This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Mindy Project, “Christmas Party Sex Trap.”
This show continued its short tradition of having an amazing Christmas episode (and it included a callback to last year by playing “Last Christmas” toward the end, right when Mindy’s feeling sad) that delivered on all fronts. It even had Maria Menounos!
The cold open was pretty great; we watched as Mindy purchased a small Christmas tree for the office, tied it to her back, dragged it across Manhattan, hauled it upstairs to the office, and found everyone decorating a prettier tree without her. She promptly hauled that tree up to their balcony and threw it down the stairs. And credits! (Poor tree.)
Presumably, there was going to be a longer break between the last episode and this one, since Dr. Reed is returning from fat camp looking like his former season 1 self. I was wondering how long they were going to make him keep that gut, it’s nice to have him back!
Mindy, meanwhile, is on the subway with Cliff, who is sleepy and unshaved thanks to a late-night fight with Heather. She’s a little too gleeful over the fact that Cliff is close to breaking up with Heather, if only it weren’t for his pesky concert tickets this month. (Cliff really seems to like concerts.)
Mindy decides to throw a Christmas party for the building in a thinly-veiled attempt to expedite Cliff’s breakup, and you gotta admire her spirit. She lists the “randos” that work in the building, mentioning the notary public (remember when Danny was going to take his driving test, and he kept calling it the “notary republic”?) and the lawyers down the hall, and Danny figures things out pretty quickly from there. He takes it like a champ, though, and hands Mindy her Secret Santa gift from him: medical gauze. You can’t talk me out of the notion that Danny traded like a mad man until he got Mindy, because he’s all smitten and stuff. Just let me have this one!
Through a lot of arguing and a creepy throwaway line from Morgan, the party turns into a dry and gluten-free gala which sounds terrible. One of those things would be fine: I can handle gluten-free, I can handle no booze. But both?! I was totally on Mindy’s side when she got that booze bra.
Peter and Jeremy are responsible for delivering invitations, which translates to them slipping papers under doors while Peter ruminates over the number of taxidermists in their building, and during the process they become “sober buddies.” Peter will keep Jeremy from eating junk, and Jeremy will keep Peter from drinking. The matchup potentials in this cast are neverending.
At the elevators, Danny excitedly gives Mindy hints about the gingerbread “structure” he’s building for Christmas this year: “It’s the house of a man that’s very important to this country!” I insanely thought, “Wow, Danny’s gonna build Fallingwater out of gingerbread?!” but my husband practically yelled “Monticello!” and lo and behold, he ended up being right. (Sidenote: I got him to watch this show on the premise that “Danny Castellano is the angrier, Italian version of you!” and this definitely helps prove that theory.)
They encounter the midwife, Brendan Deslaurier, arm-in-arm with Maria Menounos, who happens to be Mindy’s hair idol! Mindy is freaked that Deslaurier scored such a hottie, and she doesn’t appear to be comforted by Danny coming to her defense when Deslaurier makes a snide-ish comment about her singledom. He turns the knife even more (“Holidays are always hardest on the lonely”) which causes Mindy to blurt out that she’s dating a lawyer from their building! Too bad you invited everyone from the building to that party, eh, Min?
Danny calls Mindy a “little nutjob” after dubbing the party a “Christmas Party Sex Trap” while he guides her across the street with his hand on the small of her back. After thanking Danny for calling her “little,” Mindy lays out her plan to seduce Cliff, with “Blurred Lines” playing in the background of the scenario.. It even includes a sexy rendition of “Santa Baby.” Why do people feel the need to say it’s going to be a sexy performance of that song? Are there people in the world who sing that song without the express intent of seducing someone? Anyway, Danny has a different “Santa Baby”-related rant: “It’s disgusting! It sexualizes Santa!” Mindy’s four-step plan finishes on the snow-covered balcony as she makes out with Cliff, but Danny bluntly says it’s the stupidest plan in the history of everything. Mindy sweetly tells him that he’s wrong, and she looks so sweet and hopeful that you can’t help but want her to be right… even if you’re also wishing she’d just kiss the guy standing right in front of her.
At the actual party, Mindy is wearing a much prettier dress than the one from her four-step scenario, and she asks Danny to pour the wine into her wine bra. She mentions that it has an added benefit: the bra expands as it fills with wine. Danny’s voice cracks when he says, “You should wear that every day.” And seriously, he can’t stop staring.
The Hot Man music plays (you know, the music that played for Bill Hader, and Ed Helms, and James Franco… there might have been others, but those are the ones I remember) as Cliff walks in, and Mindy puts her plan into action. She finishes step 1 with relative ease: ignoring Cliff as she talks to the most interesting man at the party.
She sneaks into the Hot Pipe Room (her words, not mine, the suggestiveness is up to you) where Danny’s wearing his old man glasses as he works on his “structure.” He asks how far she is on her plan:
Danny: “What step of the Man Trap are you on? Hit him over the head with a rolling pin and pull down his pants?”
Mindy: “Ha ha ha, you know I don’t own any cooking stuff, joke’s on you!”
Then she spots the “structure” and gets all excited, but Danny won’t let her see it until the unveiling.
Danny: “I’ll give you a hint: it’s located in Virginia.”
Mindy: “Mount Rushmore?”
Danny: “The Massachusetts public school system has really let you down.”
Mindy: “I’m sorry? I’m a good looking doctor. I think I did fine.”
