The Mindy Project: “Be Cool/Girl Crush” Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18 Review

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The Mindy Project continues to make up for lost time with two polarizing episodes that set an interesting tone for the rest of the season.

The Mindy Project  is a show that’s always known how to handle narrative clichés. It’s either taken them head-on and proven just how ridiculous they can be, or just avoided them altogether. When it came to the trope of the will-they-or-wont-they couple, it seemed like smooth sailing ahead. Mindy and Danny got together after the perfect amount of time. Their chemistry was enjoyable, but the real treat was the refreshing amount of candor they displayed through their own flawed personalities. I could already see a million different avenues their relationship could go down.

Then, just as things were heating up, the rug was pulled out from under us. “Be Cool” presented what seemed like a typical dating faux pas, and then brought everything to an abrupt halt. There was a lot of humor in Danny wanting to keep his relationship with Mindy a secret. The cold open featured a slew of hilarious one-liners, and the couple’s secret hookups felt very exciting. Things came to a head when Danny needed to fend off an old flame (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), and Mindy decided to cause a scene with Peter in order to get his attention.

What happened next was pretty shocking. In an unexpected shift, Mindy and Danny shared an emotional conversation in which Danny decided they should just be friends. I’m conflicted on this progression. On one hand, it’s yet another bold move for the show to make. The scene felt very real, and I especially liked Mindy’s line about men who say they “don’t want to ruin a friendship” just being cowards.

On the other hand, one of my complaints from last week is that their coupling felt too rushed. Now things are over before they’ve even really started. What gives? I know the show is trying to make up for all the weeks it was off the air, but this feels like way to pivotal of a plotpoint to just breeze through.

The only glimmer of hope from this breakup is that another episode immediately followed. I was hoping “Girl Crush” would make sense of this major twist so that I wouldn’t have to spend a whole week wondering what was going to happen. Turns out that was a pipe dream.

Was anyone else confused by the timeline between the two episodes? I assumed, given the cold open where Mindy awkwardly tries to avoid Danny, that they occurred fairly close together. If that’s true, then it felt completely out-of-character for Danny to start looking for a rebound girl. If you’ve ever wondered how soon is too soon to start dating again after a breakup, this is it.

The majority of the episode dealt with the idea of Mindy not being appreciated by her co-workers. The banter that these doctors continually share is often enjoyable, and I like that they’re not afraid to call each other out on their crap. Still, having everyone–especially Morgan–gang up on Mindy in this episode felt like overkill. By the end, I almost wanted her to leave the practice entirely.

Speaking of leaving the practice, the one bright spot in this episode came in the form of Anna Gunn as an OBGYN to the stars who tries lure Mindy away. It was great fun to watch the actress trade in her hardened Breaking Bad demeanor for something a little more effervescent. It’s no surprise she can handle comedy just as well as drama, considering her résumé includes stints on Seinfeld and The Drew Carey Show. That didn’t make it any less enjoyable, however, to hear her utter the line, “The rich and famous need medical care just like everyone else. Perhaps more so, because they all have herpes.”

In the end, things were left unresolved. Mindy tells Danny she’s okay when she’s clearly not. It’s also unclear whether Danny is actually going to go for his rebound girl, who happens to be Peter’s sister.

Peter was a very interesting character during these two episodes, providing a pillar of support for Mindy during her personal crises. I like that his character can be a total jerk, but also a really great friend. Morgan also provided continuity throughout both of the episodes, in that he remained incredibly obnoxious. I used to really like mix of sweet sincerity and utter ridiculousness that he brought to the group, but now he’s just gone off the rails.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Betsy and Tamra also appeared in these episodes, if only to highlight that The Mindy Project doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. I really like Xosha Roquemore’s portrayal of Tamra, so it’s a shame she’s not being used more.

“Be Cool” was a pretty stellar episode, despite it’s hasty ending. I really am interested to see where Mindy and Danny are headed now that they’ve gotten together and broken up in such a short timespan. Conversely, I’m uninterested in seeing another episode like “Girl Crush,” although I wouldn’t mind if Anna Gunn popped up again. Mindy got put through the wringer this week, so I hope the remaining episodes of this season go a little easier on her.

Grades:

“Be Cool”: B+/”Girl Crush”: C+

 

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