The Mindy Project: “Sk8er Man” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

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Mindy dates against-type in a surprisingly predictable episode.

Unlike other comedies, I’m always excited when The Mindy Project takes on a rom-com cliché or a classic sitcom trope.  The show has a knack for turning hackneyed plot devices on their heads, and making them feel completely fresh and hilarious.  The scene in last season’s finale–when she rushes to Casey’s window to profess her love to him, only to get a bottle thrown at her head–had me in stitches.  This week, she takes on the well-worn notion of dating someone beneath you in order to prove you don’t have high standards.  The results were disappointingly bland.

Things started out well enough with a funny cold open in which Mindy meets Graham (Justified‘s Timothy Olyphant), a pro skater who accidentally crashes into her.  Though she’s physically attracted him, she’s turned off by his immaturity.  Later, at her coupled friends’ dinner party, she learns that they didn’t bother to sit her with other singles because they’ve given up on trying to set her up.  She’s just too damn picky.  The whole dinner party scene was great, and offered up some cheerfully quotable lines.

Of course, by this point, we can see where things are headed.  Mindy is going to date Graham to prove she’s not picky.  Danny, who was also at the dinner party, seems to be doing the same thing by dating an utterly stodgy woman named Mary (Saturday Night Live‘s Vanessa Bayer).  Mindy invites Danny on a double-date, but of course it’s more like a challenge of who is really being honest with themselves.

On any other sitcom, the night would’ve ended poorly, and the two central characters would’ve come to the realize that it’s okay to have some standards.  On The Mindy Project, however, wha–wait.  Never mind. That’s exactly what happens.  I was disheartened to watch as the show failed to offer up any original spin on the topic.  What could have been another great rom-com sendup ended up falling completely flat.  I will give some minor props for the sweet final moment between Mindy and Danny, as well as Bayer’s excellently droll performance, but everything else was pretty uninteresting.

The subplot wasn’t much to laugh at either.  Jeremy’s father comes into town and makes Jeremy feel inadequate in comparison to Peter.  I’m not really sure what’s happening with Jeremy this season, but I definitely liked him better when he was more confident.  Now that he’s gained a significant amount of weight and been pushed to the background in a more managerial position, I feel like he’s just become a punching bag. He wasn’t necessarily likable last season either, but I think this is certainly a step in the wrong direction.  I’m fine with him being on the show, but I think the writers need to figure out his place in the office quickly.  This isn’t it.  The one highlight of this plotline was Adam Pally, who continues to kill it as Peter Prentiss.

This whole episode felt like a detour in The Mindy Project‘s goals for the season.  Not that sitcoms have to have long, overarching narratives, but this just didn’t seem to go anywhere.  I certainly hope things improve next week, because this show can really shine when it isn’t slacking.  Grade: C


By Mike Papirmeister

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