The Mindy Project
Season 3, Episode 3: Crimes, Misdemeanors, & Ex-Boyfriends
Posted by Sage
I don’t want to compare Mindy and Danny to other TV pairings who have made the jump into legitimate coupledom after a lengthy period of torturing those of us who ship it. It’s counterproductive, and no show’s relationship trajectory will be the same as the last. Nor should it be. But I will say this: here we are at the third episode of season three, Danny and Mindy are still going strong, and I’m not the slightest bit bored.
Of course Mindy Kaling was pestered by every possible iteration of this question after the ship became canon, and even before. Could she possibly keep the show fresh and appealing to fans who fell in love with it largely because they feverishly willed Dandy with all their being? I can see how that question might seem relevant. But when you strip it down, what that question actually asks is, “Are you sure you’re a good enough writer to handle this?”
In “Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Ex-Boyfriends,” we see Danny struggling to cede a little control. We’ve seen it before: in “Pretty Man,” when Alex strong arms him into hosting a party at his immaculate apartment (“Okay, Monica from Friends.“); when his refusal to let Christina back in leads to the second implosion of that relationship; and time and time again, going all the way back to the beginning of the series and his resistance to the changes Mindy brought to the practice. (“Okay, so just for the record, this responsibility has been given to someone who has a chocolate fountain in her office.”)
I can’t talk about the new relationship “stuff” battle without bringing up Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big. In their case, Big’s squeamishness about taking that step to domesticate their relationship hinted at some deeply ingrained commitment issues. Danny Castellano is another story. He was the pursuer in this relationship and a relationship was what he wanted. He’s already so comfortable with Mindy in his house. (“Next to you, it’s the most valuable thing I own.”) And unlike Mr. Big and Carrie in those early years, not just when they’re in bed or on their way there. (Or on the washing machine.) No, this is truly a clutter issue born out of a Type A personality. Though Danny does exhibit a certain amount of cluelessness in not anticipating the affect his preciousness about his space would have on Mindy.
Lest we feel too sorry for Mindy, sadly dragging a suitcase containing only her hairbrush and her toothbrush behind her to and from Danny’s apartment, we find out that she is a tax evader. Like, Wesley Snipes style. She hasn’t filed her taxes in six years leaving Jeremy anxious over the future of the practice and Danny anxious over the future of our national monuments. (“You proud of yourself? Stealing from the Grand Canyon? The Liberty Bell?” “That was jacked up long before I hit the scene!”) To deal with it, she turns to one of the writing staff’s secret weapons (and possibly the only lawyer in New York City), her ex Cliff. Glenn Howerton is Dennis Reynolds, so I don’t have to tell you that he’s at his best in a character who’s vengeful and arrogant.
Cliff is reveling in Mindy’s legal troubles (“Well, well, well, well, well, well…”) and he’s got a right to. Mindy cheated on him with Danny and he won’t let her forget it. Mindy needs to woo him back over to her team on this for a couple of reasons. Cliff isn’t the only lawyer in New York City, but he is the only one in the building. And S&A’s reliance on him is just one example of their extreme laziness. So it’s gotta be Cliff, always. And Mindy’s other motive here is just to get him to stop hating her. She can’t stand it. She needs to be liked, even if Cliff isn’t going to be in her life after this tax business is put to bed. (“I could never repay you and I don’t plan to.”)
So she lies. She tells Cliff that she and Danny are broken up because he cheated on her. Suddenly she and Cliff are just two wounded hearts. And Danny is a dangerous sexual predator. (“Next time we break up, you be the Central Park Perv.” “I can’t Danny, I’m already the Washington Square Flasher, I’m SORRY.”) She makes it up to him by promising to fulfill his Pink Lady fantasy (“I’m not dressing up like Rizzo, that’s demeaning.” “Frenchie?”) and bows out of evening plans to go to the gym. And by “gym,” I mean secret business dinner with ex-boyfriend. What would Mindy’s butt say about that?
Cliff tells Danny that he and Mindy make a perfect couple because they’re both “terrible people and huge liars.” That’s a bit of an overstatement, but there’s something to it. In all their relationship shenanigans so far, no one’s showing a real lead on the scoreboard. Mindy keeps the dinner with Cliff from Danny, but tells Cliff the truth the second he starts to pull up on her. Danny isn’t up front about the ahem, legal status of his divorce from Christina, but he takes care of it as soon as it presents itself as a roadblock to happiness with Mindy. He even parts with his second most prized possession to make it happen. Go Sox!
He’d been avoiding the divorce for the same reason he resisted bras drying in the oven and hidden wine bottles: it was bound to be a mess. And when there’s a mess, who’s got the time to fold socks and watch JAG? Danny Castellano avoids chaos at all costs, except that thing where chose the most chaotic person in his life to be his partner. (“My work, and faith, and you.” “Wha, no!” “After faith? That’s too much, I can’t accept it.”) And let’s appreciate Danny Castellano for a minute here, as if we’re not doing that at all times at Head Over Feels. When Cliff described his apartment as occupied by Mindy Lahiri, Danny looked almost wistful. He wants that, even if he has to take baby steps to get there. Baby step #1 wasn’t too shabby. He went out to Isabel’s Attic, befriended Doily the cat, and picked out the most perfect dresser for Mindy. He knows her so well and that’s worth all pressed jeans in Danny’s closet.
Not everyone is considerate enough to be picking out shabby chic furniture for their boo. The Jeremy-Lauren-Peter love triangle continues to make my heart hurt. Peter oh so hopefully forgives Lauren for kissing Jeremy, not only because he likes her but because he’s proud of himself for doing the relationship thing for so long. He’s even making excuses for her in the breakroom.
I want poetic justice for Lauren like nothing else I’ve ever wanted before. How dare she suggest to Peter that they “put a pin in it” and then show up to his office and throw herself at his friend in front of him? How dare she make my precious baby Peter Prentice feel so helpless and hurt? At least this horrid storyline is bringing out the best in Adam Pally, from his man-to-man talk with little Henry (“I’m gonna take you to your first baseball game…it’s all gonna happen.”) to his impersonation of Jeremy on the phone (“Schwing! DONKEY. My wiffeee.”) Let’s resolve this one quickly and pretend it never happened. Otherwise, I’m following up with INS myself.
- “Hey…it’s a loan.” I snort-laughed.
- “So comfortable, I actually just farted.”
- Danny Castellano dropping knowledge in the breakroom.
- Bless it all for Danny in that tight black t-shirt, lifting that suitcase over his head.
- “Baby, baby, Daddy’s got you, okay? WAIT, NO. Now you’re doing it to me.”
- “You get waxed more than the Batmobile.”
- “Mindy get in here. JAG’s in a bit of a pickle.”
- Everything inside me died when Peter winked at baby Henry.
- I want to meet Danny’s cousin Don. And all of his cousins. I imagine them to be a co-ed version of Joey Tribbiani’s sisters.
- “Mindy?” “Something that’s had even more men on top of her.”
- “We’re really pushing the brand this year.”
If we keep with this format of Danny dealing with Mindy’s exes one by one, that’s at least taking us through to Season 5. How did you feel about this week’s episode, Mindians? And if you had to dress up like one of the Pink Ladies, which would you choose? I’d be Marty.