“You love me until you don’t.”

Originally, I had no plans to write about The Mindy Project’s Season 2 finale, titled “Danny and Mindy.” The show took a marked turn for me when Danny broke up with Mindy, not because of the breakup itself (it was played very realistically and contained emotional nuance that had come to define this show) but because of the fallout — or rather, the lack thereof. The subsequent episodes found Danny and Mindy acting largely unaffected by their failed romance, which seemed incongruent with the relationship as it blossomed. Danny kissed her, and Mindy immediately admitted that she’s had deep and long-standing feelings for him. When the relationship ended, I expected to see the battle scars from that. What we got was Danny chasing Peter’s sister and Mindy wandering around listlessly, swearing off men and essentially letting Danny off the hook for breaking her heart.

 

I could handle the story at that point, because Danny is gun shy about relationships and Mindy is not a vengeful person. Sure, I would’ve liked to have seen her hold Danny accountable, especially when he had the gall to expect her to fall back into their old friendship, but this is the same Mindy who took it upon herself to ruin Josh’s wedding even after he was horrible to her. She’s the same Mindy who scrambled to fly back to New York after Cliff dumped her for a lame reason.

Then we met Charlie, the sweet and handsome single father of one of her patients. Just like in any good romcom, Mindy and Charlie butted heads, but they grudgingly came to like each other and eventually dated. Charlie ran a narrative that we really haven’t seen for Mindy yet: He encouraged her to have self-respect and self-esteem. He didn’t do it condescendingly, as if he saw Mindy as a poor helpless woman who needed a man to pick her up. Instead, he saw her as a beautiful, smart, and perfectly capable woman who, for whatever reason, tends to get down on herself. His incredulity that she gets the men she’s dating to do her housework was followed with a comment about his daughter: “I wouldn’t want my Jenny waiting around for some guy to do something she could do herself.” There are exceptions, of course, like when Mindy asks Charlie to kill a spider for her, but it’s the first time Mindy seems to consider that she’s capable of doing more than she thinks.

 

Charlie later forces Mindy to put out an oven fire on her own, and she glows with the triumph, only to be interrupted by Danny. The scene ends with Charlie magnanimously excusing himself, because he doesn’t want to get in the middle of any romantic entanglements. He correctly read the situation and tried to bow out, but Mindy (possibly growing to like the way Charlie made her feel empowered) calls him for a real date. And that was when Danny tried to kiss her and win her back.

That scene is one of the best from this show, and one of the reasons I get so upset about how the finale turned out. Mindy rightfully points out that Danny only wants her back now because she’s about to go on a date, and Danny insists that’s not true. Honestly, for Danny, it’s probably not true. Sure, her impending date with Charlie gives him a deadline, but he’s been coming to the realization for two months that he’s made a big mistake. For Mindy, it’s all about bad timing and poorly-concealed jealousy, but for Danny, it was about his last chance. The scene is played perfectly between the two actors, but unfortunately, due to the inconsistent writing for Danny (he went from loving Mindy to relentlessly and unapologetically pursuing Sally, Peter’s sister, in one episode) the scene ended with him coming off as the jerk in this situation.

All of this is important to cover before I talk about the finale because the characterization has been lacking. For Danny, it’s been lacking since the breakup. One second he’s morose and standoffish, the next he’s happily dating a new woman and seems to have forgotten about Mindy, and then in another episode he’s missing her friendship and acting like a kicked puppy when Mindy doesn’t have time for him. It reeks of Danny expecting Mindy to wait for him, and again, it’s important to remember that he was the one who ended things because he got scared.

Mindy was more consistent, because we got to see her grieving process. She swore off men and tried to embrace singlehood, and then Charlie just sort of happened. He was refreshing and nice, and as a fan of Mindy, I found myself wanting him to stick around longer. When the season finale opened with Mindy exchanging flirtatious emails with a stranger she’d met on the subway, I was a bit disgruntled. Luckily for all of us, Charlie let Mindy off the hook pretty easily; he was never in love with her, and just like Mindy, he never really saw a future with them. (“And I’m pretty sure you took $20 off my nightstand.” “I believe I earned that money back, with the stuff I did to you later that night.” “You’re describing yourself as a prostitute again, you’ve gotta stop that.” “I know, I know.”) It was a respectable end, but it wasn’t great to watch Mindy be emotionally unfaithful to Charlie. As someone who has been cheated on in the past, I would’ve expected Mindy to be a little more considerate in that position.

In the finale, a lot of the bad character choices stemmed from the show’s quest to fit in as many romcom homages as possible. I’m a big fan of romcoms, so I was excited to see what this show would do. What I didn’t expect was three specific romcoms, which were twisted and bent until they fit perfectly into three acts. The problem isn’t the romcoms themselves — romcoms actually track very well on this show, remember Jamie and Lucy? — but the fact that this episode tried so hard to in the romcoms so specifically that it came at the expense of its characters.

Take the first act, for example. The strangers exchanging emails and finding common ground was an obvious homage to You’ve Got Mail, the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan classic from the dial-up modem age. The scenes were shot similarly, the voiceovers were the same, and the score made it feel like you were living in that sequence where Joe Fox says, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” I love You’ve Got Mail, probably as much as Mindy loves it. It definitely ranks as one of my all-time favorite romcoms, and it’s one of the few movies my dad will watch, so my siblings and I all know most of it by heart.

Unfortunately, The Mindy Project twisted the narrative of this romcom too much for it to work. At the end of the first act, it’s revealed that Danny is actually catfishing Mindy. He placed the ad and has been emailing Mindy as the handsome stranger, Andy, using his intimate knowledge of her as a way of getting her to fall back in love with him. In You’ve Got Mail, Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly spend the majority of their correspondence in total ignorance of the other’s real identity. Later, when Joe realizes just who Kathleen is, he panics and stands her up, both because of how much he dislikes her and because she would have done the same thing to him. He only starts emailing her back later when he realizes that she’s not such a bad person, but none of it is done in blatant manipulation of her feelings.

Danny makes himself sound so appealing that Mindy feels compelled to break up with Charlie and pursue a romance with a stranger. He purposefully sprinkles in some of her cliches, anecdotes, and various rants so that she is convinced he is The One for her. When Morgan figures out Danny’s nasty secret, Danny begs Morgan not to spill, even as he admits that he has no real endgame. Morgan, who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, doesn’t think to question that part of the plan.

If You’ve Got Mail had gone anything like how The Mindy Project portrayed it, it would not be one of the most enduring romcoms of the last 30 years. It would’ve flailed in the cesspool of The Ugly Truth and Something Borrowed and all of the other lackluster so-called romcoms that have descended on us since the early aughts. Watching Tom Hanks catfish Meg Ryan? That sounds like a Lifetime movie, not a romantic comedy. The show would’ve been better off trying to homage You’ve Got Mail by having Danny and Mindy unknowingly corresponding with each other for a few weeks. It’s not a ridiculous premise: online dating sites are the perfect platform to set such a scenario.

The second act had Mindy dumping Charlie and then telling Danny (as he got dressed up as Bradley Cooper, twenty-piece suit and all) that she thinks he was right about them: they don’t belong together.

 

“You said that guys don’t break up with girls they secretly want to be with. And then I knew, for certain, that you didn’t want me. It was fine, though, because I learned in time that you weren’t right for me, either. We are who we are, and that won’t change.”

Danny is so shaken by this speech (a speech that he brought on himself by dumping her) that he proceeds to stand her up, as Andy, at the Empire State Building that night. Mindy isn’t destroyed by it, but she does get sick, because she stood up there all night in the freezing rain waiting for him.

He brings her soup (okay, zuppa) and offers to watch a romcom with her, and that’s when the episode flows from You’ve Got Mail to When Harry Met Sally. It includes a gorgeous montage of Mindy and Danny visiting “every place Meg Ryan ever laugh-cried,” but it also included the unfortunate omission that Danny did, in fact, catfish Mindy. It’s a jarring admission in an otherwise sweet montage, and though it did get a laugh from me, it was more of an uncomfortable chuckle than my usual loud, obnoxious laugh. Danny’s voiceover continues, “Until one day, Andy was a distant memory.” Mindy’s gazing at Danny adoringly, and it would’ve been very sweet and swoon-worthy if it hadn’t been born out of Danny’s manipulation of her feelings.

 

Then Mindy spots not-Andy on the train and attacks him for standing her up at the Empire State Building. Danny is forced to come clean about the whole thing, and it goes about as poorly as any sane non-Castellano would expect.

