When The Mindy Project came back last week from its hiatus, I praised it for its handling of the Mindy/Danny relationship, saying it was refreshing for a show to save us from the typical “will-they-or-won’t-they” trip most sitcoms go on. It was great for the writers to proclaim that this wasn’t a mistake, that these two wanted to be together and should be together, and that we would jump into that.
Well … um, never mind.
In “Be Cool,” the Mindy/Danny relationship ends just as it’s beginning—and for foolish reasons at that—with “Girl Crush” almost making these last three episodes of their relationship feel pretty inconsequential.
With “Be Cool,” Mindy and Danny have decided to date in secret rather than letting the whole office know about their relationship. This of course blows up in their face, with Morgan and Jeremy believing that the EPTC (eager to please chubster) Peter wants to take on a date is Mindy. Meanwhile, Brooke, a pharmaceutical rep who comes by every year that Danny once had sex with, comes back to the office. When Mindy and Danny try to discreetly spend time together by throwing a party at Mindy’s place, Mindy gets jealous of Brooke and Danny talking, so she starts flirting with Peter to make him jealous. When the entire office tries to confront Peter and Mindy, they pretend they’ve been sleeping together, with Danny staying out of it.
Later that night, Mindy proclaims that they should date in public or just call it off. Since Danny cares too much about Mindy, he chooses that they call it off. This is maybe one of the best scenes with Mindy and Danny, but it just feels so rushed and out-of-nowhere considering the previous episodes.
Also, for some reason, they’re conflicted about coming out to the office, even though no one seems to care at all that Mindy was sleeping with Peter. The office’s reaction to this revelation should prove that it isn’t a big deal for them to be dating in public.
“Girl Crush” is like a mammogram bus driven by Mindy, which is to say it goes off track. Mindy is still hung up on the surprise of the previous episode, yet Danny seems to not care. In fact, he’s already bugging Peter to let him date Peter’s sister. It couldn’t feel less natural for Danny to already be bouncing back, especially considering how much he claimed to care for Mindy.
The two plots here point out the lack of weight to many of The Mindy Project’s stories. Mindy is approached by Sheila Hamilton (Anna Gunn), a doctor to celebrity patients, to come to her practice instead. This story could’ve easily mixed in with Mindy’s problem of seeing Danny everywhere still, but never takes that approach. Even though Mindy is always impressed by the celebrity lifestyle, she turns down the job since her current patients wouldn’t be able to afford her services if she were to change jobs.
Even worse is a B plot that centers around the guys purchasing a bus and giving breast cancer screenings in Spanish Harlem. Who would’ve thought a strange bus filled with men offering to inspect breasts would be shady? It all ends up fine though when Mindy shows up, and Jeremy miraculously seems to remember that he can speak Spanish.
The team behind The Mindy Project has said that these eight episodes that wrap up the second season sort of play out like a miniseries, telling a focused story, which I assumed would be the story of Mindy and Danny together. Clearly, the show had different things in mind, which I don’t have a problem with, but the approach to them breaking up and the immediate reaction to it doesn’t feel right or even make all that much sense. It’s too early to judge how this works in the larger story, but after these two episodes, it does have me worried.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.