The Mindy Project: “Music Festival” Season 2 Episode 3 Review

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Pastor Casey returns from Haiti to some disastrous results, but more importantly it looks as though this show is on its way to becoming a sitcom staple.

What separates a classic TV comedy from its competition?  Is it mile-a-minute jokes?  Multifaceted characters? Witty dialogue?  Perhaps it’s a mixture of all these things, or maybe it’s some mysterious x-factor that I haven’t even touched on.  Whatever it is, it was on full display in tonight’s Mindy Project. The show continues to be most improved of the season, delivering another masterful half-hour of comedy.

Tonight’s cold open revealed the return of Pastor Casey.  He returns to his church to give another one of his EDM-fueled sermons, but shocks everyone by announcing he’s leaving the religious world behind to pursue his dream of becoming a DJ.  There’s a hilarious moment in which the congregation starts to turn on Mindy once he says he couldn’t have made the decision without her.  “What the hell,” she mouths to him from her seat.  I was thinking the same thing too at first, but you have to remember that this is a guy who once had Moby spin at his Sunday Mass.  It’s not exactly out of the ordinary.

From here the episode splits in to two parts.  Mindy, Danny, Morgan, Beverly, and Betsy all go to attend a music festival upstate that Casey got a DJ gig at.  Things don’t start off so well, as Mindy is overwhelmed by the craziness of the crowd and Morgan eats some pot-laced cupcakes.  Mindy fights with Casey because she doesn’t see herself constantly going to these kinds of festivals, but eventually decides to go see his show and is proud of how happy he seems to be onstage…until, that is, she gets lifted up by the crowd and starts screaming “my scoliosis!” It was wonderfully typical of her character.

Not so typical was the way they handled her and Casey’s breakup.  Her clear annoyance with him from the start indicated that their relationship could be on the rocks, but it ended in a way that I didn’t see coming.  Once she was finally on board with him being a DJ, he decides he wants to pursue a career in event planning.  Ugh, make up your mind dude.  It was sad to see them split apart, especially with Mindy Kaling bringing some genuine pathos to her performance, but we knew this couldn’t last forever.  I’m just glad it was done in a way that didn’t feel completely predictable.

Meanwhile, back at the practice, Jeremy and Tamara are stuck dealing with everyone else’s patients while they’re away.  Luckily help comes in the form of a potential new gynocolegist, the very bro-ey Peter Prentiss (Adam Pally).  He seems to fit into the show’s tradition of hiring new doctors after they first give a terrible interview and then prove to be surprisingly good at their jobs when duty calls.  Remember how Morgan got hired?  Pally, who was excellent as Max on the cancelled-too-soon Happy Endings, will make a welcome addition to the cast. I certainly hope he’s here to stay.

One of things that I think really cemented this episode as being so great was that the supporting players have all really stepped up their comedy game.  Beverly had an amusing conversation with Mindy on the train ride to the festival.  Tamara, though stuck in the stereotypical sassy black co-worker role, managed to get some real laughs out of her lines.  Morgan has always been funny, and tonight was no exception has he fake proposes to Danny in front of the band The National, who make a guest appearance.

Overall, this episode had a sort of lived-in quality that takes most sitcoms several seasons to acquire.  I admit I was initially nervous at all the change-ups being made for season 2, but so far this show hasn’t missed a beat. Grade: A-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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