“You-slash-Andy made me break up with Charlie! And then you stood me up, at my favorite place in the entire world!”
“I didn’t want to tell you, because I knew this would happen. I knew it would push you away. I love you. Mindy, I love you. I want to be with you. Look at me, I want to be with you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Yes you do!”
“I don’t.”
“Why?”
“Because you love me until you don’t, okay. I’m not gonna do that anymore. I want something real, Danny.”
“This is real. It’s real. I can prove it to you. Tonight, eight o’clock, meet me at the top of the Empire State Building. I don’t care if you say no, I will wait all night for you. Please, please, please, just give me another chance.”
“I can’t go.”
“Why?”
“Because I have plans.”
“To do what?”
“To not be the stupidest person in the world.”

 

That scene was hands-down the best scene of the entire episode, and it’s the only one that doesn’t derive straight from a romcom. It’s one of the few scenes that just lets the characters be themselves, and the emotion is raw and real. We could feel Mindy shutting down, her pain and humiliation as she yelled at Danny, and we could feel Danny’s regret and earnest pleas for another chance. This is the sort of scene that deserves to be followed up with a grand, romantic gesture, it deserved a good resolution, but instead, we got more twisted romcom plots that resulted in both of these characters being shortchanged.

The third act was definitely the Sleepless in Seattle act, which even casual fans should’ve expected. Mindy has repeatedly referenced that movie, plus it’s just a Meg Ryan sort of episode (and Innerspace doesn’t fit with the other films). Danny set the scene perfectly: he would wait there all night for her, just as she waited for him, and they would meet at the top and embrace and kiss and go on to live happily ever after.

Except remember in Sleepless in Seattle where Rita Wilson starts sobbing about An Affair to Remember? Deborah Kerr is on her way to the Empire State Building when she’s hit by a taxi, and she’s not able to make it. Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell start crying about it, too, “God, I love that movie,” while the men are bemused by the tears. It’s an important moment in that movie, because it sets up the whole meet-at-the-top-of-the-Empire State Building scenario.

After waiting only an hour (during which Mindy is literally dragged by her hair into Danny’s office, where Peter shows her some of her earrings which means Danny loves her — because the catfishing and Danny’s open declarations of love weren’t enough to convince her, but the earrings somehow were?) Danny goes for a piece of pizza. Yes, that’s right, after only one grueling, humiliating hour of waiting, Danny gives up on Mindy for the second time in this episode, and the third time overall, and decides to go order a savory slice. This is the part where I seriously asked myself why I was even cheering for these two. If Danny’s going to be so quick to pull the cord at the slightest setback, won’t that have Mindy on constant pins and needles, waiting for the next time he tries to bail? Will they have any staying power?

His incredulous coworkers, who had just stumped for him despite their varying degrees of misgivings, tell him that Mindy’s on her way to the Empire State Building right now. Flustered, he starts running… and he’s hit by a taxi. That’s right: the only reason the storyline dictated that Danny leave the Empire State Building and abandon his second chance is so that they could get in the obligatory hit-by-a-taxi bit. And sure, it was funny (he runs away with a bloody nose and a “Show’s over!”) but was it worth the commentary that it puts on this relationship?

Consider how long Mindy stood on that same roof waiting for her dream guy. She waited all night, her heart breaking just a little more with each passing minute, but she stayed because she believed in true love. That’s what Danny broke in her by not showing up. She gave up the practical, comfortable life she could’ve had with Charlie to chase the sort of romance that she thought she’d lost when she broke up with Danny. She was allowing herself to believe again, so she chased it, one last time. Danny destroyed that hope twice over, first by not showing up, then by revealing that he was posing as Andy. It’s all too much for Mindy, and understandably so: the breakup, the distance, the jealousy when she starts dating again, and now the catfishing, it’s more than any single person should be able to endure.

The least, the absolute least Danny could’ve done, was to stand on that roof all night, too.

Instead, he comes off as a coward, or a weakling. He couldn’t endure waiting up there all night, knowing with each passing moment that Hey, you blew it, bro, or let the stark reality settle in on him. Mindy was the brave one, she waited, and Danny didn’t. That doesn’t sit well with me. I love these characters, and it just doesn’t jive for me that Danny, stubborn and opinionated Danny who confessed his love for Mindy mere hours earlier, would give up so easily. The only reason for it is the writing: they needed their romcom moment. They needed him running full-tilt through the streets as “Dancing in the Dark” plays, and for him to get hit by a taxi. They thought that would be the ultimate romantic sendoff, but instead, the entire scene is undermined by the fact that he’s even down in the streets in the first place. He should’ve been upstairs, stone-faced and full of dread, counting down the minutes until the observation deck closes and his fate is sealed.

What makes this even worse is the sheer work Mindy still had to put in to get there. First she had to make the unbelievable leap that Danny staring at her diamond earrings is a good enough reason to believe he loves her. That’s taking for granted that he won’t bail this time, that’s even taking for granted that he stayed up there all night. But since they had to get Danny back to the roof before Mindy got there, they decided she needed to climb the stairs — all 104 floors. Mindy climbed all those stairs to get to Danny, who couldn’t even wait for her up there. She’s wheezing and laying on her back when Danny finds her, and even though Chris Messina does some of his best face work in that final scene — even though Mindy looks radiant and gloriously happy as she smiles at Danny — the scene still doesn’t feel earned.

 

I really, truly understand what they were trying to do with this episode. I respect the attempt, and I appreciate the fact that this show is stomping so hard for romcoms. It’s a category that has been maligned (or worse, misinterpreted) for the last decade or so, and it’d be nice to see this sort of second-wave attempt at taking back the genre. I just think that this episode was a victim of the central problem with recent romcoms: They focused on the story and the trope rather than the characters. When your characters don’t make sense, that’s when a romcom becomes a dud. They were aiming for the ranks of While You Were Sleeping and You’ve Got Mail, but they ended up among such mediocre fare as The Bounty Hunter and 27 Dresses.

A Danny Castellano that waits at the top of the Empire State Building is something worth watching. Mindy running through the streets to “Dancing in the Dark” would have worked, too. What you need at the center of all romcoms is a couple to cheer for, and when we saw Danny sitting at that pizzeria, not looking nearly as devastated as he should’ve looked, he stopped being part of that couple. Tom Hanks would never leave after only an hour.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch You’ve Got Mail.

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“We’ve gone on hundreds of dates.”

**This post contains spoilers for episode 2.16 of The Mindy Project, “Indian BBW.”**

It’s a different night from where we left off in the previous episode — I guess Danny’s busted lip kept them from sexy funtimes — and they’re making out pretty heavily in Mindy’s bed when she stops him.

Mindy: “Danny, I don’t want to have sex with you.”
Danny: “Yeah, you’re very classy. Noted.”

She pushes him off of her, insisting that she’s serious, and he doesn’t get mad. It’s not that I would expect all men to get mad at this stage, but on this show, all of the men Mindy’s dated? They would all get mad at this point (with the exception of Casey, probably). She doesn’t want to rush things, and he’s incredulous but still grinning. “Rush things? We’ve been kissing for like 20 minutes, that’s like a week in guy minutes. C’mon, don’t I get credit for that?” Another grin, because he’s teasing her.

“Danny, usually when I have sex with a guy, we’ve been on, like, five dates. Or he’s spent $2,000 on me, whichever comes first.” Danny points out that they’ve gone on “hundreds of dates”: “Doctor’s lounge dates, subway commute dates, medical conference dates…” Don’t forget double dates with Timothy Olyphant and the boring girl, and watching the Nature Channel in Danny’s bed dates, and getting pizza at a small, terrible pizzeria dates… He’s kind of got Mindy there, he knows her way better than any guy that had made it to date #5, but the fact that Mindy wants to take things slow is actually a good sign — for the relationship and for the show. She means it this time, she wants it to work, she wants to get it right, and that’s in our best interest, too.

“Do you realize that there are literally thousands of girls in New York City that would kill to have sex with me right now?”

Mindy totally calls his bluff, and we get a two-minute scene of Danny calling 25 girls in his phone to try to prove it as Mindy eats some pie. It ends with an escort calling him back, saying her rates have gone up. “That was a wrong number.” Ha!

Shortened credits again, and then Mindy’s walking into the office, greeting everyone as she announces that she’s brought Danny’s favorite breakfast, “Oatmeal with a side of brown sugar, and by brown sugar, I of course mean my butt.” We have documented proof that Danny loves her butt, however, he’s not in the office. She asks Peter where he is, and he launches into this ramble about how Danny didn’t listen to his story about being turned down by four women this weekend, and then he rudely fainted. Beverly, annoyed, blurts, “He has viral meningitis! Brain fever!”

