The pilot of The Mindy Project ended with Mindy watching When Harry Met Sally while Danny stood off to the side unmoved. (“Who would actually do that? Billy, don’t run!”) Danny didn’t think Mindy should be taken in by grand romantic gestures. She should be more interested in whether a man would patrol her house naked with a baseball bat at the sound of breaking glass or get into a fist fight at a Springsteen concert. (“Ok, now you’re just talking about yourself.”) He pictured himself with her from the start, but he never pictured himself in a rom-com. That was always Mindy’s dream.
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for The Mindy Project, Mindy Lahiri, Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling’s work on The Office, and basically anything with this woman’s name on it. Mindy adds something wonderful to the Hollywood showrunner conversation because she refuses to be defined by one aspect of her identity. Her character is the same. Dr. Mindy Lahiri practices medicine and loves romantic comedies. She wears bright dresses (“And this outfit, well, even I had a couple misgivings when I put it on this morning, but it’s COLORFUL”) and is moderately useless around the house (“You know my plan in an emergency is just to count to ten and wait for death’s embrace”). She chases down a one-night stand because she thinks he left his scarf at her place as a kind of secret Cinderella code, and she gives a college-age woman birth control and a safe place to stay.
Not a single part of this should be revolutionary. (more…)
It’s safe to say that TV hasn’t been giving us good times lately, so when Mindy launched into a joyful voiceover about how great it was to straight-up date Danny Castellano—complete with a romcom-style montage of their secret make-out sessions (“Let me read the chart first and then I’ll give you kisses!”)—maybe I should have known. Their relationship was too precious for this world. We can’t have nice things right now.
The Mindy Project got real for me when Danny Castellano danced. Danny, who thinks the sunshine emoticon has some issues to work through (“It makes no sense, the sun’s the only thing that never needs sunglasses”), performed a hip hop dance routine to Aaliyah’s “Try Again,” which Mindy used to love. He said was the first thing about her that ever really annoyed him, and he said THAT in such a way that it sounded like a damn sexy pick-up line. He ran his hand down his side. He smiled when he brushed his shoulder off. He cupped Mindy’s chin in his hand like Pocahontas reaching for some kind of rare feather. It changed me.