It is so clear to me now. I’ve been approaching The Mindy Project from the completely wrong perspective.
Now that I’ve fully embraced Mindy as a shallow, narcissistic, ridiculous and clueless character, I actually am able to enjoy the show. In “Triathlon,” Mindy contemplates converting to Christianity after Casey (guest star Anders Holm) tells her he’s not sure he can share his life with someone who doesn’t share his faith. That leads to Mindy hosting Betsy’s prayer group in her house. “It’s like Sons of Anarchy in here and not any of the young hot actors,” she tells Betsy. When Betsy gives her a cross necklace, Mindy can’t believe she contemplated changing religions without “considering the whole jewelry angle.” In the end, of course, she realizes she can’t convert and Casey realizes that’s OK.
The night’s main storyline belongs to Danny, who must deal with the sudden appearance of his ex-wife Christina (guest star Chloe Sevigny). Christina has showed up because she received the letter Morgan mailed in the “Bunk Bed” episode back in January. It’s a letter Danny wrote to Christina but never mailed. Now she’s back and wants to make things work. By the end of the episode Danny realizes, “I’m mad that I’m not mad anymore.” Anyone who has gone through a bad breakup can probably relate to that feeling. Sevingy will return for the show’s season finale on May 14, so The Mindy Project will continue to explore that relationship. Chris Messina is doing fantastic work as Danny, but this storyline has a depth and resonance that doesn’t quite gel with the rest of the series, which is superficial.
There remain some things the show needs let go of. The Duplass brothers were back as the ingratiating midwives. Now they’ve hired Morgan, which just made a bad situation worse. The comedy continues to not know what to do with any supporting character who is not Danny. (Although Jeremy did get one of the best lines of the night: Upon meeting Christina, he exclaimed, “I’m geeking out. We’ve heard almost nothing about you.”)
And for some reason Mindy’s friend Maggie is at the finish line—did the show promise the actress a certain number of episodes? The Mindy Project remains a show whose parts are better than its whole and a show whose only consistency is its inconsistency in terms of characters and tone. I’m cautiously optimistic that the show may be able to sort itself out over the summer before it returns for season two.
Other thoughts on “Triathlon”:
• As a teen, Mindy sent fan mail to Christian Slater before receiving a note that “Mr. Slater is no longer accepting hair.” Last night Slater tweeted Kaling “Thanks for the shoutout @mindykaling- I would have written back!” Such good times.
• I continue to love Mindy’s approach to exercise. “This sounds important. I’ll put away my sangria.”
• Loved the scene where the construction workers thought Mindy was harassing Christina. It was subtle and smart and the show should have more social commentary like that.
• Xosha Roquemore, who played the singing nurse, was hired as a series regular for next season. Considering the fact that the show doesn’t seem to know what to do with the series regulars it already has, this concerns me.
• Given all that Sevigny went through on American Horror Story, I’m so happy to see her in a comedy.