The Mindy Project, Back to New York 3-week Recap

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Mindy’s been back in NY for a few weeks now in Mindy-land, and things have proven to be a rocky ride to re-settle into her life, for various reasons. Each week explored something new that Mindy had to re-adjust to on top of the big move back. There are some golden moments in here, but there’s been a few hiccups within these moments. Let’s go ep by ep.

In “Danny Castellano is My Nutritionist,” we have two major Mindy-esque arcs: 1) she is assisting the practice in replacing Peter’s spot, and 2) she’s going through some pregnancy growing pains with Danny. What works here is how the two storylines converge for a conclusion that affects the next episodes: Jeremy has basically a cattle call round of interviews with potential doctors hanging out, one of whom is more vocal about the ridiculous wait and how he really needs the job, even though he’s come so far out of his way (listen, a Philly to NYC commute is doable but rough!). Mindy bumps into her ob-gyn idol (played by Vanessa Williams) on the street. Naturally, Vanessa Williams is her best snooty rich doctor persona, and though she entertains Mindy’s suggestion to entertain herself in her retirement by joining the practice, the practice is way too weird for her and she balks… after Mindy already scared off the cattle call of otherwise eligible and interested doctors. Meanwhile, Mindy is adorably getting through the rough stage of morning sickness, puking everywhere to the point where the nurses make her a pink puke bucket to carry around instead of puking in everyone’s stuff. Danny thinks her morning sickness is kicked into high gear due to Mindy’s questionable eating habits, and the two butt heads over kicking their bad habits – Danny, smoking, and Mindy, junk food eating. In a last ditch effort, Dr. Bergdahl, the Philly doctor, comes back to pick something up he left behind and plead for the job when he bumps into Mindy mid-puke. He treats her with such tenderness and diagnoses that her morning sickness is stress-induced, leading the practice to hire him, and for Mindy and Danny to resolve their differences with their approach to parenting together. For me, the big misstep here was the severe misuse/underuse of a major cameo from Vanessa Williams. I had hoped for more. The other misstep here, which I continued to feel moving past this episode, is the choice of doctor. His style totally messes with the mojo of everyone else. I’m cool for the show to keep exploring new avenues, but I’m not entirely confident that the addition of Dr. Bergdahl is the solution for post-Peter.

In “Fertility Bites,” we get another major adjustment issue for Mindy – starting up a brand new fertility clinic on her own. Morgan assists in a nurse double duty and supports Mindy as her only other staff in the fertility clinic. She’s ready to open and excited for business. Problem? She has no referrals… and she can’t get more referrals without more successful feedback. She plans a clinic opening party in the hopes of attracting patients and buzz, but in the meantime wants to have at least 1 patient on record. Cue in Morgan bringing in good ol’ Cousin Lou and his boo wanting to conceive. The fun part here is the wacky lie / misunderstanding Mindy provides as far as her proof that her method works. By saying she got herself pregnant, Cousin Lou misunderstands that Danny has trouble with his sperm and ability to successfully conceive a child. This of course comes to a hilarious double entendre head when Danny makes a speech at Mindy’s party to congratulate her efforts and talk about how happy he is to become the father of their child. Though of course the ruse ends quickly thereafter, the silver lining comes with Dr. Bergdahl. He lashes out at Morgan, Tamra, and Beverly, treating them like crap, and they ultimately forgive him when they see he’s living out of his car. When Mindy finds this out, she and Dr. Bergdahl strike a deal: she lets him crash her apartment so he has a place to stay, and he refers his patients to her. The other result of this? Mindy and Danny officially move in together. Very strange turn of a events to lead to Mindy and Danny moving in (almost too convenient writing/plot wise for Dr. Bergdahl) but we at least get that resolution for them. Again, the strange factor here comes from Dr. Bergdahl. Not sure about his chemistry in the show – it’s not like when Mindy and Danny suggest Peter move into Danny’s extra apartment to help him mature and get away from his crazy roommates. Dr. Bergdahl feels all too much a plot device right now, which is never a good thing for a show to only use a character to push things forward and along with no real fit with the rest of the ensemble.

Confessions of a Catho-holic was a more Mindy-Danny centric episode (the idea of Jeremy’s one man show is, in concept, funny, but I wasn’t all into the execution here as a B story) with Mindy and Danny contending with Danny’s strong Catholic ties. Danny goes to confession about his premarital sex with Mindy, which is a catalyst for the priest in his church to keel over and die, leaving room for fun cameo Stephen Colbert to be the new head priest of his church. The fun part here is Stephen Colbert’s character is a reformed bad boy who is actually a contemporary of Danny’s, and he very openly refers to his raunchy sexual history before becoming a priest. To stay in good favor with him, though, Danny pretends Mindy is, too, a Catholic so it’s less frowned upon that they live together (he couldn’t even admit they were pregnant yet). To further get into the new priest’s good favor, Mindy decides it’d be a good idea to invite him to dinner (which is where she actually finds out Danny pretends she’s Catholic). They tiptoe around Mindy’s total lack of Catholic-knowledge and even attempt hiding mid-visit their condoms to avert suspicions of any sinful behavior. At the end, though, Danny resolves that he doesn’t want to confess or feel guilty about his relationship with Mindy, and that he’s okay with her not being a Catholic and how their life has become. Mindy, in a surprise turn, says she would like to raise the child Catholic. While an otherwise fun episode, I feel like this didn’t feel as true to what we’ve established of Danny. Obviously by nature of Mindy and Danny having a relationship, we were allowed a window into the life of his character we would not have otherwise known. But it seemed odd to me he’d be confessing premarital sex the way he did to the priest, as if this was the first and only time he’d be confessing it when we know he used to be a total dog. I like odd / crotchety / strict Danny, but this just didn’t feel right.

There were fun moments throughout the three weeks, but it feels like a little bit of the first season where the writers are trying to figure out the best direction for the show. There are things that are thrown at the wall and sticking, and things that don’t feel as strong as episodes past. There’s a little bit of flow lost with the swift exit of Peter and the swift ending of the Stanford storyline. We’re clearly trying to re-establish and re-build the Mindy universe considering these new changes, and hopefully things get sorted by end of season.

Till next time!

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