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The Mindy Project Recap: The Apartment

THE MINDY PROJECT:

“I’m no feminist, but I’ve printed out enough Jezebel articles to know that’s not cool.” Oh, Officer Charlie, you’re so perfect that I’ll even forgive that first clause. The sentiment is good enough.

Spurred at least partially by Charlie’s assertion that Mindy isn’t independent enough, she finds herself suddenly interested in buying an apartment. (Her relationship with Morgan doesn’t help dispel rumors of her dependence on men: “When you finish darning my jeans,” she calls to him, “can you get me a cup of tea with one ice cube in it?”) This makes for an interesting comment on Mindy’s male-heavy core cast as well. Remember when she had that female best friend played by Anna Camp? Feels like so long ago …

Speaking of jettisoned cast members, this week’s episode briefly found an excellent use for Jeremy, albeit only as background for someone else’s story line: Peter comes to a British-person party with our resident Anglo. He wants to meet smarter women because he’s tired, as he explains, of dating women who talk about nothing but their boring friends and made-up gluten allergies. At the party, he meets a woman who’s the only other American and is no less than a brain surgeon. No wonder she’s good at calling out random British-sounding names. (Tippi St. Clair! Raven of Wogfire!) Soon, they’re going out, Peter’s finding out that she also has a kid, and Peter’s on his way to some character development.

Peter’s date with smart-woman Lauren goes so great that it makes him “rethink that whole book-learning-for-women thing.” But Jeremy has some bad news: Lauren wants someone more mature. By the time Peter barges into Lauren’s operating room for a mini-grand gesture (is that possible?), I realize that Peter’s journey to solid series addition is now complete. He’s now serving as Mindy’s confidante (key in rom-coms, though having a straight guy in that role is a nice twist). And he is living his own B-plot rom-com. For a hot second a while back, I thought we could be heading toward a Mindy-and-Peter romantic plot-line thing, but this is better. This could be the magic ingredient to take some pressure off Mindy’s dating life as the show’s only go-to move. Lauren, for the record, agrees to give him another chance, but she has to return to brain surgery. “I have to get back in there,” she says. “Warren’s a drunk.” Also fun: involving more doctors and the hospital overall, like a mini–Grey’s Anatomy.

On the other hand, Danny isn’t quite ready to make a(nother) grand gesture for Mindy, though he strong-arms his way into shopping for apartments with her, then talks her out of the first place she wants. He has some rightful objections, it should be noted. The real-estate agent insists, for example, that a kitchen isn’t necessary: “You can’t do takeout? Are you poor?” Danny’s also quite qualified on these matters, since he took Suze Orman’s “Get Over Him and Get Rich, Girlfriend” seminar. In fact, it turns out he owns another apartment in his building, and he thinks Mindy should buy it. Anyone else suspicious that he loves Mindy enough to have just recently purchased this apartment for this purpose? It’s quite a coincidence otherwise.

Mindy decides to try it out for a week, just to see if it’s too weird living down the hall from Danny, and guess what! It is kind of weird, but also kind of nice, since he goes to Target for her (and also for product placement), and they can order pizza and watch movies together. As the week progresses, she finds herself saying to him at the office, “I’ll be home in a couple of hours!” Peter spots the boundary-blurring trouble and advises her against moving to Danny’s building permanently — he knows Danny just wants to keep tabs on her. “It’s like when Hefner asks Playmates to move into the mansion,” he explains. He’s right … in his way.

To test this theory, Mindy invites Officer Charlie over for a dinner, which she plans to cook “from jars of food that I opened myself.” She burns dinner, but she does use the fire extinguisher herself for the first time, under Charlie’s forceful guidance. See! She’s growing as a person! Danny barges in just in time to stop the growth, though, and finds that he likes Charlie as much as we knew he would. (“Cool name,” he mumbles upon meeting Charlie, “great handshake.”) This makes him even more jealous, and then Charlie really gets under his skin by out-Statening him. Danny’s from Mariner’s Harbor? “Oh, yeah, we used to call you the rich kids,” Charlie says, fighting words where they’re from. Danny even ups his Staten accent in Charlie’s presence.

Tim Daly looks so good, being manly, cooking, printing out Jezebel articles, and teaching Mindy important life lessons that for the second week in a row, a teeny part of me is rooting against Danny here. I love how he makes Danny look like a petulant child. He is also, as Mindy kindly noted while asking him out for the next night, “really cute, for [his] age.” (Or as my sister said, he “looks old, but he looks good.” I think both she and Mindy meant that in the best possible way.) And his rapport with Mindy is perfect. As an enticement to go out with her, she offers, “You could let me shoot your gun.” His answer: “You’re a little nut job. I like that. It’s interesting.” One even senses she could teach Mr. Non-Feminist a thing or two.

When Danny goes in for the kiss once he finds out Mindy’s going out with Charlie again, I’m almost back on his side — they’re just so hot together. But I’m really proud of her for shooting him down and saying he doesn’t get to jerk her around just because he’s jealous: “I get to decide.” It felt like real growth for her from the boy-crazy Mindy we met when the show began, and it felt like the lesson she was trying to impart to Charlie’s daughter last week.

Plus, how cute was Charlie and Mindy’s date, lying on his cop car watching for meteor showers? I didn’t think this show could get any more romantic than that kiss in the airplane, but with the tension ratcheted up this far, we’re inching pretty close for next week’s finale.

Photo: Beth Dubber/FOX