Posted by Sage
*pulls out soapbox*
*stands on it*
THE MINDY PROJECT IS NOT A ROMANTIC COMEDY.
That’s not to say that the series hasn’t been known to have some romantic elements. Or that the central relationship isn’t important. But ultimately, it’s the story of terrible person Mindy Lahiri and her journey to becoming a little less terrible.
From the moment a show hits the airwaves, it belongs to its audience. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t bother with this blog. But for as long as new episodes are being produced, this is a conversation between “us,” the viewers and “them,” the creators. If an audience completely shuts out the creative voice, if they continue to ascribe guidelines to a show that was never intended to follow those guidelines, they’ll only become jaded and disappointed.
So if you watched that bombshell of an ending on this week’s Mindy and thought, “That’s weird. Seems like they jumped the gun on this,” then fucking good! That was the whole point. Here’s Mindy K.:
“That’s something we have been talking about since season one. We always like doing things out of order for Danny and Mindy, since they are a couple that, on paper, shouldn’t work.”
We are so conditioned with what we expect from our half-hour network comedies. Still. There’s an order in which we expect things to be done. “When will Danny propose?” we wonder, because hey, that’s the next box to check. But Mindy is a series that’s always sought to keep us slightly off-balance.
“In Mindy we trust,” as my friend Maggie just said to me on gChat.
Let’s back it up.
We catch up with Mindy three months into her Stanford fellowship. She’s straight killing it (“the program, not the patient”) and San Francisco feels both comfortable and exciting. There’s potential here – Mindy’s always been a good doctor, but she’s brighter and more motivated. It’s important to her that consummate New Yorker Danny appreciate the charms of her temporary home. But if it’s so temporary, then why should she care?
Danny is ready for Mindy to come back to the greatest city in the world. He has no interest in touring Alcatraz (“There’s no movie called Escape from Rikers. You know why? Because you can’t.”), there’s no place to get good salsicca; everyone’s on “the puff-puff,” and with its earthquake history being what it is, every minute Danny Castellano spends in California could be his last.
That’s why Mindy makes a surprise visit to Danny to broach the topic of the fertility clinic that Gurglar wants to open with her and its Saddam balcony. He’ll be more at ease on his own turf. (“I still haven’t fixed the headboard from the last time”) But she’s underestimated how much Danny missed her and how deeply he took their their commitment conversation in “Christmas” to heart. He bought her a brownstone. And he takes her to Harlem to see the renovations in progress, before rat daytime begins. (“It’s like the brothel that Don Draper was raised in.”)
Meanwhile, the Peter/Jeremy/Lauren storyline is wrapping up just as I feared. Lauren has dumped Jeremy (again!), because she is conflicted about her feelings for Peter and also because she is a monster. For reasons I’m just not meant to understand, Peter is still into her. Or we’re back in the front half of Jerry Maguire, where baby Jonathan Lipnicki was too precious of a tiny Drew Carey for Tom Cruise to resist. And Lauren is the Renee Zellweger character, except she completes no one.
Lauren is moving to Austin (because she’s so easygoing and colorful?), and Peter has decided to follow her. I’m sad about this, because Lauren is aspirational for Peter – the proof that he’s finally buried his fratty past. (RIP Lefty.) He latched on to the first adult woman he ever dated and sees her as his one chance. Peter’s self-esteem is kind of in the toilet, and I don’t think that spending his life with someone who’ll never love him like he loves her is going to help with that.
Despite the fact that Mindy IS NOT A ROM COM, it will always play with those conventions. This week, we had the great and mythical airport gesture. Peter bought a $1,000 ticket just to get to her gate (hopeless romantics had it way easier pre-9/11) and Lauren rewarded him by tapping her foot and looking nervously at the jetway while he poured out his heart. (“This is the final, final boarding for people having a moment.”) I don’t know, guys. I feel like Mindy would have stopped him if she hadn’t been so distracted.
But before Peter leaves his home, his best friend Mindy (sob), and the vaginistas who took him in in to bet on Lauren some day appreciating him, he steadies Danny and Mindy’s relationship one more time. They probably wouldn’t be together if it wasn’t for Peter, Danny tells Jeremy. And he’s right. Mindy’s closest bro has always been so wise when it comes to her love life; he counsels both of them to tell the truth, to be patient, to not get hung up on weird fights. What’s keeping Mindy from telling Danny about San Francisco is that she feels like she’s springing something on him – that this isn’t what he signed up for. “You’re allowed to change what you want in life,” Peter tells her. “People do it all the time.” She just has to tell Danny what she needs. “He loves you, he’ll understand.” Please don’t leave me, Peter Prentice.
- “What else did you do? Topless hugging? Bottomless dancing? Prove it.”
- “See? This is why Ma should be my Amazing Race partner.”
- “She thinks you’re Malala.”
- Peter and Mindy gossip while he does her pelvic exam. Best Friend Achievement Level: Unlocked.
- “It was a pap smear. I was just focusing on not farting.” This is the most true thing said in all three seasons of The Mindy Project.
- “Hear, hear. To groundin’ and poundin’.”
- “Very nice! My child!”
Did you see this coming, readers? And are you on board with adding a baby to the mix? Are you already missing Peter Prentice like I am? Let’s talk in the comments.