The Mindy Project
Season 3, Episode 1: We’re A Couple Now, Haters
Posted by Sage
Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano have returned to our lives. And I’d like to recommend the delicate Fox censors cover their ears for this one, cause they’re a couple now, bitches.
The title of the episode is less directed to their friends and colleagues whose opinions about the relationship lie somewhere on the spectrum between ambivalence and total elation and more towards its audience and critics. We’re a couple now, bitches, and our show isn’t going to suffer for it.
We’ve seen the resolution of a will-they/won’t-they bring a show’s momentum to a screeching halt. (Though the New Girl season premiere gives me faith that the loft crew can be pulled out of the hole their writers dug them into in season 3.) The Mindy premiere goes on the offensive, pulling out the stops to prove that Danny and Mindy’s new dynamic is going to be just as engaging to its fans as their struggle to find each other.
We don’t pick up at the Empire State Building, but join a relationship in progress. Everything’s clearly fine in the bedroom and anywhere Danny and Mindy are alone. He goes willingly when Mindy distracts him from his boring TV with a couch makeout session; she tries cantaloupe for the first time. (Throw some proscuitto in there, Dan. What kind of Italian are you?) Things are good with Team Honeymoon Phase. Until other people are involved.
The conflict isn’t invented – it’s a callback to “Be Cool” and the stark differences in Danny and Mindy’s personalities (and personal filters) in general. Danny isn’t pleased to hear that Mindy’s been making break room chat of his “mouth skills.” (“She says you’re like a thirsty camel at a desert oasis.”) Besides revealing the long-held secrets of “The Staten Island Handshake” (“You said you blacked out.”), Mindy’s openness gives Danny’s coworkers Level 7 access to what he considers his private affairs. Mindy’s life is an open book. Everything she experiences happens to her twice: once, when it actually does; and again, when she tells the story. And who wouldn’t want to relive that magic mouth over and over again during a long, hard work day? It’s not like we’re getting any pipe room trysts out of this deal. The pipe room is zoned for yelling and petty insults only.
These important, personal, relationship-defining issues of trust and privacy come to a head with the discovery of a hot pink, bedazzled thong. (Don’t they always?) While perusing Danny’s drawers for any t-shirts that aren’t a boys medium, Mindy finds the incriminating garment. And of course, can’t let his non-explanation lie. I really should have seen this coming, because Mindy is so, so good to us. Instead, I seal-clapped when Morgan displayed questionably professional knowledge of “where the weiner goes” and Mindy google-imaged the smoking gun: a young Daniel Castellano on the flyer for Exquisite Butt’s Guy2K party. He’s that trashy skank!
It’s good to know that when Danny spirals out by himself, he deals with it by immersing himself in Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s award-winning Disney ballad. But he can’t even get to the first verse before the cousins Tookers come in and give some advice that’s actually helpful. Mindy can’t keep her mouth shut, but she’s the person Danny chose. And all she’s doing when she praises Danny’s bedroom prowess is making sure that everyone knows how good she’s got it. Anyway, Danny’s not so discrete himself. He’s always been way more invested in his coworkers than he’d like to admit. If he hadn’t allowed Mindy to pull him into her life, they wouldn’t be together now. And even he can’t resist a little bit of office gossip.
We’ll leave the turmoil on the street, because all is well outside Mindy’s apartment. (And if things go down, she’s got her favorite knife.) Danny brings her a list of secrets, both to prove to her that he trusts her and also, to lift some weight off of himself. He doesn’t have anyone else to share this stuff with, and hasn’t for a long time. Richie knows the purse story maybe, but I think Danny tries to shield him from his deep-seated anger towards his dad. No wonder he was “kind of a dick back then.” Danny centered himself by holding everything in. Mindy survives on getting everything out. There’s a balance in here somewhere, and it’s two beautiful people baring their hearts on a fire escape.
Are you proud of me for getting through this much of the recap without dissolving into a puddle of feminine response? Because you should be. But now it’s time to talk about the last 60 seconds of this episode, so all bets are off. Let’s do this.
Daniel Castellano’s job was to clear the air with Mindy and ease her mind. Diamond Dan’s job is to make her feel adored. I assumed that when Danny’s stripping past was introduced, it would come back in some kind of way – probably to humiliate him further. But I never guessed that the show would use it like this. There is not one joke in this sequence. No one even cracks a smile. By performing for her, Danny lets Mindy know that not only doesn’t he mind that she knows his secrets, but that they’re actually hers to do what she wants with. His dance was a gift and a pledge, and all about her in a way that makes it so much more than one of our Sexiest Men Alive grinding to Lenny Kravitz. Vanity Fair ran a great piece about what The Mindy Project is doing for the Female Gaze on network TV. I highly recommend it for looking at this dance through a lens of cultural significance. Not that you need to look at this watershed moment in television history through any lens other than the ones on your eyeballs. Or your glasses, if your vision requires. Put those suckers on, ’cause we’re going through this again…together.
I like the look of season three already. Welcome back, Dr. L.
- Between Arrow and The Mindy Project, I’ve hit my limit on Windows 8 product placement.
- “How about a charity that helps girls who want to look bangable at work?”
- I miss Betsy. At the very least, I needed her reactions to all the talk of Danny’s masterful mouth.
- Speaking of that, I’m amused that Fox made the show take “Bitches” out of the episode title and yet allowed detailed discussions of Danny going down on Mindy.
- “You killed Richard Lewis!?”
- The striptease was choreographed by Alison Faulk, known mostly for her work on Magic Mike. If Messina’s agent hasn’t gotten a call offering him a role in XXL yet, Alison has failed this city.
- Danny has probably written odes to Mindy’s big ass on his piano. If you think that him pointing it out to her was an insult, that probably says more about you than it does about him.
- “Has anyone seen my talc? I need it, it’s humid.”
- I was in a movie on Tuesday when the episode aired and when I got out, all my texts were people checking on me to make sure I’d survived Diamond Dan. I did not.
- Get it in that freakum, Tamara:
- “Cause Terry at the boxing gym, he drives a bus on Wednesdays,” says Danny, sitting on Mindy’s bed in his red reading glasses and comfy socks. I’m so in love.
- “Man, so much drama at this vagina clinic, huh?”
How’d the Mindy premiere feel to you, readers? Please feel free to go into significant detail about the bodily changes you experienced to the sweet sounds of “American Woman” in the comments.