Mindy hurries to the hospital, where Danny really does look terrible. “I was so worried about you! You can’t die, you have so much to live for! My birthday’s coming up, we haven’t even talked about what you’re going to get me!” That’s when someone else clears their throat, and whoops! There’s Richie, and Danny says, “Richie, you remember my coworker, Mindy.” Oh, now you’ve done it, Castellano. She repeats, “Coworker?” and he confirms it. I don’t know about you guys, but for one terrifying minute, I thought Danny’s meningitis had caused some memory loss. I was so sure he wasn’t going to remember the last week or so, and that’s how they’d prolong this slow burn. I’m so glad that’s not what happened — keep in in the fanfiction, people, this is serious business!

Richie assures Mindy that he’s taking care of Danny, “I even brought him Mr. Neck.” IT’S A GIRAFFE. I’m sorry for the capslock, but Danny has a stuffed giraffe named Mr. Neck! And he’s embarrassed by it, he stuffs it in his armpit and says Mindy doesn’t need to know about him.

Mr. Neck!

Mindy asks Richie to go find her “the white nurse,” then says he’ll be gone for hours, haha. Mindy rips into him about the coworker thing, and he plays innocent. “I didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just, you know, we’re not having sex, so technically, we’re not… dating.”

Then he does what any normal man in the throes of sickness would do: He asks for some sex. Men are so easy, I swear to God. Mindy says sex would kill him in this state, so he says, “Just graze it!” and I died laughing. Mindy says the brain fever is making him a pervert, and Danny agrees, “It’s making me so horny!”

She brought him Bridget Jones’ Diary to read, because it always makes her feel better when she’s sick, but he’s good, he doesn’t want to hear that book, he’d rather watch the hospital information channel. She gets a slew of texts from Peter, who asks her to return to the office because of a huge emergency. She complains that she got very sweaty on her run back to the office, but Peter’s frantic. He was casually catching up on some porn over his lunch break when he came across a sex video of Mindy and her ex-boyfriend, Tom.

“Mindy, what on earth were you thinking, making a sex tape? Don’t you know that means that creeps like me are gonna watch it?” It occurs to Mindy that Peter might’ve “gratified” himself to this tape, and he breaks eye contact and monotones, “No, I didn’t.” It’s a really funny bit where Peter looks literally everywhere else in the room as Mindy’s begging him to look her in the eye and tell her he didn’t do it. He’s also kind of starstruck, as he never met “a real pornography actress” and Mindy needs to lie on the floor. She should… I miss that.

She frets that her professional life and her personal life are over, and Peter finally starts to look genuinely guilty.

“And the worst part is, I’ve just started… hanging out with this guy, a really special guy, that I’ve liked for a long time!”

A long time! She’s admitting it, that’s so great, because for most of the show, ever since Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party, at least 90% of the feelings and faces seemed to come from Danny. We got glimpses of Mindy reciprocating, but not nearly as consistently, and she was always pursuing other men. The fact that she’s admitting this so early, and after she blurted out that she loves someone else to Cliff in the last episode, that’s such a huge deal. There would be a rip cord if she stuck to the notion that it was turbulence, that it was the desert air or the red-eye or the blue corn chips, because that’s all impulse and lust. She wants to take it slow, she’s admitting to long-term feelings, that is huge.

Peter feels for her, because he’s an actual human with a still-broken heart in this episode, and not a jerky frat boy like he is in some of the other episodes. He offers to help Mindy, starting with going to the source: Tom.

Hello, Bill Hader! He tells Mindy that now that they’re no longer dating, he can’t give her free toothbrushes, but joke’s on him, she’s already grabbed five! He follows her into the hall, where she asks him why their sex tape is online. He’s adamant that he had nothing to do with it, until he remembers that he loaned it to his brother after his divorce. Gross? Is that normal for brothers to share tapes of themselves?

Tom’s freaking out because he doesn’t want his new girlfriend, who I’m gonna call Dental Assistant, to figure out that he has a sex tape online. He’s super into her because she has so much personality, probably. He swears he will destroy the tape, but Peter proves himself useful: “No man in history has ever destroyed a sex tape!” He insists that Tom bring it straight to Mindy, and she instructs him to sneak it onto her desk at work. Not, you know… at home. Or in a safety deposit box. Or into her purse. Nope. Bring it to her place of business!

Peter moves onto the next phase: Getting it off of the internet. The website is beautifully named “Sploderz.com” but she refuses to go down to a gross warehouse where porn is shot. Peter remarks, “You’re being pretty closed-minded for a girl who just got her start in porn.” I’m pretty sure Adam Pally lost a significant amount of weight during the filming break, or maybe he just lost it from his face? He looks a lot slimmer.

Danny asks Richie for some advice about Mindy, saying that they’ve been kissing, but only kissing. “She’s no prude, I’ve seen her number on two different bathroom walls, in her own handwriting.” Danny arrives at the least likely answer: That Mindy doesn’t like him. Awww! I expected Richie to say that Mindy might be taking it slow because she really likes Danny, but he goes in a different, better direction: “Maybe she just wants to take it a little slow because she knows how judgemental you can be.” Danny objects, he’s totally not judgemental, so Richie throws him a softball.

Richie: “Hey, did I tell you that I’m thinking of leasing a car instead of buying?”
Danny: “Oh yeah, that’s great, Richie, that’s real great, have fun not building up a credit history, are you kidding me? You know what? Next time I buy you a Suze Orman book, I’m gonna throw it in the trash myse — okay, I get it.”

Richie’s grin there alone could heal most of the wounds inflicted on us by the How I Met Your Mother finale, if the first half-hour of this show didn’t already do that for you. Shoot. I promised myself I wouldn’t mention that show.

Richie: “Danny, if Mindy wants to take things slow, you have to accept that. Just like you’re gonna want her to accept one day that you don’t like turning on heat in the winter.”
Danny: “Why, to heat up a drawer full of unused sweaters? You wanna get warm, get on the floor and do some push-ups, okay?”

Danny Castellano rants are the best rants, bar none.

Down at the Sploderz.com HQ, the elderly receptionist informs Mindy and Peter that “Spring is our horny season,” so take note, people who take notes on such things. Turns out one of the Sploderz.com founders is Rob Huebel, who has been doing a lot of guest spots lately. He and his brother run the site together, and they refuse to take the video down because there’s a big demand for “Indian BBWs.” Peter tries valiantly to shield Mindy from the meaning of the acronym, but it’s no use. It means “big beautiful women,” and he helplessly points out, “‘Beautiful woman’ is in there.” The guys say that most Indian women just become doctors, and Mindy says she’s actually a doctor, but they don’t believe her. Peter even chimes in, “We’re both gynecologists,” but Rob Huebel says they’re all gynos in that room. In the end, they refuse to take the video down despite Mindy’s pleas.

Quick cut to Tom putting the DVD, as promised, on Mindy’s desk. In her workplace. Her handwriting is on it, saying, “For you babe, in case you miss me, Love Mindy.” Then back to Mindy and Peter, as Mindy says, “This is just typical me, you know? I screwed something up before I even got a chance to screw it up.” Peter doesn’t like hearing that, so he turns back into the office for one more plea. It turns out the guys are both Dartmouth grads, just like Peter, and that is what ultimately sways them to take down the video. Huzzah!

Back at the hospital, Morgan jostles Danny awake, “Don’t rest so much, it’s not good for you, wake up!” He’s brought Mindy’s work, and inexplicably, a set of balloons for “personal use.” Morgan goes on to say that Mindy’s planning on spending the night there, so she needed her work delivered, and Danny says, “That’s really sweet… and professional.” Morgan leaves, balloons in tow, and Danny finds the DVD in the stack as ominous music plays.

Mindy and Peter argue about taking the stairs or taking the elevator (“Mindy, they had to airlift you out of a 5K fun run for cancer!”) as Danny opens his Acer laptop and wonders aloud, “Where do you put the tape in?” because he’ll forever be from a different generation than the rest of us. Mindy insists, “I feel like I can get airlifted every once in a while! Jillian Michaels says that these are wasted opportunities.” Peter waits a beat, then asks, “Jillian who?” (These two are always so great when they interact.) Danny presses play as Peter relents and agrees to take the stairs.

