First off, I must say that I’m so happy that the fall season of television viewing is here! So many shows I have known and loved are back, including my Tuesday night staple, The Mindy Project. I’m a big fan of Kaling (I have a pulse, after all) and I hope that the series can make a solid showing this season so that it’s able to stick around long enough to qualify for syndication.
However, I’m not a big fan of this whole Mindy and Danny relationship. Let’s just get this sticking point out of the way. And stop calling me a hater, Mindy!
I don’t think that they’ve jumped the shark, per se, but I also don’t feel the romantic spark between their characters. Back in the days of The Office, I was all for a full-blown Jim and Pam romance; it just felt right (and some would say long overdue). But then what happened after they got together and got married? Their characters became kind of boring; sure, it was still interesting to see how they would navigate being parents and dealing with family matters and work matters simultaneously, but it didn’t make for compelling television. Additionally, any of the other Office romances that the show tried to present to its audience all wound up falling flat (although Ryan and Kelly’s confusing status was always a bright spot to watch) . On Scrubs, I was a big fan of J.D. and Elliot’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship, and hey they were also a pair of doctors surrounded by a gang of nutty nurses and support staff! So that’s something to aspire to, right?
For me, Mindy and Danny getting together feels a bit forced. Yes, they’ve had time to oppose one another, bicker like siblings, (Messina even says in the opening narration that his character Danny used to be a bit of a dick in the beginning), and goof around and rag on each other like old friends. And it’s evident that the writers on the show really struggled to rework the entire office dynamic (as there hasn’t been any callbacks to how Mindy used to casually hook up with Dr. Jeremy, and that’s odd since they are all partners in this same OB/GYN practice), so perhaps we, the viewers, are expected to be forgiving, and perhaps forgetful, of grievances from earlier episodes. And that’s something I’m glad to do as long as the narrative I’m now supposed to follow is one that makes sense.
Mindy’s romance with Casey, the bro-tastic pastor who she travels to Haiti with and becomes engaged to, felt the most organic to me. Being with Casey helped Mindy evolve a bit as a person and gave her character some new dimensions. And, come on, at the end of that season, her character cuts her freaking hair to prove she’s able to commit to Casey’s ministry trip! Their story arc was written really well and it was a shame to see Casey go. It was even worse to see him come back in the episode “LA” where the doctors are in Los Angeles for a conference and Mindy runs into an ultra-successful Casey whose life has made a 180-degree turn for the douchier.
I think the show did a nice job last season of getting Danny to come to terms with his emotional side. Originally, he’d been painted with a similar brush used on Ted Danson when he played Becker on television in the late ’90s: the old curmudgeon in a younger man’s body; the man who always knows the score and will tell you how you’ve been duped by slick advertising because you’re simple. And yet he keeps you on the payroll because he’s not a bad guy. And yet he’ll be the first person to tell you how he’s not a bad guy, and why he’s a great guy. So yes, it’s nice to see a new dimension to Danny Castellano. And while I’m on the subject of Ted Danson, I’m sure we all remember the many go-rounds of will they/won’t they between Sam and Diane on Cheers. While that made for compelling television at the time, it’s a love story that’s already been told, and maybe that’s another underlying reason why Mindy and Danny are getting together so early on in the life of the show (a show that seemed like it finally found its voice by the middle of last season), so that it doesn’t get accused of dragging out any drama and romance just to get ratings.
Side note: Can I now officially coin the term dra-mance? If we can have rom-com, is there not also room to have dra-mance?
Well, whatever path these doctors in love take together this season, I’ll still be along for the ride. Especially if it means learning more about “Diamond Dan,” which was Danny’s stripper name when he worked his way through med school. Whoa, nelly.
Other random thoughts from tonight:
Adam Pally is amazing and I am so glad I get to see him every week on television. R.I.P. Happy Endings. You lived your life like a candle in the wind.
Does the practice not pay Morgan? On tonight’s episode he mentions, yet again, his lack of funds. It’s a shtick that’s grown old and is a bit unnecessary to keep reinforcing. His character is already so offbeat, there’s no need for him to keep talking about being poor.
Beth Grant as Beverly is fun, but it feels like this character has run her course. It would be OK if she were to go, or was in just the occasional episode where a group-office scene requires her presence (similar to how Meredith was utilized in The Office.) However, I’ll never doubt her commitment to Sparkle Motion!
And what happened to Betsy? She wasn’t at that staff meeting in tonight’s episode. Will she be yet another female character on the show who just disappears? (Remember Mindy’s friends from Season 1, Gwen and Alex? And what ever happened to Shauna, the receptionist at the office who we thought had a thing for Danny?)
Tonight, Rob McElhenny guest-starred in a minor role as Morgan’s ex-con cousin. Last season, Glenn Howerton appeared in a story arc as Mindy’s lawyer boyfriend, Cliff. At this rate, provided The Mindy Project makes it through to a fourth season, we will hopefully be able to see all cast members from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia make an appearance on the show. Come on, Charlie Day, we’re counting on you!
Then again, it could actually be more feasible for Danny DeVito to guest star. He could reprise his role as the crying stripper from Friends, further expanding Danny’s history as male stripper “Diamond Dan” during his med school years, and giving The Mindy Project an unexpected crossover to the iconic comedy.
Speaking of “Diamond Dan,” I’m glad that the writers or producers or whoever has excellent sensibilities about giving the people what they want have realized they need to incorporate more sexy dancing into Dr. Danny Castellano’s repertoire. We haven’t seen him shake his moneymaker since last season’s “Christmas Party Sex Trap” episode, when he revealed that his Secret Santa gift for Mindy was performing a dance routine to Aaliyah’s “Try Again” song.
And since I can’t find a quality video of Danny stripping to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman” from tonight’s episode, I’ll instead leave you with this video.