Saturday, November 11, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Mindy Project,' 'Chicago P.D.,' 'Broad City' and 'Mom' (November 5-11)

Various comedy and drama reviews for November 5-11, 2017:

Hulu's The Mindy Project - Episode 6.09 "Danny in Real Life"
NBC's Chicago P.D. - Episode 5.06 "Fallen"
Comedy Central's Broad City - Episode 4.07 "Florida"
CBS' Mom - Episode 5.02 "Fish Town and Too Many Thank You's"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes from November 5-11, 2017. Enjoy!

The Mindy Project - "Danny in Real Life"
Mindy and Danny can't agree on the best way to care for an ailing Annette. Anna throws a disastrous bridal/baby shower for Tamra. Colette has a heated confrontation with Jody. Written by Matt Warburton & Mindy Kaling and directed by Michael Spiller

The Mindy Project presented its case for why Mindy and Danny belonged together as a couple. And then, it presented its case for why Mindy and Danny broke up after having Leo - due to Chris Messina wanting to leave the show. And now, it's not really doing a great job in presenting a case for why Mindy and Danny should reunite and will be together for the rest of their lives. It's the direction the show has been heading in for awhile. But the audience has seen how much Mindy has grown since she and Danny broke up. She's in a different place in her life right now. But now, Danny has returned and it seems like he is in the exact same place. His opinions are being championed above everything else. He annoyingly has to be right no matter what. The show demonstrated how that was bad for a relationship. And yet, there's no context for how his second failed marriage has changed him as a person. He's just planted right back into the show as the same guy he was when he left. As such, it's very difficult to root for Mindy and Danny getting back together. There's the desire for that because of nostalgia for the early seasons of the show. But there is nothing in the present to suggest that that is all that beneficial. Mindy is coming across as the good and considerate one because she is there for Annette in the way that she needs. Meanwhile, Danny is coming across as a bully who has no perception of how his actions are coming across. And yet, the show is still putting things into motion for this grand reunion. Jody essentially replaced Danny at the practice after he left. And now, it's very likely that Danny returns to the practice and replaces Jody at Later Baby now that Jody is leaving. But all of that just feels so forced and predictable. It's the show trying to create the ending it always wanted for Mindy. But the way it reacted to the behind-the-scenes situation complicated all of this which makes it all that much more difficult to care about anything that is currently happening. It really hasn't earned any of this. C

Chicago P.D. - "Fallen"
A picture perfect family is shot dead in their home and the team goes in search of a drug dealer with a likely connection. Voight asks for the help of Vice Sergeant Sean McGrady who has an old beef with Upton. When McGrady turns up dead during the investigation, the case takes an unlikely turn. Written by Gavin Harris and directed by Nick Gomez

Upton is the new detective in Intelligence this season. There is so much about her backstory and personality that is still being explored and discovered. It's already been established that she got promoted to detective because of undercover work she can't talk about. She has essentially replaced Lindsay in the dynamics within Intelligence. The show needs to find a way to distinguish the two characters though. Because right now, it just feels like a lot of the same. This episode isn't all that great of a spotlight on Upton. It has no idea what it's doing with her. It gives her this past connection with Sergeant McGrady. And then, it promptly kills him off in order to intensify the main plot. That possibly could have been a surprising development if it wasn't spelled out in the description of this episode! That's lame and proves the show is really struggling to make this episode work. But this hour does nothing for Upton and explaining how she operates on the force and the baggage she carries on this job. It's just a lame case-of-the-week story that has an awkward conclusion. The show tries to spice it up with the returns of Denny and Alderman Price. But Price does nothing he didn't do previously in complicating an investigation. Meanwhile, Denny pops up only to address the actual investigation he has into Voight's actions. But it mostly feels like a story of the show telling the audience backstory of two characters working together instead of actually showing it. Yes, Ruzek is stupid enough to try to cover up his sister's arrest and get caught for it. But that's just information that is told instead of seen. As such, it does nothing to make Ruzek a more sympathetic character who is being forced to do something against his will. Instead, it just feels like a mountain of plot complications to get the narrative moving for some big event in the future. C

Broad City - "Florida"
A trip to the Sunshine State makes the girls reconsider their lives in New York City. Written by Jen Statsky and directed by Ilana Glazer

"Florida" suffers a little bit because it has the unfortunate designation of airing after "Witches." That episode was one of the most empowering the show has ever produced. It managed to make things political in a very specific way. And now, the show is being more fluid and open with its discussion of politics. But the show bleeping Tr--p's name was revealing and powerful in the previous episode. And now, it's losing power because it happens more frequently - with the same treatment surprisingly not being applied to Mike Pence though.. Additionally, the political message of "Florida" isn't as strong as "Witches." Yes, Florida is a swing state that needs left-swinging votes from Abbi and Ilana more than New York does. They are surrounded by people in this community who voted for the current president and are more openly homophobic and racist. That is revealed throughout the course of this episode. The show doesn't shy away from that. It highlights the benefits of Florida life as well as the downfalls of living in this seemingly great community. And yet, it's not as poignant or funny as the show typically is. Of course, it couldn't have aired earlier in the season because of the final development with Lincoln. Ilana inside the suitcase is the most hilarious moment of this episode. Of course, this is also the Susie Essman episode of the season. She's always terrific as Ilana's mom. And now, Fran Drescher is cast as her sister. That's great casting that leads to some amusing interactions as well. The scene where this family is just sitting around the table being honest while smoking some weed is strong. Plus, it has that great punchline of everyone being a little uncomfortable because of how Ilana smuggles her drugs on planes. B+

Mom - "Fish Town and Too Many Thank You's"
Bonnie is suspicious when her brother, Ray, returns from rehab and strikes up a friendship with Adam. Christy and Bonnie have a brush with the law when they take Ray's fancy car for a joy ride. Directed by James Widdoes with story by Eddie Gorodetsky & Susan McMartin and teleplay by Alissa Neubauer, Sheldon Bull & Britté Anchor

This episode builds to a nice thematic conclusion where Natasha hugs Christy for all that she is doing for her because she understands the difficulties of wanting to accept this help after a lifetime of addiction. This isn't an episode about Natasha. It's an episode about Bonnie's brother, Ray, coming to town claiming to be clean and sober from cocaine. He is revealed to be lying to his family and ends up leaving them because he's not ready to accept their help. Christy complaining about the tragedy of all of this is what fuels that final moment between her and Natasha. It's a very earned moment as well because the audience has seen the struggle Natasha has had in trying to find and keep a job so that she can get her daughter back. Christy helping Natasha has had a bad effect on Jill. But it's still something the group can agree is good because they are giving back to the program that has helped them with their own problems. All of this really happens in the second half of the episode. The first half is all about the fun that comes from Ray being in town and him seemingly being great despite kicking this addiction. Bonnie is naturally suspicious but the show gets a couple of good laughs in with Ray and Adam bonding while Bonnie and Christy steal Ray's car. The episode is mostly just fine and pleasant for most of its running time. It doesn't become something truly special until Christy and Bonnie confront Ray about the drugs they found in his car. That brings everything to a strong, emotional center that has actual consequences. It's very compelling to see Adam not sure what to do when he runs into Ray as he's leaving the house unwilling to accept the help he needs. That's poignant and should have consequences later on this season. The show just needs to follow through on them. B