Here’s the thing about a cliffhanger: It has to have some miniscule level of credibility. And here’s the thing about “Take Me With You,” the first season finale of The Mindy Project: We all know there’s no way Mindy is going to spend a year in Haiti. Not just because she’s, as she so aptly put it, “selfish” and there’s no way she can live in a tent for a year, but because she’s the title character. I’m fairly confident that next season isn’t going to be called The Mindy Project: A Year in Haiti.
Setting up a completely false cliffhanger undercut the show’s freshman finale. But that wasn’t the only questionable choice the series made. The series cast Chloe Sevigny, a big name and a pretty great actress, as Danny’s ex-wife Christina and then gave her nothing—absolutely nothing—to do. By the end of the episode, Danny is telling Mindy he told Christina that he wants to slow things down. But there is no indication as to why—except maybe that she loves to camp and he doesn’t.
The show’s implied reason for Danny’s hesitation is that he has feelings for Mindy. But the series has been so erratic in developing that story line that I found it hard to pick up what the show is putting down. One long glance as Danny wipes the smudge off Mindy’s glasses does not a star-crossed romance make.
The rest of the season finale was frustratingly erratic. Morgan goes along on the camping trip double date because the show is apparently committed to the idea that everything is more funny if Morgan is around. Suffice to say, I do not share the show’s belief. There’s a goodbye party featuring nearly every guest star from the season which served to remind viewers how some characters have worked out so much better than others.
But, against all odds, I still care about The Mindy Project and am rooting for it succeed. That’s because I continue to get glimpses of a truly funny show that’s in there somewhere. I loved the cold open with Mindy and Casey attempting video sex. Casey turned out to be utterly charming and just weird enough that I believed Mindy and Casey were perfect for each other. I loved them discussing how they “almost love each other.” “We’ve got the l,o, v, can I buy a vowel?” Casey says.
The scene with Mindy shouting up to Casey’s apartment window was hilarious. “It was a boy the whole time,” one of the neighbors shouts. And the pop-culture references remain spot-on. “You’re about to move to a third world country with your boyfriend,” Danny tells Mindy. “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do that like every week,” she replies.
I continue to hope the show will return for its second season stronger, leaner (we’ve got to get rid of some of those supporting characters) and with a clearer sense of the show it wants to be when it grows up.
Other thoughts on “Take Me With You”:
• For Kaling’s sake, I really hope that haircut was a wig.
• Last week Casey looked “like the villain in a National Lampoon movie.” This week he’s “all elbows and penis.”
• The show truly shines when showing the awkward moments that come with any relationship. Casey flossing his teeth with a particle of food landing in Mindy’s eye was simultaneously gross and funny.
• If I was having triplets, I would not want these guys as my doctors.
• On the plus side, no fight this week.
• I expect we will hear about a lot of changes the show is making over the summer. I will be very surprised if Betsy and Beverly both make it to season two.