The sex tape consists of Mindy dressed up as a Girl Scout, delivering cookies. There’s like, three seconds of foreplay before she and Tom are making out, and Danny starts screaming at the laptop, “Don’t do that to him!” and throwing his arm over his eyes. Out in the hallway, Mindy’s sweating big time when she stops Peter — she hears the music from her sex tape. Danny inexplicably doesn’t know where the stop button is, he’s just sitting in his bed groaning over how messed up this all is. Mindy bursts in, covered in a sheen of perspiration, telling Danny that she gave Tom the tape ages ago.

Danny: “Oh yeah, were you taking it slow when you made this with Tom? Or is this medium-speed for you?”
Peter: “No, that’s faster than medium speed.”

Mindy snatches the laptop from Danny and says it was the 2000s, everyone had a sex tape. Danny can’t stop ranting at how awful it was and how much his eyes hurt, and Mindy looks like she wants to die emotionally and physically, but Peter’s surprisingly reading the room pretty accurately.

Peter: “Why do you care?”

Mindy and Danny exchange nervous looks, and then Mindy peels off her cardigan as Danny goes, “What?”

Peter: “I don’t understand, why do you care so much, Danny?”
Danny: “I’m just worried that this tape isn’t good for the practice.”
Peter: “The practice? I’ve done way worse things to the practice. Last week I called in a bomb threat because I was too hungover to come in.”

It’s great because right now, Peter’s amping up to defend Mindy to Danny, who he feels is being overly judgemental of his coworker’s personal life. Peter’s done a lot of good in this episode, even if it started with him watching porn on his lunch break, and I think after standing up to Tom and the porn site, Peter wasn’t about to let Danny Castellano be the one to tear Mindy down.

It’s when Mindy starts trying to cover for Danny that Peter starts getting suspicious.

Peter: “I feel like I’m missing something, because the only person who should be that upset is the new guy Mindy’s dating — wait. Wait. Wait.”
Danny: “What?”
Peter: “Wait.”
Danny: “What?”
Peter: “Wait, wait, wait.”

Mindy: “Please stop repeating the word ‘wait!’”
Peter: “Mindy, are you and Danny porking?”

They do a terrible job of denying it, even though they’re telling the truth when they say they’re not porking. Peter asks Mindy if she’s feeling okay, since she’s deteriorated even more over this exchange, “You look like that morning you tried to be a vegan.” Danny asks if she’s sweating out of guilt, but Peter finally connects the dots: “You have Danny’s meningitis!”

Danny: ‘If she has meningitis, that’s her own strand, I had nothing to do with it!”
Peter: “You two are porking!”

They deny it again, and Mindy says she looks sweaty because she did crossfit today… and then she faints. Hard. Danny sits up, calling her name, and Peter says, “Her shirt’s up.” Danny tells him not to look, and Peter responds gleefully with, “Why do you care?!” Danny just bellows “NURSE!” in response, it’s pretty awesome.

After the break, Mindy’s in her own hospital bed, in her own room, looking heartbroken. This is not like when the cab driver thought she was Jaden Smith, this is the real deal. Richie was right after all; Mindy was scared of how judgemental Danny could be, and she feared something like this would be too much for him. Peter offers to cheer her up with some Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, which is the first black mark against this show, but Mindy’s not in the mood to laugh.

Peter: “You know, if this new guy you’re hanging out with is gonna lose his shiitake mushroom over a sex tape, then he’s probably not the right guy for you anyway.”

That’s so sweet. She says there’s probably not even a new guy anymore, she’ll just be all alone, not even able to make a good sex tape. Peter tries to reassure her that the tape had a lot going against it, “Bad lighting, female director…”

Mindy: “The worst part is, I didn’t even like Tom that much. Not nearly as much as I like this new guy. And it’s ruined.”

Again: It’s huge, even when she thinks it’s over, that she’s admitting how much she liked Danny. More than Tom! Tom, who she cried over for months, who she rode a bike into a pool over! Sure, he’s no Casey, but we still thought she liked him!

Peter decides to make an awkward exit, saying he’s a “total germophobe,” but he goes straight to Tom, who he drags to Danny’s room for some real talk. Danny looks equally as miserable as Mindy did, but not because he’s judging her. It’s because he can’t understand why she wants to go slow now when she did all sorts of depraved Girl Scout things with Tom. So Danny muttering “Kill me” as they walk in makes a lot of sense.

Peter: “I know you think Mindy embarrassed the practice, but before you get all Judgey Reinhold on her, listen to what Tom has to say.”

Tom freaks about Dental Assistant overhearing their convo from out in the hallway, because she thinks he’s a virgin, and that’s when Danny tries to pull his own plug. Tom questions why Danny needs to know any of this at all, and that’s when Peter threatens to call Dental Assistant in, but Tom slams the door in her face.

Tom: “Danny, listen, I don’t think Mindy ever really liked me that much, okay? I think we did all that freaky sex stuff because we didn’t like spending time with each other. … I’m just saying, I think she would’ve dumped me after two weeks if I didn’t have such a huge — “
Danny: “Okay, all right, that’s enough. Every time I see you, you bring that up.”

Peter shoves Tom out of the room, admitting that it didn’t go the way he thought it would in his head, but he insists that Mindy ran around trying to make sure Danny never saw that tape.

Peter: “I think it’s because Mindy respects the practice? Maybe she’s even a little bit… in love with the practice? Maybe she wants to get… boned by the practice?”

Dude doesn’t know when to stop, but I loved every bit of that dialogue. It was almost as good as Ben Wyatt’s “I love the town’s blonde hair, and how it’s read a shocking number of political biographies” when he finally confessed his feelings to Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec.

Mindy’s eaten a good deal of Jello by the time Danny rolls in, asking to borrow Mindy’s Bridget Jones’ Diary, because he lost his. Mindy points at it beside Danny: “The nurse put it across the room as punishment for pinching her. So. Enjoy.” She expects him to leave, it’s pretty much a dismissal, but Danny rolls the chair over to her bedside and climbs in with her. She makes about a million surprised and hopeful faces as he settles in and tells her that he likes that she wants to take things slow. “Let’s do slow.”

 

He cracks open the book and hooks on his reading glasses, and Mindy asks him to do the voices. He launches into this glorious mumbly British accent as he reads the first page, and Mindy’s grinning into his shoulder like a lovestruck teenager, its the sweetest and cutest thing you will ever see on TV besides puppies or that panda bear that was playing in the snow. “That’s where she meets Darcy!” Mindy says, and Danny goes, “Oh yeah, who’s she?” Oh Danny. You’re about to learn so much. That’s good though — he likes Colin Firth, so that will help immensely. Danny continues reading in the voices as the camera pans out, all the way into the hallway. And scene!

Aren’t you so glad this show is back?

Next week, two new episodes! One promises dating shenanigans with a reappearance of one of Danny’s old flames, while the other teases Mindy getting a new job offer. Hmm!

“Cliff might have my hand, but you have my heart.”

**This post contains spoilers for episode 2.15 of The Mindy Project, “French Me, You Idiot.”**

“Look, I’m gonna count to three. If you don’t kiss me, then I’ll realize this was a big mistake, and I’ll return to my seat in humiliation. One. Two. Three… Four.”

Mindy smiles and kisses Danny, still on the back of the plane where we last saw them in January. I totally get her hesitation — she just got done sending the world’s most amazing email to Cliff, desperate to win him back, and then boom, suddenly Danny Castellano is snatching the tonic water from her hand and kissing her like he never wants to stop. She probably deserved more than three seconds to adjust to that, but if Danny had left it at three — if he’d counted and then just gone back to his seat — this episode might not have happened. It was “four” that did it. It was him staying and hoping, for as long as it took for Mindy to kiss him back.

They end up in the airplane bathroom, which is where we are reminded that this is still a sitcom, and hookups in airplane bathrooms don’t go according to plan in sitcoms. They also stay hilariously in character (Danny folds his shirt, “My brother’s boyfriend gave me that for Christmas”) and then they both end up stuck in different parts of the bathroom: Danny’s hand in the sink, Mindy’s hair in the toilet. She slaps Danny’s face and yells, “Why did you do this to me!” as he begs her to stop. It’s good to see that even after they finally kissed, their dynamic doesn’t change one bit.

After the shortened credits, we see Danny and Mindy holding hands on the elevator of her building. It’s six in the morning, and Mindy invites Danny in for “a drink,” which he gently refuses because it’s so early. “If this is gonna work, Danny, you have to get used to my rock-n-roll lifestyle.” She pulls him close by the lapels of his coat, and he mutters that he can probably get used to it. They look so ridiculously happy, and I wish it could’ve lasted just a little bit longer, but alas — the loose string known as Cliff is still dangling there.

