Tuesday, January 21, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Mindy Project' Learns How Much Mindy & Danny Need Each Other in 'The Desert'

FOX's The Mindy Project - Episode 2.14 The Desert

After Cliff breaks up with Mindy for lying about seeing Casey in Los Angeles, Mindy is more determined than ever to win him back. However, instead of taking her to the airport, Danny tricks Mindy into going with him to the desert to see his dad.

Due to FOX's scheduling maneuvers, this is the last new episode of The Mindy Project until April. Ratings have continued to decline in the comedy's second season. And yet, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly says he's bullish - the go-to word during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour - on the series returning next season. The show opts to head into this hiatus by pairing up its leading couple - Mindy and Danny. It's a moment that is very aspirational to New Girl's "Cooler" - which occurred almost one year ago. It's something I know fans have been very anxious to see happen.

I wanna reward The Mindy Project for finding consistency in its storytelling while also just gonna there with this twist that has been simmering throughout the series ever since its pilot. And yet, I'm struggling because I don't feel a big attachment to any of these characters. The most grounded and relatable one is Danny - that also mostly stems from the character going unchanged since the series' beginning. I do think the show often struggles with how the audience or the other characters should react to Mindy. By bringing the romantic comedy elements of the show forward more in its second season, they've pushed that character to the forefront - and everyone else clearly behind her by a mile or so.

So while it feels rewarding for Danny to finally confront his father, Alan, this episode will be remembered as the one where Danny and Mindy kiss for the first time. A moment I wasn't sure the episode was building towards until the two were on the plane and he helped her compose the email to Cliff and then reached for her hand (that wasn't there) when turbulence hit.

Is this just gonna be another reckless decision for Mindy - like her going to the party with Casey? Are Mindy and Danny a good pairing? I don't know. Cliff realizes how good he has it with Mindy and will be fighting to get her back. When the show returns, she is gonna have to make a decision - which again gives her a lot of power. Let's see if The Mindy Project can truly take this moment and turn it into a creative surge.

Some more thoughts:
  • The kiss is the big moment but Mindy and Danny's interactions in the desert were so great as well - Danny telling her Cliff doesn't want her anymore and Mindy telling him he's just mean.
  • A pleasant B-story with Peter, Morgan and Cliff as well. Except how are Peter and Morgan back in New York and Danny and Mindy are still in Los Angeles?
  • Mindy: "And every once in awhile whistle that song from The Hunger Games so I know you're not dead." Moments later, Danny whistles. Mindy: "That sounds nothing like Rue. Have you even seen The Hunger Games?"
  • It's also been extremely odd how the show has yet to find a second, strong female character. The writers always give Mindy a lot to do - but the only other clear and necessary characters are her male co-workers. The show has spent more time developing Adam Pally's Peter than Zoe Jarman, Beth Grant and Xosha Roquemore combined!
  • Ask The Mindy Project to become a office workplace comedy and it is laughable - in all the wrong ways. Remember when Peter was put in charge of the place for an episode? That wasn't that great.
  • Cliff cry-singing along to Jewel was a pretty amusing use of Glenn Howerton.
  • Happily Ever After?