Season 3, Episode 21
Posted by Sage
With season three of The Mindy Project now in our rear view mirror, the uneven focus on Danny and Mindy’s families has been revealed to be totally strategic. And just like last year’s finale, “Best Man” is about Danny proving something essential to Mindy and going to great lengths to do so. The show, meanwhile, proved that even a relatively stable couple with a baby on the way can provide enough drama to justify a juicy season-ending cliffhanger. Take that, haters. And tell me more about how relationship-focused series are inevitably headed to blander territory when their will-they/won’t-they’s become canon. Really. It’s soooo insightful.
The best of intentions can only take you so far. Loving someone can only take you so far. Once those tactics have been exhausted, the only thing that will work is changing your own routine, re-shifting your priorities, and doing some things that – back when your only obligation was to yourself – you would never do.
As we talked over the episode, Kim pointed out that Mindy has been waiting for the other shoe to drop with Danny all season. TMP has used the couple’s parents as this nice relationship barometer this year, and the absence of Mindy’s parents symbolized her lingering uncertainty. She’s never felt quite settled, and her doubts have been stoked by all those little hiccups that have entertained us every Tuesday from 9:30 to 10:00pm EST. We should be ashamed.
And, bless her light, neither is Mindy. I’ve said before on this blog that Mindy Lahiri absolutely is not a hero, except when she is. She won’t let the ghost of Christina or of Danny’s loser dad rattle their chains over her relationship. And she won’t pretend that she doesn’t want what she wants just to hold on to a guy who doesn’t know if he can give it to her. I’m so tired of qualifications being placed on “strong female characters” – all the do’s and don’t’s of being a heroine that we’re allowed to celebrate and look up to. Mindy has always fought for her right to delight in the things that other people find frivolous and silly, and a Pinterest board wedding is another one. Maybe you’d rather die than watch a tutorial on crafting a bouquet out of vintage book pages. But if you’re a woman who participates in the de-valuing of interests and traits that are usually associated with femininity, then you’re just helping the patriarchy do its job.
Anyway, Mindy does not apologize. And her refusal to compromise on some Earlybird-filtered nuptials is just as meaningful to me as Buffy saving the world before cheerleading practice, CJ Cregg running the White House, and Clara Oswald snickering at the idea that she’s the Doctor’s “assistant.”
In fact, it’s Danny who looks like the childish one here. He’s holding on to old hurts like so many security blankets; while Mindy just keeps opening herself up, over and over again. There were times this season when I felt that Rhea Pearlman was being overused, but Annette and Danny’s arc came together beautifully in the end. (PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE THE END.) Danny justifies his stand by (rather cheaply) reminding her of just how much his dad ended up screwing them both over. And he plays the Christina card, even though the blame for that divorce is pretty well split. Annette chides herself for not addressing her son’s emotional needs sooner, and gives him some gentle perspective. “Danny, maybe the problem isn’t marriage. Maybe we picked people who didn’t deserve it.”
But Danny’s feelings are still valid, dumb as they might be. He shouldn’t have kept this from Mindy. But he did it because he feared it would be a dealbreaker, and maybe it is. Again, relationships = total screaming insanity. You want the thing, the other person doesn’t want the thing, both of you have equal rights to feel what you feel about wanting the thing…it’s a disaster. And casting blame doesn’t do any good. Even when Mindy thought that her relationship with Danny might be over, she still sent an email to her parents telling them that he is “the best person she’s ever dated” and “will be a great dad.” Because marrying her isn’t a condition of either of those things.
In the end, Danny decides that Mindy is worth more too. I like that there’s this trend of Danny running after her or for her or to her in some way, because I think he just has a longer distance to travel. And just look how much farther he’s willing to now. Last year, we were miffed because he left the observatory deck after an hour to grab a slice. This year, he took a plane (he hates to fly) to India (of whose cultures and traditions he has a profound and willful misunderstanding), which is a very hot place (SWEAT) to introduce himself to Mindy’s parents (scary), who don’t know he’s the father of her baby (suicide?). And if Danny Castellano can do all that, surely Fox can grant us a season four. Cause we’re not going out like this. Not on my watch.
- “I feel like you’ve been sending Pube mixed messages.”
- More saris in season four!
- “Not you. Never you.”
- “But I will not have my crotch do voices for her. That’s for you.”
- So much happened in this episode that I haven’t even mentioned Laura Dern and her accent yet. LAURA DERN.
- Or Ders!
- There was little to no point in bringing in all of Mindy’s exes for that tiny scene, but I have no complaints.
- “More importantly, when your heart is full of lies, it makes it difficult for your feet to be light with dance.” I miss ya, Pete.
- “They’re reversible. Inside there’s birds.”
#RenewMindy. Thoughts in the comments, please.