The elevator door opens, and Cliff and Morgan are standing there behind a mariachi band. Miraculously, neither Cliff nor Morgan seem to notice that Mindy and Danny are nearly embracing, or that Danny’s face turns to stone when the band starts playing and Cliff is waving enthusiastically.

Cliff tries to apologize over the band, and Morgan finally tells the band to stop playing and “Read the room.” Cliff promises he’ll never not trust Mindy again and says he still wants to be with her, and Morgan starts cheering and taking pictures with his Product Placement Windows Phone. Mindy reasons that it would be rude of her not to take him back, given all the work he just did, which is just… terrible reasoning. Then again, Cliff deserves a legitimate breakup without the prying eyes of Danny, Morgan, and the mariachi band, so it’s really respectable of Danny to bow out, even if he does throw Mindy a deeply disappointed look. It’s better than him staying to make a scene, or worse, create a triangle. His leaving means it’s totally up to Mindy, so that’s good.

Cliff rudely tries to tip Danny for seeing Mindy home — I don’t know who should be more insulted by that, Danny or Mindy. It doesn’t matter, though, because Morgan snatches the money as he corrals Danny toward the elevator. We get to see a closing-elevator-doors shot the likes of which we haven’t seen since season 2 of Veronica Mars:

Inside Mindy’s apartment, where she actually locks all of the locks on her door (it bugged me that no one on Friends ever did this except for the time the girls stole their apartment back) Cliff is subtly insulting Mindy’s writing/email abilities by calling her email “surprisingly eloquent.” He elaborates, “Most of your emails are pretty poorly spelled, aggressively vulgar, full of pop culture references that no one understands…” First of all, that’s The Mindy Project in a nutshell, and it’s damn delightful. Secondly, those emails sound amazing. And thirdly, does Cliff even like Mindy? I felt like that was incredibly mean considering he’s supposed to be eating crow for dumping her.

She tells Cliff that an old man coughed up blood on her on the airplane, as a way to get him to not try to kiss her, and it works. He makes to leave, unlocking all of those locks, but he turns back.

Cliff: “Mindy, I’m really glad we’re back together.”
Mindy: “Cliff, I think we should break up.”
Cliff: *laughs*
Mindy: “I’m in love with someone!”
Cliff: “I didn’t think we were gonna do this this early… I’m in love with someone too.”

Way to totally misread the situation, Cliff.

The next day (or maybe later that day?) Mindy goes into Danny’s office, shuts the door, and goes in for more kisses. Get it, girl! He sits back, surprised, but she’s “Horny for kisses!” which is so adorable and really ties into the second half-hour involving all the crazy sex stuff that Mindy did with Tom. Remember Tom? Oh Tom.

Anyway, Danny asks if Mindy’s broken up with Cliff yet, and she says no, he wouldn’t accept the breakup because of that dumb beautiful letter that Danny wrote (to her, how is she not straddling him at this point) and adds, “He’s basically in love with you, so it’s your fault. Now French me, you idiot.” Mindy, seriously, we all support you on your kissing endeavors. Proceed.

But Danny pushes her away again, in his squirmy agitated way, like he really likes the contact but he’s trying to listen to his brain instead of other parts of his body.

“As long as you’re with Cliff, we can’t kiss, we can’t touch, we shouldn’t even be in the same room together! I’m so Catholic, I don’t even trust this new pope!”

As a Catholic, I got a huge kick out of that line. Mindy says there are tons of things he’s not Catholic about, like his divorce (“I’m annulled.”) or not having sex before he was married (“I found a way.”) but it doesn’t matter because Mindy is Hindu, “And we can do basically anything.”

“I don’t care what you say to that giant elephant up there! According to my guy, this is wrong!”

Back when I first started watching this show, I wondered if, when Mindy and Danny finally got together, they would broach the religion topic. I love that it happened on accident, this early on, and in this way, because it’s adorable without being too mean on either side.

“Danny, I just really want to kiss you. Why are your lips so scrumptious?”
“I don’t know, they just are.”

She also says his eyelashes look like a pony’s, and then they’re kissing again, until Danny pushes her away a third time. Poor guy. That’s when Mindy admits that it’s hard for her to dump guys, “It’s actually a lot easier for me to get dumped…” Ding ding ding!

Hey! Dr. Reed is back! So British and jaunty and annoyed with everything, I missed that guy. He has good news: The OB/GYN for the New York Metropolitan Ballet has had a heart attack, which means new clients! Cards on the table: this storyline wasn’t super interesting to me, because it consisted mostly of Peter acting like a bored fratboy jerk, and I like Peter a lot more when he acts like he does in the second episode. So I’ll cut right to the chase on this one: Peter teams up with the midwives, then yells at a bunch of ballerinas, and they don’t get the new clients.

We do get the info that Mindy is banned from Lincoln Center, “Because apparently there is a three strikes policy for falling in the fountain there!”

That night, Mindy sets a stage that is sure to drive Cliff away: She’s wearing a Laura Ingalls-esque nightgown and sitting on the toilet, doors wide open, as she talks on the phone with her psychic. Cliff is clearly discomfited, and Mindy tries a variety of things that should make him run screaming from her apartment, but he gets a call and is instantly distracted. Mindy texts Danny that she should be single soon, and his response: “Who is this? This is Dan.” Oh Danny.

Bad news: Cliff’s grandmother died, and he’s devastated. Mindy has no choice but to let him stay over.

Danny’s sitting on the edge of Mindy’s desk the next morning, clad in a leather jacket like he didn’t even stop by his office before coming to see if Mindy was kissable yet. She begs him not to be mad at her, but she couldn’t do it because “Someone very close to him died!” Danny looks affected for a moment, until he learns that it was Cliff’s grandmother. “No grown man is devastated when he loses a grandparent, come on, that is an excuse! You don’t want to break up with him!” Mindy insists she’s already broken up with Cliff in her heart space, but Community has taught us that heart spaces lie, so I don’t blame Danny for being skeptical. He’s ready to cut sling, because he went all in with that kiss and honestly, even though we love Mindy and we totally get why this is happening, she’s still sending him mixed signals. Danny doesn’t know how to love halfway, as evidenced by his failed marriage; hell, he doesn’t even know how to casually date halfway, considering the woman in his building that he called “psycho” even though he led her on! He’s an all or nothing sort of guy, and with Mindy, who he’s clearly had intense feelings for, that instinct is even stronger.

But Mindy is Mindy, she’s great for Danny because she cuts through all of that fussing and ramp-ups to diatribes and she makes him listen. She forces him to sit down and she says they’re not going to pretend the plane didn’t happen. They just need to wait, and in the meantime, Danny can go talk to Cliff for proof that he’s truly upset. That sounds like fun!

Danny brings Cliff some of his homebrewed beer, Dr. Dan’s Funky Ale, which is amazing. I love that Danny’s a homebrewer, that’s a special breed of person. Cliff is truly devastated: “No person should ever have to bury their grandparent.” Oh Cliff. Just a couple days ago you sang Jewel on repeat for three hours. I would go as far as saying that you’re not well-adjusted. In the course of the ensuing conversation, Danny learns that Cliff and Mindy spent the night together. Like, together-together.

Danny asks Mindy, in a hilariously soft and offhand way, “Did you cheat on me with Cliff?” If you don’t think that’s funny then I don’t want to know what makes you laugh. That’s hilarious. He drags her into the nurse’s station, where he tells Morgan and Tamra (hi, Tamra!) to scram. He pulls over the skeleton and tells Mindy to “Show me on this what you did to Cliff last night.” It turns out it was basically some over-the-clothes groping (“I massaged his jeans.” “Was he in the jeans?”) but Danny’s deeply unhappy with that. Mindy hilariously says, “Cliff might have my hand, but you have my heart.” Oh, also, she needs Danny to write the eulogy, because somehow Cliff can’t write it himself and Mindy doesn’t want him to know that she didn’t write that email… even though that would fix this whole situation pretty seamlessly. Danny hurries out of the office, agitated and hurt.

It’s the day of Cliff’s grandmother’s funeral, and Danny shows up for no reason. “You’re barely friends with Cliff!” Danny challenges her to ask him anything about Cliff: “Eyes? Deep sky blue. Favorite beer? Dr. Dan’s Funky Ale.” Cliff thanks them both for being there, then backhandedly reveals that his Gram would’ve hated Mindy because she was such a racist. Good thing Mindy wrote the eulogy! Danny pipes up, “I’m really excited for this eulogy,” which is probably the best-worst thing anyone has ever said.

Morgan comes up, sobbing about grandmothers and stuff, as Mindy reluctantly takes Cliff’s hand. Morgan’s wearing black scrubs to this funeral, by the way, which is just so Morgan. The Mindy-penned eulogy is a work of art.

