Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.19: "Think Like a Peter"

“No, Mindy, you do not apologize to him. This guy took advantage of your heartbreak, and that is a low move. That is disgusting. That is…exactly the thing that I would do. Am I a dick? Does everyone think I’m a dick?”

“Think Like a Peter” employs a sort-of typical sitcom trope, but we get a satisfyingly unique “Mindy Project” spin on it. The typical trope is that Mindy is trying to approach dating more like a man, specifically a bro like Peter. Everything that happens is very true to the characters, though, and Mindy’s innate optimism wins out in the end. There’s even a sartorial choice that made me especially happy, because it was extremely prescient, and I can hear Mindy’s thought process behind why she chose a particular dress that she wore near the end of the episode. I’m still not happy with the direction in which the creative team is taking Danny, but I think it’s pretty clear that the seeds of regret for how he treated Mindy have been planted. He thought he was saving their friendship by breaking up with her, but he may have sacrificed the friendship, too.

We learn from the beginning of the episode voice over that when it comes to dating, Mindy is kind of nice to a fault. She’s on a date with a guy named Phil, and while he’s very nice and there’s nothing really wrong with him, Mindy is just not into him. She can’t bring herself to break it off, though. Mindy ends up lying on the floor of her office, trying to figure out what to do about the situation. Danny tries to go back to being Mindy’s friend, and he asks what’s wrong. Mindy’s still not ready to talk to Danny about her dating life, so she shoos him away in favor of having a chat with Peter instead. This clearly irks Danny, but really, it’s his own fault.

Peter’s advice is, essentially, to think more like him. Mindy wants to break up with Phil (is it really “breaking up” if you’ve only been on one date?), but Mindy doesn’t take the advice at first. She tries writing Phil a five-page break-up letter. While Mindy is writing, Phil texts her a rather disgustingly cute selfie, and Peter has had enough. He tells Mindy that radio silence is the only way to get rid of a clinger like Phil, and he grabs Mindy’s phone until Phil gets the message (from mere minutes of no response). Mindy is thrilled that her problem seems to have been taken care of, and she wants to learn more of Peter’s dating rules. She doesn’t want to be such a push-over anymore.

Meanwhile, while looking for a (food, not surgical) knife, Danny catches Morgan and Tamra hooking up in a supply closet. It turns out Tamra is still dating Ray Ron, too, and she needs some guidance about which guy to choose. Since Mindy hasn’t been letting him occupy that “friend” space lately, Danny offers to help Tamra make a pros and cons list (something he apparently used to do for Mindy). From everything Tamra is saying, Morgan is coming out way ahead (Ray Ron is really an ass), but then Danny plays the trump card. Tamra and Morgan work together, and workplace relationships (especially as Danny has recently experienced) often end in disaster with a side of awkward. Because Morgan is such a good guy, however, Tamra isn’t immediately convinced that working together is the deciding factor, so she says she needs some time to think about everything.

Mindy and Peter go to a bar to scope out a suitable rebound for Mindy. They come upon Lee, a seemingly sweet teacher played by none other than Max Greenfield. Mindy and Lee’s encounter is sort of ridiculously awkward at first, until Peter starts giving Mindy advice. She starts playing hard to get, and the plan works immediately. Lee seems to be smitten. The next morning, Mindy wakes up to find her bed empty. Lee is gone, but he left a scarf behind. Mindy is convinced this was a “Cinderella” move, designed to create a reason to see her again. Peter thinks it was probably an accident (because sometimes guys accidentally forget their stuff, you know), but Mindy is hearing none of it. She’s convinced that Lee is just that into her.

Danny is convinced that office romances are so terrible that he needs to continue to meddle, so he takes Morgan out to lunch. Morgan starts feeling guilty about the hook up with Tamra, so he finds Ray Ron to apologize. Surprisingly, Ray Ron isn’t upset. He’s actually really happy to see Morgan and gives him a big hug. Apparently Tamra already came clean to Ray Ron, and the whole thing made them even closer. Poor Morgan just can’t catch a break. On the other hand, if the better choice for Tamra is Morgan Tookers, she’s got bigger problems than being caught in the middle of a second tier love triangle.

Mindy decides to seek out Lee at his school to return the scarf, which is such a spectacularly bad idea. In this scene, however, she wears a dress with a blue poppy print by LK Bennett, which was famously worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on the recent tour of Australia. The dress was one of my personal favorite looks from the tour, so I was surprised to see it on television again so soon. Mindy is a celebrity gossip junkie like me, so while it probably wasn’t planned this way by the creative team, I can just picture her seeing Kate in the dress during tour coverage and immediately deciding she had to have the dress for herself. It’s quite a gorgeous dress, really.

Anyway, Mindy interrupts Lee’s class to return the scarf, and the whole thing is as awkward as you would expect. It turns out that Lee did indeed leave the scarf by accident, and Peter gets to gloat a little about that one. Then Lee just gets mean and asks Mindy if she’s the mother of one of his students. Mindy starts wondering if she’s good enough for any guy, since she’s had such bad luck recently, and seeing Mindy’s sadness, Peter demands that Lee apologize. The whole thing makes Peter realizing that the games he’s been playing with women (which he was trying to teach to Mindy) make him kind of a dick. It was nice to see Peter have that bit of self-realization. Then he sees a wedding band on Lee’s hand. Lee’s more of a dick than Peter, apparently, and Peter punches Lee right in the face.

Peter and Mindy both come to good realizations by the end of the episode. Peter realizes that maybe he needs to be a bit more of a romantic like Mindy. Mindy realizes that doing the right thing is probably the way to go. She pays Paul a visit and breaks up with him for real. She tells Paul that she needs more time to get over Danny. I’m telling you, these kids aren’t done yet. Speaking of Danny, he’s in bed with Sally, and the camera pans to show a pair of diamond studs under the bed. Clearly Mindy’s been playing Cinderella games. You get yours, girl!

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