The Mindy Project: “All My Problems Solved Forever” Season 2 Episode 1 Review

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Mindy Kaling’s rom-com sitcom kicks off season 2 with a fresh start, looking to go in a promising direction.

When The Mindy Project debuted last fall, it presented itself as a charming, funny, and lighthearted comedy. Still, even with some truly excellent episodes, it often felt tonally uneven and, at times, overstuffed.  Perhaps this was due to the many change-ups within the cast, the rapid speed at which it went through certain plot points, or something else entirely.  Whatever the reason, it seemed as though the show was constantly struggling to find its footing.

Well ladies and gents, season 2 may have done just that.  It’s hard to judge how several months worth of episodes will go based on just the premiere alone, but I have a great feeling about what’s to come. “All My Problems Solved Forever” was a solid first entry, and proved that the show may have worked out all its kinks.

After last season’s shocking ending in which Mindy decides to go to Haiti to do relief work with Pastor Casery–but not before having an unfairly tender moment with Danny, of course–we’re put right in the thick of things a few months later after everyone has settled into their new roles.  Mindy has done a surprisingly good job at adapting to her new lifestyle in a third-world country, Danny and his ex-wife Christina are giving their relationship a second try, and Jeremy has started stress-eating as a result of having to take on a more managerial position at the practice.

Of course, the show wouldn’t work if its central character was off in another country for most of the season. Things are going well for Casey and Mindy, so one morning he decides to pop the question.  Mindy is so excited that it makes her sick to her stomach.  Okay, so she actually has gallstones, but she’s excited nonetheless.  She gets flown back into New York for an emergency hospital visit and is, of course, reunited with all her old work buddies.  This is where the real fun begins.

One of The Mindy Project‘s greatest strengths is it’s ability to turn rom-com clichés on their head in hilarious ways.  In this episode the cliché arrived in the form of guest star James Franco as Dr. Paul Leotard, aka Mindy’s replacement.  Mindy can’t help but stare at his handsomeness as he walks down the hall in slow-motion.  Of course, her mini-fantasy is interrupted by Danny who reminds her she’s engaged, to which she responds, “what? is this the Taliban? Am I not allowed to look at a man?” Classic Mindy.

The rest of the episode was divided into two key storylines: Mindy’s and Danny’s. Mindy misses her upper-class Manhattan lifestyle more than she wants to admit, and even Casey can tell.  After a hysterical bathroom mixup, he decides to call off their impromptu wedding…for now.  He can see Mindy misses home, and says he doesn’t want her coming back to Haiti with him.  Seeing Mindy try to handle a long-distance relationship could be a very interesting dynamic for the season.  Plus, putting her love life on hold will allow for more great interactions with her workplace family.

Even more interesting was another great moment between Mindy and Danny right before she walks down the aisle.  Will-they-or-wont-they couples are a common television trope, but the chemistry between these two is so great that I want to watch them every step of the way.  Unfortunately, some of Danny’s steps are not so exciting. His plotline involving not being sexually stimulated with Christina had its moments–particularly the excellent sex CD narrated by Dr. Leotard and a shocking one-liner from the usually unfunny Beverly–but was ultimately dealt with way too quickly.  I guess the writers needed a way to get rid of Christina, but I didn’t really feel anything for either of them.  It was clear this relationship was doomed from the start.

All this aside, the episode left me wanting more and I can’t wait to see what this season will bring.  James Franco is a fine choice for a guest star to kick things off, and I’m sure he and Mindy will have some excellent interactions now that they’re both working together.  The show’s best traits are still intact, and with some new tweaks it could really become the comedy we’d all hoped it would be.  Welcome back, Mindy.  You’re looking great.  Grade: B+


By Mike Papirmeister

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