The Mindy Project, “How to Lose a Mom in 10 Days” and “What About Peter?”

MindyEP310_Scene30_127_hires2 [www.imagesplitter.net]

The holidays swept me up, but I’m all caught up now in the grand adventures of Mindy and her relationship with Danny. I do feel the last two episodes largely pulled away from the major revelation of Danny reading Mindy’s diary (and I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop there) but we still had some good fun exploring a little more about Danny’s psyche and approach to relationships and life.

In “How to Lose a Mom in 10 Days” we see Mindy observe and try to test Danny’s maybe-too-close (or as Mindy described, very Norman Batesy) relationship with his mom. She arrives unannounced in his apartment while Mindy and Danny attempt to have a very sensual bath together. It’s funny that a man as “mature” as Danny still worries about what his devout Catholic mom thinks (although I’m sure most people would do as he did in that position) because he tries to make Mindy hide under the water while he talked to his mom. She of course isn’t stupid and calls him out.

The thing about the relationship with Danny’s mom that we’re seeing more of is we’re getting a real glimpse of how he grew up, and why he is the way he is. Remember: daddy issues. I love, though, that the tables turn when Mindy tries to get Annette off their backs and more occupied with her own life. How? By setting her up on a date with a doctor whose impending retirement could get the practice more patients (thanks, Jeremy, for this being your primary purpose in the episode). Annette has an awakening of her own and feels open to date. Who gets freaked out now? Danny! The overprotective Danny is sweet, and of course we find this justified when Annette winds up going on a double date with Mindy and Danny… with Morgan as her date. (Tamra and Morgan broke up in the earlier part of the episode)

Of course, ultimately what became a selfishly motivated move instead turns into more bonding between Mindy and Annette, as Mindy helps Danny recognize his mother’s need for her own love life and her own satisfaction. And this moment is great – layers of character history are unfolded as we come to understand more of where Danny came from and what his childhood was like. Mindy also throws Morgan a bone by encouraging Morgan to seek better in his life. Sadly, this leads to Morgan not taking Tamra back when she storms the date and begs for him back, but at least we’re seeing Mindy be more of a good friend.

In “What About Peter?” the best thing about this episode is the reinvigorating of character combinations that have proven to be wonderful and make so much sense in the past, but have been otherwise put on hold for Mindy / Danny developments. We also get a lot of good referencing back to things that happened this season that can totally affect the coming episodes.

Jeremy has mainly been relevant lately for his contention with Peter after the whole stealing girlfriend bit. He hasn’t had much time with Morgan, which probably is a result of the need to integrate Peter into the ensemble. And Morgan developing an arc with Tamra. But the times Peter and Jeremy have teamed up have always seemed to work well – though they are opposites, they totally foil each other nicely. For as bumbling as Morgan can be, what worked here is how much wisdom he actually offered to Jeremy about his own life. Jeremy is asked to babysit Lauren’s son for the weekend since she’s working or whatever. Of course, lothario Jeremy wouldn’t know anything about taking care of a child … by himself. In Morgan fashion, Morgan inserts himself in the situation and offers to help babysit. Though Jeremy turns him down, Morgan shows up anyway, to Jeremy’s relief at that point. These scenes were actually really wonderful character development moments for Morgan and Jeremy, and kinda made me like Jeremy again. It was almost like he was calling out to me, when he acknowledged, “Yeah, I know everyone hates me” when he realizes he’s the one making Henry cry. We get a very crucial callback to Peter’s relationship with Lauren, and we see how Peter is probably actually the better match for Lauren. The baby calls out for Peter! Morgan not only helps Jeremy understand how to calm the baby down (of course, in sadistic fashion, the baby is totally cool with self inflicted injury on Jeremy) but he also throws it out there that this weekend is totally testing ground for a future with Lauren in a relationship. Jeremy’s naivete comes out here – though he’s the most put together in the office, he has no paternal desires, and basically only wants to bang Lauren with no real commitment or attachment. Hmm… wonder what will happen there.

Though we have seen a lot of Peter and Mindy chemistry, to see it again in the way it comes out in this episode is actually really fun. These two have amazing chemistry as friends and the things they bond over are pretty hilarious. There’s definitely some questionable activity in this episode, in that Mindy was totally overstepping her bounds by constantly forgiving Peter’s intrusions and bending to really carry him along (even though the whole mission to get him his own apartment was to get him situated in a place by himself). But we come back around to some major callback moments: 1) the real reason Danny wants to expand his apartment is to be able to take care of his mother (who already is invading his privacy anyway) – so the heightened importance of that relationship continues here, even with her absence in the episode, 2) Danny’s obliviousness / possible refusal to acknowledge or accept that Mindy is aspiring towards a very long term, very permanent commitment. Given how much weight he gave that moment he realized Mindy is hoping for a proposal, I was expecting maybe more out of that final confrontation. The ending of the episode where he finally decides to stay the night was so much better played than this, where Mindy pushes and prods him along. What we get here is a moment of seeing Danny pine for her, and seeing how truly independent Mindy is. However, I think the tension of whether or not Danny would offer to move in together was defused too quickly. I almost hoped for more conflict. I do love Mindy and Danny together, I do – but I want the struggles to be a little more real and played out. We’re halfway through the season and possibly losing some steam.

Another thing I wish we touched upon in “What About Peter?” is how maybe socially underdeveloped Danny is (which could also contribute to his aversion to recommit and marry again). He has no friends! I thought we were going to explore this in this episode, but of course the writing in this show does take wonderful turns to completely flip around the purpose of our little half hour journey. I’m glad to see Mindy continuing her commitment to her interns (again, seeing Mindy function as her own person and as a good doctor and mentor is always welcome) but we really left the whole Danny doesn’t hang out with other people thing hanging. They HAVE to explore this at some point – I want to see more Mindy calling out Danny on stuff, because it feels like it’s usually the other way around. Let Mindy throw some wisdom in Danny’s court.

Anyway, we got a lot of good developments in the last two weeks. I’m hoping we’re working towards more interesting conflicts. Could the Jeremy / Peter rivalry continue if Jeremy decides to bow out of a relationship attached with a baby? What will moving in be like for Mindy and Danny? And, goddammit, when are we gonna get some Lahiri action? Where’s her brother? What about her parents? For all the time Annette is part of Mindy and Danny’s life, I’m feeling like there’s got to be a showdown with Mindy’s parents. Isn’t that even a thing on his mind?

Till next time!

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