“I’d like to say a few words, if I may, to honor the woman we all know as Gram, which is short for Grandma. Which in itself, is short for ‘grandmother.’ But her real name wasn’t Gram, it was {find out real name from Cliff}. When an old person dies, it isn’t as tragic as someone taken from us too soon, like Anna Nicole Smith, but irregardless — mmm — we feel… sadliness. To quote Kendrick Lamar in his song, ‘Expletive Don’t Kill My Vibe’ — you know what, let’s jump ahead a little bit here… We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I’m sure Gram had no idea her head would explode. There’s always one reason more important than any other, that you should just be with that person, or persons, because you can’t imagine life without them. At any moment, there’s plenty of reasons not to spend time with someone, you’re busy, you’re fighting, you’re surfing the internet, hold for laughs.”

When Mindy puts her hand over her eyes in shame, Danny glances over at her and smiles like the smitten kitten he is. He takes her hand, much to her surprise, as Cliff gets to the part about being with the people who are important, and then he pulls her out of the pew as Cliff nears the end of the best eulogy ever.

They go by the vigil candles, which are cut off from view of the rest of the church I guess, and they start kissing, but Mindy is worried about “Bloody Mary.” Danny corrects her, then asks God to send them a sign if they’re doing something wrong. There is no sign, so they kiss some more, only to knock over a candle and set the world on fire.

Outside, after the fire is put out, Mindy lies to Cliff and says, “I knocked over a candle with my buttocks.” Cliff immediately forgives her, and Mindy looks like she wants to vomit, so Danny gives them a moment alone, using the excuse that he’s gonna go get some “soda pop” because he’s from the 1950’s. Then Mindy finally, finally levels with Cliff.

Mindy: “I kissed Danny. And I don’t think it’s a one-time thing. I think I have feelings for him. And I wanna pursue them.”

Danny reappears, unsuspecting, and Cliff punches him in the jaw. He vows that Gram, “A cruel and unforgiving woman,” will haunt them for their treachery. I can see why he misses her so much. She sounds lovely.

So the path is clear! Mindy and Danny are together, no Cliff or Casey or Josh to interrupt them now! They’re at her apartment later, and Danny’s holding a frozen pizza bagel to his lip and muttering about nitrates as Mindy just stares at him adoringly. They start kissing as romantic music plays, and then Mindy’s bulb blows out in her lamp. They both gasp, “Gram!” but I think they’ll be okay. They have bigger things to worry about, like meningitis and sex tapes!

Next: Meningitis and a sex tape! What are the odds?!

Favorites of 2013: TV Ships and Friendships

This is the big one–the one with our favorite TV ships and friendships/partnerships/bromances/what-have-you of 2013.

Ships

Oliver Queen / Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

ship_oliverfelicity

Felicity: You killed again, and I am the one who put you into the position where you had to make that kind of choice.
Oliver: He had you, and he was going to hurt you. There was no choice to make.

All three of us are big fans of Oliver and Felicity. They complement each other really well, they have great chemistry, and they deeply care for each other. And they’re just so pretty together. —Kerry

Danny Castellano / Mindy Lahiri

{The Mindy Project}

ship_mindydanny

Mindy: “You should get the Philadelphia roll. Danny says it’s amazing, it’s his favorite.”

Mindy: “Haven’t you ever had to do something because of work?”
Jason: “Yeah, sure, I just went to my boss’s kid’s graduation, but that doesn’t mean I’ve memorized her favorite sushi order.”

These two snuck up on me. I love their bickering, their friendship, and the way that they seem to be in love with each other without even realizing it. —Kerry

Monroe / Rosalee Calvert

{Grimm}

ship_rosaleemonroe

Monroe and Rosalee’s romance could have seemed shoe-horned into the main narrative, and the differences in their upbringings could be overlooked, but the evolution of their relationship was natural, and they are confronting their contradictory natures in a way that’s both realistic and believable. —Moff

April Ludgate / Andy Dwyer

{Parks and Recreation}

ship_andyapril

“I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will, too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks.”

This is probably the relationship most would have believed would fail, but it hasn’t. The love and support they show each other is unique and genuine. —Becca

Barney Stinson / Robin Scherbatsky

{How I Met Your Mother}

ship_barneyrobin

Barney: “Our wedding is gonna be legendary.”
Robin: “No ‘wait for it?'”
Barney: “I’ve got you, I don’t have to wait for it anymore.”

Who knew they’d make it all the way to the neverending wedding weekend? The writing isn’t doing them any favors (they keep having to spin their wheels as the writers try to fill the entire season with pointless shenanigans) but they’re still growing into a supportive, if unconventional, couple. —Kerry

Jemma Simmons / Grant Ward

{Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.}

ship_wardsimmons

F.Z.Z.T. is the episode I started shipping these two together. It is also the episode I finally started to like Ward. The scene where Ward mocks himself and Jemma corrects him sealed it for me. Plus: height difference. —Becca

Kensi Blye / Marty Deeks

{NCIS: LA}

ship_kensideeks

Deeks: “I’ve never had a girl give me her knife before. Does that mean we’re official?”
Kensi: “You know sometimes a knife is just a knife.”

Ah, one of the great ‘will they, won’t they’ partnerships of the police procedural world. As much as I continue to hold out hope Eric Christian Olsen will one day return to Greendale, I can’t put into words how pleased I am Kensi and Deeks have finally taken the logical next step. —Moff

Joan Watson / Marcus Bell

{Elementary}

ship_belljoan

Bell [to Sherlock]: “Where’s your better half?”

Bell and Joan have always had a unique chemistry; Bell initially liked Joan better than he liked Sherlock, and Joan always had a deep respect for Bell’s talents as an investigator. This season, there was a one-off line where Bell complimented Joan in her bulletproof vest, and suddenly, it felt like there was something there. It’s never overt: even when Joan brings him meals after his injury, it’s played as Joan just being a nice person. I won’t be mad if they never date, but I think they’d be great together. —Kerry

Ryan King / Carrie

{Go On}

ship_ryancarrie

Ryan: “I know we work together, and that’s weird. I don’t know what I want. I just- I just want it to still be a possibility between us.”
Carrie: “You’re right, it’s complicated. We work together… I quit. Ball’s in your court.”

The show got canceled, but before it ended Carrie kissed Ryan and told him the ball was in his court. I would like to believe this May/December romance actually worked out. —Becca

Ben Wyatt / Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

ship_benleslie

“Your heart is in the right place. Your heart and your butt.”

They’re married! They’re still amazing together! And sometimes I go back and watch the early seasons, where Mark Brendanowicz calls Leslie a dork and treats her enthusiasm like it’s an annoying little quirk, and I get really, really, insanely happy that Leslie found someone who loves that about her. —Kerry

Rumplestiltskin / Belle

{Once Upon a Time}

ship_rumbelle

“You were the only one who could ever see past it… past the mask of the monster.”

While the Charmings have already had their somewhat happy ending, it feels like Rumplestiltskin and Belle will never get theirs. The pairing is beautiful, but it is hard for them to catch a break (especially after the winter finale). —Becca

Harvey Specter / Donna Paulsen

{Suits}

ship_harveydonna
Harvey: “You and Stephen, it bothers me. I know it’s not fair, but it does.”
Donna: “Good.”

I just want them to be together and happy. Is that too much to ask? —Kerry

Friendships

Shawn Spencer & Burton Guster

{Psych}

friendship_shawngus

Shawn: “I think we should call the police and let the chips fall where they may.”
Gus: “You’re talking like a real white guy right now, Shawn. Brothers don’t get the benefit of the doubt. I will not rot in a cell. You said we were in this together!”
Shawn: “C’mon, man. You know I’m gonna bake you a cake with a gun in it.”

Their friendship has only gotten better over this past year. Gus supported Shawn during his breakup with Jules, and Shawn learned to share Gus when Gus started a serious relationship with a woman. —Kerry

Sherlock Holmes & Joan Watson {Elementary}

friendship_joansherlock

Joan: “You named a bee after me?”

Best partnership on TV. But, you know… besides all the other partnerships we have listed here. —Kerry

Team Arrow (Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Felicity Smoak)

{Arrow}

friendship_teamarrow

Felicity: “What are you doing?”
Diggle: “Calling 911.”
Felicity: “Digg, wait!”
Diggle: “We can’t wait!”
Felicity: “How are we supposed to explain this? Everyone’s gonna find out Oliver is the vigilante!”
Diggle: “It won’t matter if he’s dead! Felicity, we can’t save him!”
Felicity: “I know! You’re right. We can’t.”

