The Mindy Project has the bless and the curse of having to follow New Girl, both in time slot and a season late. A season and a half into their show, New Girl did the inevitable of having its two leads kiss, to great success. Now a season and a half into The Mindy Project, we also get the expected kiss, but with it, the possibility of an exciting new direction for the show when it returns in April.
The most important aspect to the kiss between Mindy and Danny is that it gives The Mindy Project some focus going into the future. Many times the show has seemed completely aimless beyond the current episode, so having some continuing story possibilities, especially having it based around a love interest for Mindy that certainly isn’t fleeting, can only be a good thing for The Mindy Project.
The kiss comes at the end of the episode and serves as the perfect punctuation to an episode in which Mindy and Danny prove that they sort of are perfect for each other. Mindy is set on leaving Los Angeles early to try to get Cliff back, but instead of taking her to the airport, Danny takes Mindy to his meeting with his father. While there, Mindy is gracious when Danny is cold. She handles the situation in a way that Danny wouldn’t be able to without her. The kiss also follows their biggest fight where Mindy tells Danny that while she did originally find him attractive, she ultimately found him to be mean and that unlike Danny’s father, who has become quite a different person, Danny will never change.
Danny proves Mindy wrong, as he tries to accept his father and the family he has abandoned in a way he never has before. Once again, this is a level of acceptance that Danny would’ve never reached without Mindy. They’re both what the other needs. Mindy can be warm and imaginative, while Danny can ground Mindy in a way that she absolutely needs.
Back in New York, Morgan and Peter are already back and both get trapped in the office’s bathroom, where they can hear Cliff crying and singing along to Jewel for hours on end. When they finally do get out, Morgan and Peter take Cliff out drinking to forget about Mindy. Meanwhile on the plane, pre-kiss, Danny and Mindy are teaming up to write a message to Cliff to get him back. After some incredibly mild turbulence—so mild Mindy apparently doesn’t feel it on the other side of the plane—Danny realizes that he wants Mindy and goes for the kiss.
We all know that Cliff won’t be a permanent fixture on the show, while Danny is one of the show’s stars, so it’s pretty obvious what direction the show will get to. I do, however, hope the show does have a Team Cliff vs. Team Danny arc, if for no other reason than to keep Peter and Morgan teamed up.
Now we have over two months to see what comes next for The Mindy Project, but at least it leaves us at the strongest it has ever been. The beginning of this second season has been spotty, but when it works, it really works. When it comes back, let’s hope The Mindy Project is at the top of its game, and that Fox will see let it continue for another season.