Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.21: "Girl Next Door"

“After a while, you don’t even miss having a boyfriend. Except when you have elective surgery to unweb your toes, and there’s nobody to take you home.”

“Girl Next Door” was all about trying to get a second chance at a romantic relationship that you really messed up. Both Danny and Peter go after ladies they’ve wronged in this one, but only one of them is successful at getting that second chance. On the flip side, Mindy showed some real character growth in this episode, and I liked that very much. I’m concerned, however, that when she inevitably gets back together with Danny, some of this character growth will regress. Danny means well when he tries to take care of Mindy, but it’s really great that Mindy is starting to learn to do some things for herself. I’m very much a “do everything myself” kind of girl, maybe to a fault sometimes. Except for cars. My motto is never do anything to my car (except pump gas . . . I’m not from New Jersey!) that I can pay somebody to do. It ends better for everyone.

The episode opens with the scene that inspired the quote of the episode. Mindy just had surgery, and she talks her way out of the doctor’s office by saying that her husband is waiting for her downstairs. She then rather unsuccessfully tries to walk home by herself. To be honest, what to do about more serious medical procedures is kind of a fear of mine as an almost-perpetually single person who really hates asking anyone for help (see above bit about cars being the only exception to this general rule). Especially since my closest family lives three hours away. Anyway, when Mindy’s wandering around New York City, she is stopped by Officer Charlie Lang (Tim Daly), who she met in the last episode. He takes her home and implies that she’s not a very independent person. This kind of gets to Mindy.

Mindy is on a mission to become more independent, and she has decided that the best starting place is to buy her own apartment. Danny wants to get involved and connect Mindy with a good broker, but Mindy really wants to do this on her own. Danny sins the argument, though, and he ends up accompanying Mindy on an apartment tour. Mindy likes the place a lot, but Danny goes through all the reasons why buying that particular place would be a huge mistake. Danny thinks he has a better alternative. He apparently owns a second apartment in his building, and he thinks Mindy should buy that apartment. Understandably, Mindy thinks this could be an awkward living situation (given their past history). Danny takes Mindy to see the apartment, though, and she’s impressed enough to start having second thoughts. That’s when Danny comes up a solution. Mindy should test drive the apartment for a week and see how strange living next door to each other really is.

Meanwhile, Peter decides to accompany Jeremy to a party of mostly British folks. Because the only consistent characteristic about Jeremy is that he’s British, you know? Peter is hoping to meet a classy British girl, since the usual ladies he hangs out with . . . aren’t so classy. As you might expect, the woman Peter is drawn to is the only other American at the party – a neurosurgeon named Lauren. They bond over seeing who can come up with better fake British-sounding names during a game of Celebrity. Peter’s a little intimidated by Lauren, but they go out on a date, and they hit it off. Peter doesn’t completely spontaneously combust when he finds out Lauren has a kid.

At first, next-door-neighbor life works out just fine for Danny and Mindy. Danny brings Mindy things from Target that she didn’t even realize she needed, and they have pizza and TV nights together. Soon, however, they’ve gotten a bit too comfortable given their situation. Mindy is saying things to Danny like she’ll “be home” in a few hours. Peter notices this, and since he’s one of the few Shulman folks who knows Danny and Mindy fooled around for a little while, he’s not pleased. He warns Mindy that Danny only encouraged her to try out the apartment in his building so that he could keep tabs on her. Mindy doubts this, but she decides to try a little experiment. She invites Charlie over so she can gauge Danny’s reaction to another guy being in her apartment.

Peter and Lauren’s relationship doesn’t really progress, and Peter finds out from Jeremy that Lauren is looking for someone a bit more mature than our favorite Dartmouth frat boy doctor. Peter’s not used to not being the catch in a relationship. Peter, perhaps thanks to the influence of his friendship with Mindy, Peter decides to go for the grand romantic gesture to win Lauren back. Can I say, by the way that I kind of like that Mindy and Peter’s relationship is really just a friendship? I’m a sucker for rom com plots, but it is nice to see people who just have a really good friendship sometimes, too. Anyway, Peter’s idea for a grand romantic gesture is kind of misguided. He interrupts Lauren in the middle of brain surgery. Yep. Brain surgery. Anyway, Amy decides to give Peter a second chance, and so we have at least one happy ending out of this episode.

Back to the Danny and Mindy saga, Charlie isn’t at Mindy’s for very long before Danny notices something is amiss and invites himself into Mindy’s apartment, too. Both Charlie and Danny are from Staten Island, and watching them try to out-Staten Island each other is rather hilarious. Their accents get thicker, and they argue over who grew up in the poorer neighborhood. Danny begrudgingly likes Charlie, though, because he has a firm handshake and makes fantastic spaghetti sauce. Mindy and Danny argue over Charlie’s presence, and Mindy ends up admitting to Danny that Charlie isn’t there on a date. Charlie is unhappy about being used just to get a reaction out of Danny, so he leaves.

Mindy decides to go out with Charlie for real (they plan a stargazing date), and when Danny finds out about it, he tries to kiss Mindy. Mindy backs away, and Danny is going to have to live with that for a little while. For now, I think Charlie is good for Mindy. He encourages Mindy to do things for herself (like use the fire extinguisher on a burning dinner), while Danny tries to coddle her. Mindy has been relying on the men in her life for so long (including having Morgan darn her jeans) that I think it will be good for her to learn to rely on herself a bit before really settling down and committing to Danny.

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