THE MINDY PROJECT, S3E3 ROUNDTABLE: “I can never repay you and I don’t plan to”

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By Josh Axelrod, David Oliver and Anamika Roy 

This week’s “Mindy” wasn’t quite as laugh-out-loud hilarious as the last two, but it was still a solid half-hour of TV. Hopefully this isn’t a sign the show is headed toward a stale patch because, as “New Girl” is demonstrating, sometimes shows never recover from mediocrity. But that’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s focus on the here and now.

Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) and Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), “The Mindy Project,” photo courtesy http://www.vulture.com

Danny 

JOSH: Of course Danny was still married. Why does it seem like every divorced character in a sitcom eventually finds out their marriage was never actually legally ended? Example: Dr. Cox and Jordan in “Scrubs.” But anyway, somehow it doesn’t surprise me that not only did Danny never get this taken care of, but he never felt the need to tell Mindy. It just seems like a very Danny thing to do. Luckily for him he can Diamond Dan his way out of any fight with Mindy. His closet is never going to be the same.

DAVID: This was very true to Danny’s character – he cares about what he feels in the moment and what he wants, not about societal pressures. It’s what makes him unique as a character, so I found this very plausible and fun to watch.

ANAMIKA: I find “Sex and the City” parallels everywhere. That opening scene where Danny clearly doesn’t want Mindy leaving her stuff everywhere was very Mr. Big. I’m surprised Mindy put up with his suitcase crap. But I liked that the resolution at the end was that Danny got her drawers instead of making space in his closet. It shows that they can be together but still have their own separate lives. Wow, I got all of that from drawers.

Mindy/Cliff 

JOSH: I was really worried Mindy would spend this episode keeping Danny in the dark about the game she was playing with Cliff. I was even more concerned that Cliff was going to be too dumb to figure out that Mindy was using him for tax help. Luckily, Danny played along and Cliff not only figured out what was going on, but a threw an impressive curveball into Danny and Mindy’s bliss. Side note: I would love to see an episode devoted to why Mindy is known as the “Washington Square Flasher.” Something tells me there’s a story there.

DAVID: I was horrified when you labeled this “Mindy/Cliff,” Josh. I was scared you were ‘shipping these two and had a minor heart palpitation. Anyway, moving on, it was nice to see Glenn Howerton back on “Mindy” and I’m glad that Mindy and Danny still have some hurdles to overcome before happiness too. That’s what’s going to keep this show fresh. I hope the two don’t break up, but just continue to face challenges. That’s more realistic for couples that are “made for each other” on these types of shows, instead of a Nick and Jess break-up route like “New Girl” is currently doing.

ANAMIKA: First of all, I was always on the fence about Cliff but he’s a Red Sox fan! Woohoo!! Anyways, I think his appearance in this episode was a great blast from last season but frankly, he should stay in the ex-files. I think Mindy and Danny are more stable than Nick and Jess. They have an understanding and compliment each other really well. I am a little confused as to when Cliff figured out that Mindy and Danny were lying to him. Was it before or after that dinner?

Peter/Jeremy/Lauren 

JOSH: I’m not going to lie, I’m not as invested in this storyline as I should be. Lauren broke up with Peter, which basically paints her as the bitch of all bitches at this point. Peter was genuinely into her and was even going the extra mile for her son. And yet all Lauren wanted was to be with Jeremy, which Peter inadvertently made her realize. I didn’t think Jeremy was getting deported, but that was a semi-clever way to make Lauren choose Jeremy…with Peter watching. The only reason I care about this storyline is because I feel bad for poor Peter, but at this point it looks like Jeremy won pretty handily. I’m not sure what else can be mined from this conflict, but then again Mindy’s done more with less (I’m looking at you, entire episode about her trying to nail Seth Rogen).

DAVID: Honestly, I have no invested interest in this plot. Sorry, “Mindy” and staff. Next.

ANAMIKA: I’m with David on this one. Jeremy is an awful person. As is Lauren. MOVING ON.

Everyone Else 

JOSH: Where was Tamara?! I missed my weekly dose of sass! Morgan and Beverly barely had anything to do this week, though they got a few solid one-liners in as usual. I understand that this is primarily a workplace comedy, but pretty much every character on “The Office” always had a storyline of some sort to keep them busy. Hopefully “Mindy” gives her supporting cast more to do in the near future.

DAVID: It still feels like “Mindy” is deciding if it wants to be a rom-com or an office comedy. It works best as a solid rom-com, so keep coupling up the office (with characters and stories we care about) and that’s where the show will succeed. Office politics don’t belong.

ANAMIKA: I think Mindy (Kaling) is trying to use elements from “The Office” and keep the office politics portion of the show alive for that. Honestly, Mindy has a gift in writing romantic comedy plots and this show should be her outlet for that. I still liked this episode. I don’t think we have to worry about a “New Girl”-esque demise yet.

Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) and Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), “The Mindy Project,” GIF courtesy http://www.buzzfeed.com

Best One-Liner 

“In July of last year, you spent more money on Emojis than rent?” – Totally something MIndy would do

“This place is tidy like a serial killer’s lair” – Mindy to Danny; plot twist Danny is Dexter?!

“I don’t even know where a gym is, Danny!” – That’s my girl, Mindy

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