Monday, May 26, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.22: "Danny and Mindy"

“Screw you, Bradley Cooper!”

Since I’m a bit behind on blogging here, I already knew the overall reaction to “Danny and Mindy” compared to the “New Girl” season finale, “Cruise.” It seemed like the commentariat responded more positively to “Danny and Mindy,” although I think my personal feelings may differ from the norm. I’m a pretty big Jess and Nick fan, so the fact that they weren’t back together by the end of “Cruise” disappointed me a bit, but I thought that overall, that episode handled a difficult situation (Jess and Nick getting to the point where they could be around each other again) with heart and typical “New Girl” silliness. “Danny and Mindy” had the more positive outcome of the two episodes, thanks to a big moment at the top of the Empire State Building, but because of what has been done to Danny’s character over the past few episodes, that big moment didn’t make me as happy as maybe it should have.

Something that I did really like about this episode was that it was a sort of mash-up homage to Nora Ephron classics “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” I enjoy when “The Mindy Project” really delves into its romantic comedy film roots. I feel like Mindy’s obsession with rom coms and how that is sometimes literally translated into episodes of the show is “The Mindy Project’s” real defining characteristic that sets it apart from any other show about a woman in her early 30s trying to find her way. I especially liked the big Empire State Building set piece at the end of the episode, although thinking too much about how the characters got to that point makes it lose a bit of its luster.

The set-up to this episode is that on the subway ride to work one morning, Mindy spots a hot guy reading a Salinger novel. She starts making eyes with him, and Danny notices. Danny is kind of disgusted by this, considering Mindy has rejected him and is also currently dating Charlie the cop. Mindy tries to brush the incident off as just having some fun. Later, in the local newspaper equivalent of the Craigslist missed connections section, Mindy sees a letter from a guy named “Andy” that sounds exactly like the earlier subway encounter. Mindy and Andy start an e-mail correspondence, and Mindy tells Andy that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Finally, she feels guilty and fesses up to Charlie, who of course, since he’s an intuitive kind of guy (and he saw all the messages on Mindy’s phone), already knows what’s up. He lets Mindy go without a fuss, and thus ends a relationship that might have actually been a positive thing for Mindy.

With Charlie out of the way, Mindy and “Andy” start planning a big reunion at the Empire State Building. Danny’s big plan is to reveal that he is actually “Andy,” and he thinks this will make Mindy take him back. This is the crux of the issue I have with this whole plotline. Danny is so whiny and self-centered. Charlie was really good for Mindy and was helping her grow and become more self-sufficient. Danny just wants what feels good. He coddles Mindy and indulges her neediness. He’s so focused on what he wants and can’t see what is best for Mindy. He’s damn whiny about it, too. Danny is frantically trying to get ready for the big Empire State Building meet-up when Mindy stops by his apartment because she needs help cutting gum out of her hair (why is she so helpless!). This puts a crimp in his plan because he wanted his identity as Andy to be a surprise. While at Danny’s apartment, Mindy talks about how she understands why Danny broke up with her. This freaks Danny out and causes him to second guess his plans, so he stands Mindy up.

Mindy comes down with a bad cold from waiting at the Empire State Building in the cold and rain, and when Danny finds out, he feels bad and wants to make her feel better. He stops by Mindy’s apartment to deliver some chicken noodle soup and his copy of the Guinness Book of World Records (the two things Castellanos need to feel better on the rare occasions when they get sick). Mindy is happy to spend the afternoon hanging out with Danny, and when she gets better, this expands to Danny and Mindy showing each other their version of New York (rom com hotspots for Mindy and Staten Island for Danny). There’s a voice over from Danny explaining that he was hoping to make Andy a distant memory. That plain is derailed, though, when Mindy and Danny run into “Andy” on the subway again. Mindy confronts him and finds out that he’s actually a random European grad student. Danny is forced to admit that he is actually “Andy,” and Mindy’s reaction is not good.

Mindy is devastated that Danny could have done this to her, and when Danny discovers that she’s crying in the ladies room at Shulman and Associates, he decides to try and make things better. Mindy gives Danny the talking-to he really deserves for pulling that stunt. She says that no, she can’t take him back, because she’s afraid that he’ll love her until he doesn’t again. Understandably, she can’t trust him. The fact that he staged the whole “Andy” thing doesn’t exactly help with the trust issues, either. I’m glad that Mindy finally stood up for herself with Danny (or any guy in general, really). I think I’d like to chalk that up to Charlie’s good influence. Mindy is finally seeing herself as a person with agency. In one last-ditch effort, Danny says he’s going to go to the Empire State Building again that night at 8, and he’ll wait all night for Mindy if he has to.

When the time comes, Mindy is in her office working. The office had already figured out what was going on, and they decide to try and convince Mindy to meet up with Danny after all. Peter is the one who actually makes the argument. He shows Mindy a box that he found in Danny’s office. The box contains keepsakes that are important to Danny, including a pair of Mindy’s earrings. Mindy heads to the Empire State Building to find out that the elevator isn’t working. She starts hiking up all 100+ flights of stairs. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff are out on the town celebrating their matchmaking when they find Danny in his go-to pizza place. It turns out he bailed on the Empire State after waiting for Mindy for an hour. Idiot. When he finds out Mindy is actually on her way, he makes a dash for the Empire State Building. The elevator is working by that point, so they actually arrive around the same time. Danny finds Mindy lying down on the observation deck, trying to regain her breath. They decide that they are officially a couple, and they immediately start bickering about how many kids they want to have.

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