Tuesday, November 4, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Mindy Project' - Mindy Runs Errands with Annette While Peter Goes on a Blind Date in 'Caramel Princess Time'

FOX's The Mindy Project - Episode 3.06 "Caramel Princess Time"

Danny decides it's time to take Mindy's chronic tardiness into his own hands and teach her a lesson about being on time. Meanwhile, Tamra and Morgan set up Peter on a blind date with their novel-writing friend.

There's a strong idea in "Caramel Princess Time" - Danny tries to address Mindy's constant tardiness - but it gets somewhat lost by almost too much happening over the course of the episode. The show brings up this issue between the two of them which takes on new meaning now that they are a couple - and have been dating for seven months now. They spend some time together but mostly just end up messing with each other. He leaves her stranded at a comedy club after she shows up late. She sets his watch back an hour to make him late for work. And then, they go off their separate ways to reach some resolution over this obstacle. She spends a day with his mother while he's stuck at a therapy session. Dr. Deslaurier and Annette Castellano don't show up until halfway into the episode and both make significant contributions to the individual character arcs. Overall it's weird plotting.

It's wise of the show though to admit that this issue is an issue for Mindy AND Danny. Her tardiness is very much a part of her persona. And yet, it can very easily be perceived as her not making the effort to be there on time because she doesn't care enough to make that effort. That brings up more personal issues from Danny's past and his relationship with his father. She gets to see firsthand how infuriating it can be waiting on other people. It takes over an hour for Annette to get ready and Mindy is on the edge after getting a weird new hairstyle and forcing a doctor to see Annette. Danny, meanwhile, doesn't believe that he belongs in this therapy session like every one else. It's all a byproduct of the elaborate lie he and Mindy told Dr. Fisher in the last episode. That offers up a strong beat of continuity. It only grows more amusing when she pops up every time he makes a reference to killing people.

However, the A story of this episode is about a couple dealing with an issue. And yet, the two don't deal with it as a couple. They see the error in their ways as individuals and then come back together in the end with an understanding of where the other person was coming from. It's a healthy way to do character development. The fact that Mindy and Danny have become a couple doesn't immediately mean all their character development is intrinsically linked together.

On top of all of that, there is an addition subplot where Morgan and Tamra set Peter up on a blind date. That date turns out to be played by Allison Tolman - a revelation in FX's Fargo earlier this year. And yet, so little time is spent on this story. They literally only have the time to offer up the basics of this new dynamic. I like Tolman a lot. I was really looking forward to what roles she would get following her breakout success this year. And yet, she doesn't really have a character in this episode. It's largely about Peter judging her on the outside but then learning how brilliant she is on the inside. That's cliche and not in an interesting way that is rewarding of the character or done in a way that will begin a journey of growth for him.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Caramel Princess Time" was written by Charlie Grandy & Mindy Kaling and directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller.
  • Lots of great guest stars in this episode. Rhea Perlman! Allison Tolman! Niecy Nash! Yeardley Smith! Mark Duplass! An overabundance of talent.
  • The joke that gave this episode its title just wasn't that great. It was the one moment where the entire ensemble was together and yet it didn't offer up some grand insight into Mindy's state of mind when it came to her tardiness.
  • Mindy has never heard of The Godfather.
  • Take a hike! That was a horrible stand-up comedian. I'm actually glad Danny wasn't there to see that.
  • How slow was that book signing line moving if Peter was able to read most of Abby's book before he reached her?
  • Mindy: "I'm giving you the silent treatment. That's why I walked by you and didn't say a word."