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The Mindy Project Recap: The Mindy Ultimatum

THE MINDY PROJECT

Skype sex is not easy, and neither is commitment. But sometimes you just have to say yes. Or do you?

As Casey and Mindy practiced their long-distance sex talk, perhaps it was symbolic that things quickly disintegrated until they were talking about her “indecisive boobs” — neither A cups nor B cups. Casey’s version of dirty talk soon became, “A, A, A, tryin’ to be a B, tryin’ to be a B,” before he froze, and Morgan dropped in on their chat session. Things were obviously not headed in the right direction.

The Mindy Project, on the other hand, definitely is headed in the right direction as it wraps up its first season. It didn’t always seem sure of itself, but there is now a solid vision behind it and the show has coalesced into a unique hybrid of workplace and romantic comedy. Sure, it still has a few issues to address next season, like what to do with all these people in the office — still not sure what poor Dr. Reed and Betsy are for, much less now-extraneous nurse Tamara. And yesterday Jezebel brought up the interesting question of whether Mindy will ever date anyone but very white guys. But I, for one, officially can’t wait to see what Kaling & Co. come up with for the fall.

Surely she can’t really be going to Haiti with Casey, right? One can imagine a funny sitcom coming out of the two of them, the cool minister and his high-maintenance doctor girlfriend saving the world, but that would be more than a small adjustment to this winning formula. I feel as torn as Mindy does: Honestly, I really, really don’t want them to break up again, like they did last episode and again this episode before reuniting. I love that Mindy has finally found a guy who’s so crazy about her, and such an unexpected kind of guy at that. But maybe that’s, sadly, what’s going on here: Maybe she’s more into being adored unconditionally than she’s into him. That’s certainly a relatable situation.

After all, even though Mindy insisted to Danny and her other co-workers that she would totally be able to hack it in Haiti, she once called 911 when a butterfly got into her apartment. (She thought it was a colorful bat.) Her Haiti survival kit impressed no one, since it just looked like “a bunch of shampoo.” (It was, in fact, several types of hair product.) So she set out to prove her mettle by going camping with Casey, Danny, and Christina. (And Morgan, of course, apropos of nothing.) But she was already panicking when the group told her she should probably cut her hair off when she went to Haiti, since it’s easier to take care of and, as Christina explained, “you aren’t as sexualized.” Mindy was incredulous: “Who doesn’t want to be sexualized?”

Mindy gained more confidence in her survival skills when she saved Morgan from catching on fire. “What’s cool about this trip is I knew I was a good person, but I didn’t know I was insanely courageous,” she told Casey later in the tent as he prepared to floss. (Apparently hair products are too much, but flossing is important.) “Oh my God, Casey, some food in your flossing just landed in my eye!” Thus began Mindy’s concern about being stuck in a tent with Casey for a year. He read David Sedaris and kept laughing, keeping her up. (True story: This always happens when your mate is reading Sedaris.) Then he got up to go pee outside, and his penis knocked off her glasses. (Great sleight-of-camera there, Mindy Project.)

Suddenly, it was clear: She couldn’t possibly go to Haiti with him. Mindy tried to act madly in love when she saw Jamie (of the “Harry & Sally” episodes), who told her he was now engaged to Lucy, his Sally. It was also equally clear, as Danny and Christina threw Casey and Mindy a going-away party, that the newly reunited spouses might not make it much longer either. Christina’s presence in Danny’s apartment was everywhere, and hilariously suffocating. Everywhere, there were artsy, black-and-white photos of Danny, taken by Christina. Morgan’s summary of her art: “I love that you didn’t show Danny’s crotch because honestly it makes me think about it even more.”

Soon, both Danny and Mindy were hiding in the bedroom. “From what?” as Danny said. “Total happiness?” Mindy put a positive spin on her situation as well, even as she ate the “Bon Voyage” sheet cake: “It’s a fun adventure for me as a mature adult to go to an AIDS-ravaged country with my boyfriend of three months.” Then she had an idea. She would give Casey an ultimatum! Surely he would accept that she couldn’t go to Haiti with him because they weren’t engaged yet, and he would leave without her, and everything would be fine!

Or … he would drop to one knee to propose in front of everyone. That gave us a nice bit of physical comedy, with Mindy trying to block him from getting all the way to the floor. And a nice, romantic-comedy-esque reveal of her insecurity — no one had ever wanted to commit to her before, so this took her by surprise. “I work too much, I’m kind of selfish, and I don’t vote,” she revealed. Casey, however, left, brokenhearted. “White-people problems,” Tamara grumbled, as if she’d read the Jezebel post. “I’m obviously not white, Tamara,” Mindy snapped, lending credence to the idea that Tamara is meant as a satire of black stereotypes as opposed to a problematic black stereotype. We’ll see how that goes next season. But: “For the record, a person of color can have white-people problems.” Just so you know.

All this set up a sprint into the final third of the finale, full of music and montage and dramatic gesture, like any good romantic comedy. M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” kicked in for a callback to the pilot episode, this time for Jeremy, Danny, and Mindy to deliver triplets together. (Is this really possible, that there needs to be a 1:1 doctor/child ratio?) Incidentally, I’m starting to think we don’t see Jeremy much because he’s a far superior doctor to the other two: It was like he was doing them a favor by asking them to help with this triplet thing. And his did get the highest APGAR score.

The new mom sent us into our next dramatic sequence by saying that though she hadn’t initially expected to have so many kids in one try, “sometimes you just have to say yes.” Suddenly, Mindy was running — she looked like she could go pretty fast, unlike in the “Triathlon” episode a few weeks ago — to tell Casey she would go with him after all. Despite Casey’s neighbor throwing plastic hangers at her, and Casey believing that she was pregnant (“the sustained weight gain, the irritability, the acne”), Mindy persevered. And then she pulled her hood down to reveal her freshly shorn hair! I gasped. One may wonder about the timeline of all this. Did she stop between the hospital and Casey’s place to get her haircut? Even though it was late at night? Did she do it herself? Or was this a different day altogether? These are not the questions we are meant to ask at critical rom-com moments.

And we still had one more to go. Finally, Mindy reconvened with Danny in the hospital break room, where he told her he hated her new hair. He also told her he’d slowed things down with Christina. And just as they had a classic moment — something about schmutz on her glasses, one of those ploys to get your romantic leads invading each other’s personal space — she told him she was going to Haiti.

Too bad Danny doesn’t know they’re in a sitcom, so she can’t. He looked pretty convincingly crestfallen — all the better for a juicy second-season premiere.

Join me on Twitter to discuss more Mindy, or to just hang out over the summer@jmkarmstrong 

Photo: Beth Dubber/FOX