They all have their own special friendships with each other, and they work well as a team. It will be interesting to see how dynamics might change when/if someone else fully joins the team. —Becca

Ichabod Crane & Abbie Mills

{Sleepy Hollow}

friendship_ichyabbie

The friendship has grown so quickly in just a few episodes. It is a strong friendship, and their camaraderie is enjoyable. —Becca

Sarah Manning & Felix Dawkins

{Orphan Black}

friendship_sarahfee

Felix: Sarah.
Sarah: What?
Felix: Um, just don’t die… ’cause your first funeral was just agonizing enough.

Felix has endured a lot (Sarah’s threatening ex-boyfriend, obstruction of justice, countless police interrogations, and oh yeah, all of that clone stuff) and he’s still deeply loyal to Sarah. That’s what family is for, right? —Kerry

Samantha Shaw & Root

{Person of Interest}

friendship_rootshaw

While former government agent Shaw hesitates to give anarchist hacker Root too much free reign, the morally dubious Root’s willingness to take immediate action appeals to the trigger-happy Shaw. —Moff

George Altman & Noah Werner

{Suburgatory}

friendship_georgenoah

The news of Alan Tudyk no longer being a regular on Suburgatory depressed me. I found George’s and Noah’s friendship was one of my main highlights for the show. In some ways, they don’t appear to have a lot in common, but the time they spent on screen together were some of the best moments of the show. —Becca

Ron Swanson & Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

friendship_ronleslie

Ron: “You are a wonderful person. Your friendship means a lot to me. And you look very beautiful.”
Leslie: “Okay, weirdo. Let’s go.”

He walked her down the aisle. Twice. He also punched out a jackass at her wedding. Leslie, in turn, organized a beautiful wedding present for Ron: an intricate trip up to the Lagavulin distillery in Scotland. It moved Ron to tears. —Kerry

Lance Sweets & Seeley Booth

{Bones}

friendship_boothsweets

Dr. Lance Sweets and Agent Seeley Booth have grown from bickering antagonists to friends and coworkers who trust each other’s instincts. —Moff

Ryan King & Steven

{Go On}

friendship_ryansteven

Ryan had his support group, but he also has his best friend, Steven. Steven was still the one who understood who Ryan was, and wanted to be there for him. In my head, they are still the best of friends and double date together (Ryan with Carrie and Steven with Lauren). —Becca

Quentin Lance & Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

friendship_lancefelicity

Oliver: “Felicity…”
Felicity: “Already on it.”
Lance [amazed]: “How the hell can she do that?”

Felicity and (former) Det. Lance have had only a few instances where they’ve worked together, but I think future episodes will reveal their values are more in line than they currently realize. —Moff

Dust Yourself Off and Try Again

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!

mindy

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!”
Cliff: “What?”
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.

Winky Face!

I bet you didn’t watch The Mindy Project last night. Know how I know that? Because it has dismal ratings and it is perpetually predicted to be cancelled.

I would wag my finger at you and say “You should be ashamed!” but the truth is, I’m part of the problem. I dutifully followed Mindy Kaling from The Office to her new show last season, but I found it off-putting from the start. The title seemed to say it all: “We couldn’t land on a good name for the show, so instead of ‘The Untitled Mindy Kaling Project,’ we’ll just call it ‘The Mindy Project’ as a placeholder.” I found Mindy off-putting as she crashed her ex’s wedding, drove a bicycle into a pool, and spouted out more pop culture references than Abed Nadir. She was surrounded by equally polarizing characters: a male coworker with whom she has a fling, another male coworker who tells her she needs to drop fifteen pounds, an overly accented Jersey receptionist, a curiously placed best friend, and another mousy receptionist who, at the time, seemed to exist only to even out the numbers.

I didn’t stick with the show past the second episode, but I also didn’t swear it off. I figured if it made it to a full order, maybe I’d give it a chance then. Then one day in June, I was sick and flat on the floor, with a free trial for Hulu Plus and a brand-new flatscreen to watch it on, so I figured why not?

Turns out, the show did a lot of retooling in the first half of the season. In fact, the revolving cast of characters is almost a cornerstone of The Mindy Project at this point. The central cast remains the same: Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), Dr. Daniel Castellano (Chris Messina), Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks), and head nurse Morgan Tookers (Ike Barinholtz). Everyone else has either left the show since the premiere or has joined it somewhere along the way. The best friend and the Jersey receptionist were jettisoned (Anna Camp will do just fine, and Amanda Setton has already landed a series regular role on The Crazy Ones) while other characters and recurring guest stars have filled the void.

Mindy herself has grown a great deal since that drunken bike ride into a pool. She still enjoys her flings, her colorful clothes, and her outspoken opinions on pop culture, but she’s also come into her own thanks to her great group of friends.

By far, the driving force behind the show’s moderate success is the relationship between Mindy and Danny, which starts out as antagonistic before it slowly blossoms into friendship. They’re not quite Sam and Diane, because who is? But they have amazing chemistry and Messina in particular is fantastic at building the slow burn. His expressions usually give away his true feelings for Mindy, and those along with his constant rants about the most ridiculous things (“Coffee should have two flavors: cream and sugar.”) make him an utter delight to watch.

While Danny’s been slowly coming to terms with his feelings, Mindy still appears oblivious, both to her own feelings and to Danny’s feelings for her. Instead, she’s forged this amazing friendship with him (and with the other characters on the show) just from sheer force of will.

 

Basically, I can admit when I’m wrong. I still don’t enjoy the early Mindy episodes, this show took a bit longer to find its groove than most do, but while other shows suffer from a sophomore slump, this show doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the term. All of the characters are finding their voices, and the writing has gotten pretty amazing. But allow me to back up a little, just to make sure you’re all caught up.

Last season, Mindy went to Haiti with her boyfriend, Casey (played by Anders Holm, of Workaholics fame) but returned at the beginning of this season thanks to a gallbladder infection. The Haiti trip was a huge step for Mindy, who did away with all of her material trappings in favor of doing charity work with her minister boyfriend. She excitedly accepted his marriage proposal in Haiti, and expected to marry him when he returned to the States again. But when Casey decided to quit being a minister to search for his true calling, Mindy had to make the painful decision to break up with him.

 

It was unexpectedly heartbreaking to watch. Mindy was always selfish and self-centered in her relationships and men often treated her badly. This time, Casey wasn’t doing anything wrong, he wanted her to go with him as he followed his dreams, but it wasn’t right for Mindy. She finally had a guy that was good for her, made her smile, and treated her right, but she was never going to be happy moving around all the time. Those are the toughest kinds of breakups.

In the next episode, in a haze of breakup-driven grief, Mindy encounters a lawyer named Cliff Gilbert, played by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton. He’ll always be Dennis Reynolds to me, which means I’ll always be suspicious of him turning out to be a real a-hole by the time his arc on this show is over.

Possibly this is what Cliff does in his free time. We don’t know his life.

In the meantime, Howerton has great chemistry with Kaling, even surprising me, a longtime Sunny fan, with his ability to be sweet and a little vulnerable. Bravo, Dennis Reynolds! Who knew you had it in you?

 

Since their first encounter, Mindy’s been distracted with her breakup and trying to put her life back together, which has given Cliff a chance to get to know her from a distance. He even got to talk to her outside of work, when Danny hired Cliff to sue his ex-wife for putting on an art exhibit with his nude pictures. Cliff was impressed with Mindy’s outfit (“Usually you look like a pinata.” “Okay, I like to wear colors. And yes, I’m usually full of candy.”) and seemed to really enjoy her company, despite the fact that she was there with her boyfriend. Cliff hasn’t reappeared since then, which brings us to last night’s episode.

After encountering Cliff (and his hot runner-up Miss Universe girlfriend) in the elevator on a Friday night, Mindy finally sort of admits to Morgan that she has feelings for Cliff.

“Even if I liked him, it doesn’t matter. He’s with the second-hottest woman in the universe. I’m not even the second-hottest woman on this floor.”

As if her night isn’t bad enough, Mindy lost her purse, which had her phone, keys, money… you’d think she’d be more frazzled and concerned, considering the rampant identity theft these days, but true to Mindy form, she’s largely unconcerned with her belongings and just wants a place to stay for tonight. She seems confident that her purse will turn up in the lost and found, which is a special Mindy Lahiri brand of confidence.

In case I was losing you, here’s a gif of Danny and Jeremy with a puppy.