She reprimands him for not putting more thought into his Secret Santa gifts, which reminds Danny to hand her her next gift: a stapler. At this point, we all knew he was building up to something pretty great, right? Right.
Deslaurier is harumphing around the party, making an ass of himself and generally treating Maria Menounos like property, while Peter lusts after Maria and whines about needing to drink in order to build up the courage to approach her. Deslaurier eventually makes it to Cliff, and instantly assumes he is the lawyer Mindy is dating, but Cliff misunderstands and thinks Mindy is dating someone else. Disappointed, Cliff leaves the party, right before Mindy is set to start her “Santa Baby” routine. When she realizes Cliff is gone, she decides not to do it, and Maria takes over instead. (I’m not sure if this episode wanted me to hate Maria Menounos, but I kinda do now.) Mindy retires to her office.
Jeremy, tempted by frosting Maria had put on his nose, is spiraling. Maria gets dumped by Deslaurier (he’s always treating women like crap, are we supposed to find that cute?) as Peter spies on her.
Danny finds Mindy sitting on the floor of her office. He asks if she’s sad, but she’s not: “I’m heartbroken.” And she looks it. She’s not being melodramatic, she’s not laid out on the floor begging for people to pity her. She’s alone and quiet, crunched up in a ball in the corner of her office. She worries that she’s a “pathetic loser,” for concocting this whole thing, which I don’t think she is at all. Maybe it’s not above board, to go after a guy in a relationship, but at least she took that chance. That’s the best thing about Mindy: she’s always going to believe in love.
Danny thinks he has something that will cheer her up, and it’s fantastic. I can’t even put it into words, which is why gifs are the greatest thing to happen to the internet. He presses play on his iPod, and Aaliyah’s “Try Again” starts playing, taking me right back to middle school, and taking Danny right back to when he first met Mindy.
“When you first started working here, you used to play this nonstop. It was the first thing about you that ever really annoyed me.”
“I know, it’s stupid, so, uh, anyway, I can get you a gift card or write a personal check.”
But Mindy is touched beyond words. She says she loved it, and then hugs him tightly, and then they have A Moment. Unfortunately for Danny, he probably pictured doing this dance in a different kind of setting. He didn’t anticipate Mindy being sad or needing cheering up, so I wonder what kind of message he was trying to send here if Mindy’s plan had worked? Was he going to do this dance as Mindy glowed with the happiness of a new relationship with a man she really likes? Would it have been an overt declaration of his feelings? We’ll never know, will we?
Peter bursts into the office searching for Mindy’s booze bra so he can get drunk enough to hit on Maria Menounos, then Jeremy bursts in with only the bottom quarter of Monticello, having been trapped in the closet with it when he was vulnerable, then Morgan bursts in with a Morgan issue and senses the weird vibe. Danny and Mindy glance at each other in alarm, which means they both felt it.
Jeremy frets about what he’s just done (it IS some pretty serious binge eating behavior) and says, “Maybe I’m just a fat guy! I mean, I’m in the right country for it, and I’m tall, so I wear it well.” Peter and Jeremy work through their fear issues pretty quickly, which is good because Mindy’s yelling at them to vacate her office.
She and Danny are alone again, but she says she wanted to go get a breath of fresh air, aka go to the balcony, but Danny soberly tells her that he’s going to stay at the party. Maybe he chickened out, or maybe he just doesn’t like the timing of things with Mindy having such strong feelings for Cliff, but either way, he very consciously made the decision not to take the next step with Mindy. They both know it, though Mindy hides her disappointment well. Danny seems to regret it a bit after Mindy leaves, but Danny also isn’t the type to dwell. Much.
Mindy talks to a pigeon on the snow-covered balcony as “Last Christmas” plays faintly from the party, but then Cliff appears with a Christmas cookie in hand. “Thank you! Gluten is my favorite food!” Dude really knows the quickest way to Mindy’s heart. We see Danny appear in the window above them, watching as the following scene unfolds.
Cliff: “I know you just started dating somebody–”
Mindy: “Wait, what?”
Cliff: “Yeah, the midwife and the lady from Extra told me? And when I heard that, I thought, ‘Cliff, you know, that window is closing, and you’re gonna miss your chance.’ So I left, and I broke it off with Heather. And I know this is a little bit of a long shot, and I don’t know who this guy is you’re dating, he’s probably the stockbroker, a racecar driver, something really cool–”
Mindy: “No, it’s you! I lied and said it was you, because I’m crazy!”
Mindy: “It’s the stockbroker.”
Cliff: “Anyway, the point is, I don’t want you to be with him, because I want you to be with me.”
Mindy: “I want me to be with you, too.”
It starts snowing just as they kiss, which means Mindy’s plan didn’t happen perfectly, but she was still right in the end. Upstairs, Danny watches as he realizes he may have missed his opportunity.
Call me crazy, but I think they might have a winner with Cliff. Not only is he good looking, successful, funny, and nice, but he treats Mindy right and he seems to really respect her. They have a lot of back and forth, but the fact that he assumed she was dating a “really cool” guy is pretty telling. He’s a far cry from Casey, who basically called Mindy fat when he proposed… and Casey was the best of her exes. What I’m trying to say is: I’ll be heartbroken when/if Cliff turns out to be a jerk just like the rest of them.
Oh, and somehow, Maria Menounos is shocked that a guy is willing to drive her to some Connecticut tree farm overnight. Like that doesn’t happen to beautiful women like her on the regular. Come on, Maria Menounos.