’s pong partner is unavailable. He settles on Jeremy because he needs someone with skill. It’s great that there’s a moment where, as they’re on the rise toward victory, there’s acknowledgement of Peter’s recent breakup with Lauren, which therein reveals the etymology to Peter’s nickname “Lefty” – every girl he’s ever dated has “left” him, and everyone at the party was betting on that. The resolution after Peter reveals this to Jeremy, though, feels pretty unplausible. They barely acknowledge the elephant in the room and just proceed to play beer pong. I know they said last week that they’d start settling down over this feud, but in real world and TV world, forgiveness doesn’t just happen that fast, and with as little acknowledgement as this. Also, some of the frat jokes here felt like it was in bad taste – again, maybe I’m just following the news too closely about “yes means yes,” but I’m surprised some of this frat stuff slipped through the cracks. I mean, I KNOW they’re supposed to be “typical frat” guys, but once again the show is perpetuating and relying on stereotypes to build the humor. Not the best move.

The episode took a turn to show some potential with handling conflict. Again, there’s always fun zingers in every Mindy episode. But this week felt like an off week. Again, I think it’s really a stepping stone to further developments, but these types of episodes are typically a little more fun and a little less forced.

Here are some fun odds and ends:

-I love the running gag with the phone rings. Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” as Mindy’s and later Morgan’s ringtones were wonderful, and I love that Mindy assigned Dr. Fishman her OWN ringtone. And speaking of the songs, daaamn, they really must have a bigger music budget this season, huh?

-The “Turn Down for What” beer pong sequence was fun. That was probably the most fun for them to edit this week again – slow-mo on the ping pong balls being flung into the beer. Some of the visuals did feel a little muted compared to the intensity of the song, but the contrast does work in general.

-Mindy’s uber confidence in herself as a viable lesbian sex object was pretty fun to see – again, anytime Mindy is creating humor around her own self confidence and body image works

-Loved the call back to the “I got Mindy fever and we all know there ain’t no cure for that” after Mindy establishes this line herself. Danny saying this was so fun

There is a small hiatus I believe until the next episode. Hopefully we pick up steam again at that point!

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