The Mindy Project: “The Other Dr. L” Season 2 Episode 2 Review

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Are you still laughing?  Tonight’s episode was damn near perfect from start to finish.

So, what made The Other Dr. L so great?  It wasn’t the sight gags or one-liners, although there were quite a few excellent ones.  It was the returned focus on the important characters, namely Mindy and, to a lesser extent, Danny.  Don’t get me wrong, the show’s supporting players can be pretty hilarious, but it often feels like too many of them are given too much screen time at once, and then everything just feels cramped.  Tonight everyone was perfectly balanced, allowing Mindy to shine.  And boy, did she ever.

Things started off with another hysterical cold open in which Mindy takes a romantic cliché and makes it her own.  This time it was Skype sex.  While chatting with Pastor Casey, Mindy told him she planned to reenact the whipped cream bikini scene from Varsity Blues.  It doesn’t go as planned, of course.  Mindy reappears in a whipped cream one-piece (“It was originally a string bikini, but then I felt like it was too sleazy!”) and then ants start to crawl up her leg.  Every time she loses, we win!

The main plot of the night involved Mindy readjusting to life at the practice, and butting heads with Dr. Leotard. James Franco continues to nail it as a guest star, giving off the perfect falsely sweet attitude.  When Mindy realizes that the rest of the crew loves the new Dr. L, she knows it’s going to take some work to get her old office and her old patients back.  So, when the staff goes out drinking and Morgan lets it slip that Dr. Leotard is a lightweight, she hatches a plan.  The entire Doctor-vs-Doctor shot-off sequence was wonderfully zany.  From the absurd number of shot glasses that appeared between the two of them, to Mindy’s one-liner about eating an entire loaf of bread before she came to the bar.  It was nonstop laughs in the way that only this show can do.

Meanwhile, Danny’s subplot saw him joining a comically pathetic male singles group featuring some familiar (and famous! Hey Kris Humphries! How does Mindy Kaling keep getting NBA players to guest on her show?) faces.  Bill Hader returned as Mindy’s ex Tom, whose best moment involved getting drinks sent over to him by women at the bar and immediately pouring them out.  Did this remind anyone else of the scene from The Office when Dwight did basically the same thing?  If Mindy is taking cues from her old TV show, I have no problem with that.

Anyway, both storylines flawlessly intertwined after Mindy attempts to lead a completely wasted Dr. Leotard back to his apartment.  She leaves–but not before an amusingly weird kiss goodnight–and who shows up, but Christina.  Seeing how taken she was with their sex therapy session last week, it was no surprise when they slept together.  The next morning, he ropes Mindy into keeping his secret but it doesn’t last long.  Things come to blows, and he is forced to leave the practice.  So long, James Franco.  Though I’ll miss him, I must say that this felt like an incredibly smart way to deal with both his character and Christina’s.  It gets them out of the picture without it feeling forced, and leaves the opportunity open for them to come back if they’re needed.  Like I said, perfect.

The Mindy Project, at its worst, tries to stuff a little too many cheap laughs into its half-hour time slot.  At its best, however, it’s a truly spectacular comedy heralded by it’s incredibly charming creator and star.  Last week I said I had high hopes for this season, and this week they were all completely affirmed.  The show has gone back to the core of what makes it so very funny and yet, there’s something new and fresh about that wasn’t there before.  Welcome to Mindy 2.0.  I think we’re all gonna love it. Grade: A

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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