As far as the Playing House trope goes, this is one of the best executions I’ve seen on TV. It’s actually fitting that Mindy would 1) lose her purse, 2) not have a spare set of keys to get back into her own apartment, and 3) be persuasive enough to convince Danny, who lives nearby, to let her stay at his apartment for the night. Danny’s never been particularly good at saying no to Mindy anyway.

“… You can’t get on my computer, because last time, you changed my Wifi network name to ‘Leave Miley Alone’ and I don’t know how to change it back! Rule number two: coasters, coasters, coasters!”

Mindy’s doldrums persist as she and Danny walk home, and she finally admits to him that she likes someone, but she adds that it can’t work out because he’s out of her league, and besides, “whenever we see each other, we fight.” In a classic sitcom misunderstanding, Danny thinks Mindy’s talking about him. He looks scared, but not horrified.

Then they encounter his “crazy neighbor” Amy in the lobby of his building, and Danny hurriedly asks Mindy to pretend to be his girlfriend. Mindy excitedly elevates the situation: “He found true love… with his fiancee, which is me.” She comes up with an amazing love story for them, some of which is actually true to life: they couldn’t stand each other at first, but eventually they grew to love each other. Other aspects are complete fiction, like the fact that they met in St. Barts, or that Mindy is pregnant with Danny’s son. Danny grimaces his way through the exchange, but again, he doesn’t look like he wants to vomit (which, sorry, he always looked like he wanted to weep and die in his scenes with his ex-wife, Christina, played by Chloe Sevigny) so that was a promising development.

 

Meanwhile, Morgan and Dr. Peter Prentice (Adam Pally, of Happy Endings fame) discover Mindy’s purse thanks to her phone, which is buzzing with texts from Cliff. Just when you think you can’t take any more, Morgan and Peter decide to text Cliff back as Mindy. (Morgan is a Cliff/Mindy shipper through and through, which is adorable.) Cliff reveals that his date didn’t go well, and his texting Mindy after a failed date means he’s totally into her. Morgan and Peter keep up the texting until Peter forces Morgan to send a winky face. Morgan: “Are you kidding me? A winky face is like Emoji porn!” When Cliff sends a winky face back, the game is on.

Mindy is wearing Danny’s clothes, eating his only snacks (sugar cubes, which I’m assuming he keeps on hand for his Old Fashioneds, in which case, shouldn’t he also have maraschino cherries?), and lounging on his couch. She nudges him with her feet, which is probably gross to a good portion of the human race, but it’s adorable even if it agitates a hypervigilant Danny. He still thinks Mindy is crushing on him, and he’s not even annoyed by her–he just wants his space so he can figure out his feelings. The funny part is, Mindy’s just being overbearing because that’s who she is, and she takes Danny’s awkwardness as him just being grumpy about having another person in his space. The dual misunderstandings work out really well in this case, which is why this episode is so delightful and impressive.

Danny escapes to his bedroom to watch the nature channel, but Mindy can’t sleep and comes to join him, hopping onto the bed and giggling at the mating frogs on TV. Danny can’t take it anymore and tells Mindy that they need to talk, but they’re interrupted by his crazy neighbor, who is sitting on the couch in the living room.

 

When Morgan and Peter escalate the texting to “What are you wearing?” Cliff is intrigued… and decides to head over to Mindy’s house. Booty call: engaged. The sad part of this story is that this is an actual conversation Mindy would’ve had with Cliff, had she not lost her phone that night. So while we’re treated to scenes of her and Danny being adorable together, we’re also agonizing over the fact that she’s missing out on a sure thing with Cliff, who still seems like a nice dude even if he does turn out to be more like Dennis Reynolds than anyone would want.

Horrified, Peter and Morgan decide to throw together an amazing last-minute Veterans Day party at Mindy’s apartment to cover for her absence (they say she’s on a salsa run) which effectively takes the wind out of Cliff’s sails. By the way, I think the Ike Barinholtz-Adam Pally combination is a winner. They continue to text (at some point it crosses into sext territory, I think, it’s not clear when it’s on a primetime sitcom) during the party, while Cliff plays a wicked game of Scrabble against Peter.

Mindy gets to slap Danny in mock-rage for cheating on her with his neighbor, then asks for every excruciating detail of Danny’s sex life. Mindy discovers that Amy got into the apartment with her key, which Danny had given her, because they’d been spending most nights together. Mindy hauls Danny into the bathroom and demands that he admit he’s not a carefree player who just hooks up with women with no feelings. He cops to it rather quickly, probably because all of his defenses are lowering thanks to Mindy’s constant, but unsuspecting, assault. She forces him to admit that he doesn’t want a relationship to his neighbor, but thanks to a slip-up, Amy becomes suspicious that Danny and Mindy aren’t really dating. In an effort to keep up the ruse, they embrace and insist that they’re very much in love.

 

 

You can see the exact moment that Danny finally realizes his true feelings for Mindy. But this scene is actually a one-two punch of emotions for Danny; the first part is realization, the second part is actually knowing what the feelings are. “This is real,” Amy says confidently. “Danny never looked at me like that.”

The episode itself is also a one-two punch of emotion, which is why it’s so great, from start to finish. In the very next scene, Cliff is trying to get to Mindy, who he thinks is in the bathroom, so he can apologize. “I apologize if our texting thing got a little intense, and you got scared off. but now that I’m here, I just want to get to know you better. I think you’re really cool, and the most exciting text I got from you all night was… the first one.”

Of course, as he’s confessing his feelings to an empty room, we see a shot of Danny letting Mindy sleep in his bed, while he grabs a pillow to go sleep on the couch. But then Cliff opens the door and realizes the entire text conversation was a ruse. After a hilarious confrontation scene with Peter and Morgan, where he demands they delete the texts from Mindy’s phone, Cliff runs into Mindy’s neighbor, Heather (Ellie Kemper, from The Office), and goes home with her. Morgan decides not to delete the text conversation.

 

The next morning, Danny cooks Mindy French toast for breakfast while she reads the newspaper. “You know that guy you work with? I think you should know, you’re not out of his league. You’re great.”

That’s when Mindy drops the bomb: “When I get home, I’m gonna call Cliff and ask him out.” Poor Danny. He should be relieved, and maybe he is a little bit, but he mostly looked dejected.

Mindy arrives at work to find her purse on her desk, with a note from Morgan. She gets a voicemail from Heather, thanking her for the fun party and telling her about the great guy she hooked up with last night. Mindy looks confused for a minute… and then she discovers the texts.

This sets up a fun arc for the rest of the calendar year, because now we essentially have two triangles to deal with. Triangles usually aren’t my thing, but the Danny-Mindy-Cliff one shouldn’t be too bad since Danny will likely keep his feelings to himself for the time being. The fun is in the Mindy-Cliff-Heather triangle… because I didn’t mention this before, but Mindy and Heather only know each other because they were both dating a lawyer who was cheating on both of them. Heather trashed Mindy’s apartment and ruined her Christmas party last year, and that was over a misunderstanding. If Mindy dates Cliff now, it’ll really hit the fan.

So the question remains: Why aren’t you watching The Mindy Project?

😉

Emmys 2013 – In a Nutshell

Today, all over the internet, bloggers and critics alike are panning last night’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. They are right to do so; it was kind of a mess. Between the way they played nearly every deserving winner off the stage, the technical difficulties, and the constant reminder that death is imminent, it can easily be defined as a somber affair. Even Neil himself seemed to want the show to be over.

There were some bright spots, though:

Merritt Wever‘s acceptance speech, which has been lauded as the best awards speech in the history of everything. “Thank you so much! Thank you so much… I gotta go, bye.”

— The reign of the Modern Family cast is finally over! Maybe now they’ll stop submitting the entire cast into the “supporting” category and leave room for more deserving comedic actors/actresses. (I’m still really upset that Nick Offerman wasn’t nominated for his role as Ron Swanson.)

Diahann Carroll. Just the fact that she was there, her fantastic speech, and her easy laughs were enough to elevate the show, at least temporarily.

— The amazing routine that all of the Outstanding Choreography nominees collaborated on, with homages to the likes of Mad Men and American Horror Story. It was the most captivating part of the show, and even the subsequent Derek Hough win couldn’t temper the viewers’ enthusiasm for the segment.

— Then, of course, there was this:

Mindy Kaling called Stephen Amell “Arrow” and “handsome” within the space of a minute, and it was impressive that he kept up with her. This was the real reason I was even paying attention to the Emmys, and Stephen didn’t disappoint. He even rewarded himself afterwards:

That’s really all we here at WWFTP HQ have to say about this year’s Emmys. What did you guys think?