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The Mindy Project Recap: Rebound to the Max

THE MINDY PROJECT: Mindy (Mindy Kaling, C) and Peter (Adam Pally, L) pay Lee (guest star Max Greenfield, R) a surprise visit in the "Think Like a Peter" time period premiere episode of THE MINDY PROJECT airing Tuesday, April 15 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Mindy’s trying to date again, which would be fun to watch if her breakup with Danny weren’t still so fresh and traumatizing. At least her first date is with a non-threatening dweeb who says, as she excuses herself for the restroom, “Getting a refill on sexy? Because your cup already runneth over.” This is the kind of line Mindy would love if it came from a guy she was into, but, um, well, as she tells Betsy the next day: “It sucked, and I hate him, but we’re spending next weekend in Vermont looking at the foliage. Phil says that it’s cheaper off season.” This is what you get for letting Betsy set you up.

Danny’s missing Mindy’s friendship at the office, as he should be. He feels left out of helping with her personal life when she claims to him, coldly, that everything is fine even though she’s lying on the floor of her office. Then Peter comes in: “Why are you on the floor?” Mindy: “Only because my life is over.” Peter: “Oh, my God, this is gonna be juicy.”

Door shuts in Danny’s face. Danny is forced to partake instead of the discussion in reception. Betsy: “I killed a spider.” Beverly: “Wait, I brought a spider.” And with that, these two actresses have earned their paychecks for another week.

In any case, Mindy is whining to Peter about her lame date. “So you went on a coffee date with a loser,” Peter says. “All coffee dates are with losers.” (Truth.) I can’t believe how much I now love Peter and Mindy together as Peter takes over the “guy friend” role Danny used to have with her — I hope that feeling continues even when Danny and Mindy get back together. Which they will. THEY WILL.

Peter continues, “You deserve someone great. Or at least someone kinda rich. Or at least someone fun. Probably gay.” He encourages her to get back out there and date as callously as he does, though the best moment in this episode comes in a throwaway moment here as Mindy mimics Peter’s (Adam Pally’s) seriously Midwestern-flat-A accent. “Think like a Peter,” he says, “not talk like a Peter.” Thinking like a Peter, naturally, turns out to work quite well, at least for the moment: When he gets Mindy to ignore her disaster-date’s repeated texts, the maneuver succeeds in driving the guy away without a messy breakup conversation.

That night, the great Max Greenfield from New Girl shows up for a guest spot as Mindy’s flirt-partner when she and Peter hit a bar for some rebound action. He’s playing basically a mashup of his character on New Girl and Zooey Deschanel’s character on New Girl, but one could do worse. Peter coaches Mindy, warning her off her first two ideas for possible pickup lines: “Have you seen a pair of panties somewhere? Because I think I dropped mine because the elastic in the waist wore off.” And “I’m really heartbroken and it would be nice to talk to someone.”

Mindy agrees to instead sidle up next to her target and order a whiskey (guys do love when girls drink whiskey). Then she veers off plan, explaining to her target that she’s “trying out this cool new aggressive way of hitting on a guy.” Somehow all of this works anyway: “My mother was insane,” he explains, “so I’m kind-of attracted to this.” He’s a grade-school teacher named Lee, and this all seems very promising until they go home together and he’s vanished by the next morning. He left his scarf at Mindy’s place, though, which she interprets as a sign that he wants to see her again, a “classic Cinderella move.”

She and Peter track Lee down at school, presumably because that’s a funnier place to have a sex-related confrontation than, say, a bar. “You’re not a parent here, are you?” Lee asks Mindy, much to her horror. “Because six strikes and I’m out.” As they take the grown-up discussion to the hallway, we get a glimpse of Lee and Mindy’s night together. “You played me your guitar app,” she says. “You told me that your dad was bisexual.” Here, Peter has an epiphany; he dates just like this guy, and he does not like this guy. This is information that could come in handy to, say, construct a near-future love triangle among Danny, Mindy, and Peter. As just one example, of course, of something it could do. “Does everyone think I’m a dick?” Peter asks. Mindy answers, “Yeah, are you just realizing that now?”

Well, he’s not quite as much of a dick as Lee, who, as it happens, is married. Peter vows to think more like Mindy does so as to not become Lee. (“Really? It’s usually just me trying to remember where I left my phone.”)

Danny, meanwhile, is bumbling around at least as much as Mindy post-breakup. First, he stumbles onto Tamra and Morgan making out in a supply closet. Desperate for companionship, Danny encourages Tamra to confide in him about her personal life. “I have a lot of experience with emotional women talking at me about their problems,” he says, obviously with Mindy on the brain. He helps her make pro and con lists about Morgan and her current boyfriend, Ray Ron. Morgan has many pros, it seems: “He’s a ex con, but that’s a pro,” Tamra notes. Morgan has also helped her develop more as a nurse: “I don’t go, ‘Oh, God!’ when people have high blood pressure anymore.”

Danny’s helpful hints — and his current sour view of office romances — backfire, though, sending Tamra back to Ray Ron. Morgan confronts Ray Ron at the copy shop where he works, but to no avail. Ray Ron’s totally cool with Tamra’s recent minor indiscretion with Morgan. (“As long as there’s no ‘tration, we’re good,” he classily summarizes.)

Danny tries to use all of this to connect with Mindy again, telling her he has some juicy office gossip to share, but she’s not into it. So he calls Peter’s sister, Sally, instead. As they watch a movie at his place, there’s a lingering shot of some diamond earrings, though I’m not sure of the import yet: Did Mindy leave them there, like Lee left his scarf? Or did Sally?

Photo: Jordin Althaus/FOX