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The Mindy Project Recap: Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow

THE MINDY PROJECT

So true, Mindy: You do use way more shampoo than conditioner, so they do need to be different-size bottles! And that truth, expressed during the wonderfully awkward shower-sex between Mindy and Casey, was just the beginning of the charm in store for this episode — the penultimate half-hour in this uneven, but steadily gaining, first season of The Mindy Project.

The show seems to be lining up the elements for a great finale and, hopefully, a strong start to season two. Though it’s not quite clear where new nurse Tamara will fit in now that Morgan’s back (which we’ll get to in a bit), she showed more promise as a comedic element than poor Shauna, who disappeared from the office without a mention. Tamara has that wackadoo quality necessary for most supporting characters on Mindy. Case in point, her offhandedly calling Danny “girl” because he reminds her of her cousin, Sheena, which makes one wonder what exactly Sheena is like. Another case in point, that dance/rap she did about Gchatting Sheena. And a third case in point, that line to Betsy: “Come on, girl, we got to make a music video with this skeleton.” (Note: I worry a touch about sinking into stereotypes here, but so far her delivery, and her weirdness, has overcome that.) Incidentally, I would very much like to see that music video.

More important, Mindy’s relationship with Casey reached another level, and possibly a breaking point: I’m really interested to see whether he sticks around for a while or whether he’s shunted off in favor of more dating plotlines. Despite their obvious differences, I’ve grown to like (and even believe) them as a couple. “He looks like a villain in a National Lampoon movie, but he’s not” is how Mindy described him to her protégée, med student Katie. “He’s, like, into Haiti.” And herein lies the problem: Casey got an opportunity to spend a year in Haiti doing charity work, and Mindy naturally was not pleased at the prospect of being apart for a year — which wouldn’t be that long, she said, “if I were 20 or a tortoise.” But she is neither, so she promptly broke up with him.

Meanwhile, Danny and Jeremy were trying to win Morgan back with a raise. They even agreed to his stipulation: “Would you mind writing it on a small piece of paper and passing it to me like we’re in an eighties business movie?” (Which one did you guys think of? Secret of My Success, which naturally is actually spelled Secret of My Succe$s? Working Girl?) He liked the offer but declined, because the DeLauriers were teaching him to listen to the universe, and also because he liked that they acted like a family and included him in that. Finally, Danny and Jeremy visited Morgan at home, requiring them to walk through a lot of wind chimes on the porch. (Congratulations to Dr. Jeremy, who finally got a great line: “Why, America?”) They gave him an adorable dog and convinced him to come hang with them and Mindy, who happened to be at a frat party with her protégée.

At the party, Katie emerged in full makeup to reveal that she could look like, as Mindy said, her own hot, evil twin — or, in my world, like Adrian from Secret Life of the American Teenager! I’ve always liked Francia Raisa despite her imprisonment on that clunker of a show, so I was thrilled to see her here. (And when she was rocking the natural, med-student face earlier in the episode, I actually didn’t recognize her!) At the frat party, the show became a kind of Mindy version of one of those National Lampoon college movies, so I liked the earlier reference even more. First, Mindy ran into her dentist ex from the pilot episode, played by Bill Hader, who’s now trying to relive his fratty past and wearing an eyebrow ring because his wife left him to move back to Serbia.

But the sweet revenge that comes from running into a now-disastrous ex was interrupted by Katie taking to the fraternity house’s installed stripper pole. (Why do I think this is probably a true-to-life detail? Sigh.) Mindy did exactly what we knew she would: pulled Katie off the pole and lectured her about empowerment. This protective streak has become an interesting ongoing theme for the show, which presents Mindy as unapologetic about her sexuality but distinguishes that from the exploitative behavior she deplores. She’s lectured her young neighbor, her brother, and now Katie about self-respect and respect for women. And now she’s also torn down a stripper pole, in a very funny bit that required her to sort of almost look like she’s pole dancing while trying to dislodge the offending fixture. “I dismantled this pole, this pole of oppression,” she announced. “Thank you, young feminists.”

Soon not only had the boys from the office arrived, but so had Casey. (Good detail: They mentioned earlier in the episode that Mindy was tweeting about the party, so that took care of why they all could find her so easily.) Pastor Casey showed up drunk and in his clerical collar, which would have to be at least one of the highlights of this party. He ranted when he saw Mindy getting cozy with her ex, though she was just looking at his eyebrow-ring wound as a doctor. She explained to Bill Hader that she would not be going home with him, but “it would’ve rocked your world because I’ve learned a lot of stuff from this guy … and some other guys, too.” (Unapologetic sexuality alert.) The two drunk dudes started fighting, Bill Hader eventually drew a Hitler mustache on Casey with a Sharpie, the guys from the office somehow got involved in the melee, and Danny won Morgan back by defending him and calling him a “brother.” Yay!

Alas, Casey was still going to Haiti, and still very drunk. Or, as Mindy described him, looking very much “like a magician with food poisoning.” But he told her he wanted to go to Haiti now because he wouldn’t be able to once they get married and start having kids. Yes, it looks like Mindy may have found her Pastor Charming — but she’ll have to wait a year, and inevitably endure various comic hijinks along the way. Such is the life of a perpetual romantic comedy heroine.

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Photo: Jordin Althaus/FOX