The Mindy Project
Mindy meets-cute with a skateboarder when he slams into her on the street, and we’re officially back in the show’s sweet spot of romantic comedy. She insults his black socks with sneakers, he counters that she’s wearing pajamas, and sparks fly … at least for the moment. (If things don’t work out, I’ve got a mother-in-law who repeatedly expressed her admiration for Graham the skateboarder’s cuteness this evening. Which makes sense, because Timothy Olyphant is Timothy Olyphant.) To add to the tension, the next scene has Danny meeting Saturday Night Live’s chief Miley Cyrus imitator, Vanessa Bayer, at a dinner party over hummus. The most interesting thing about her character is that she loves hummus. And yet this isn’t the last we’ll see of her, for romantic-comedy reasons.
We go in a different direction first, however, with a very Bridget Jones–esque scene: Mindy’s seated next to a guy named Chaz, and she’s intrigued by his cuteness until she meets his beautiful wife Renee (shades of Alanis Morissette, too?) and Renee’s daughter from her first husband, Clementine. In only a slight twist on the couples-versus-singletons scene in Bridget Jones, Clementine asks Mindy if she’s alone, and where her baby is. Mortified, Mindy scrambles back to Danny, getting his attention with a topical comment for this particular night: “Giuliani is running for mayor again.” Once again, they’re stuck together, whether or not they like it (but we know they do).
Meanwhile, in B-plot land, Morgan is trying to take a break from hogging any secondary time to give Jeremy a chance to shine. Helping out is Alan Dale, a.k.a. Caleb Nichol, a.k.a. Charles Widmore, dressed more snappily than ever and playing Jeremy’s visiting dad. “You look like James Bond,” Peter tells Jeremy’s dad. “You look like Austin Powers,” he says to Jeremy, thus solidifying what we are apparently to believe is Jeremy’s new identity, the schlubby Englishman, rather than the dashing one. I’m still not buying it, but okay.
More important in office action, Danny accuses Mindy of being too picky, which is the scourge of all single women everywhere, and she’s determined to prove him wrong by scouring tattoo parlors, comic-book stores, and marijuana dispensaries for Graham so she can go out with him. When she finds him, he pretends for a second to be rejecting her, then adds, “Just kidding. I literally have nothing to do.” She’s overjoyed, though she has some requirements for date locations: “I do not like Italian, Chinese, or Indian food, ironically enough. It gives me colitis.” Things are off to a great start.
Graham arrives for their date via fire escape, but things start to look sexier after that, right around the time he takes off his shirt and shows her his tattoos and scars. One, for instance, he got at a skating competition because he was “super loaded and fell off the podium at the medal ceremony.” She even shows him her scar, which she got at Filene’s Basement trying on a shirt during a sale. It still had pins in it, you see.
Things get even better when the would-be couple goes out for fast food and Graham announces, “Did anyone order the super-hot Indian girl with the extra curves?” However, once real talking commences — you know, with ideas and stuff — she can see there isn’t much there there. (Oh, haven’t we all been on this date?) As she explains while they wait for the subway at Spring Street, “My body is very attracted to your body, but when you speak my brain gets angry.” Seriously, this should be on a T-shirt.
Confusing matters, however, is Graham’s sudden heroic gesture, jumping onto the subway tracks, right in front of an arriving train, to rescue Mindy’s cell phone. Now she’s committed to seeing this thing through.
She’s also determined to bring Danny down with her. Trying to prove even more than she has already, she challenges him to a double date: “You could invite that boring girl. (That’s the hummus-loving Miley Cyrus imitator to you.) He does, and we learn that she is definitely more boring than Graham when she tells us her mom collects cow stuff, while Graham reveals that he once saw a pregnant mermaid. “At first I thought I was hallucinating because I was dehydrated from semen depletion,” he explains matter-of-factly. I realize I love the sound of the phrase “semen depletion.”
If the arrival of Caleb Nichol and Charles Widmore didn’t validate our secondary characters’ existence this week, Jeremy and Peter’s seminar for expecting couples did, thanks mainly to Peter’s breakdown of “Braxton Hicks,” which not only referenced Toni Braxton but included a brief imitation of American Idol’s graying, unlikely fifth-season champion, Taylor Hicks. I did also appreciate Peter’s later line to Jeremy: “Chappelle, what’s with the meltdown?” So many wonderfully random pop-cultural references, so little time.
Back at our double date, however, things are going even more awry: Danny and Graham are clearly not loving each other, and Graham is horrifying Mindy by suggesting a dine and dash. Mindy and Danny resist at first, while Miley Cyrus is totally in (no surprise) and the four of them run off together … until Mindy gets stuck on a fence the other three managed to scale (Danny, only barely). There, Mindy’s inevitable breakup with Graham comes: “I’m a woman of science, but you are a man of non-sci … nonsense.” Truth. Extra points for her Winnie the Pooh–inspired coda: “Oh, bother.”
Graham and Vanessa Bayer didn’t run off together as I’d expected, à la When Harry Met Sally’s disastrous double date, but Mindy and Danny did end up together at the restaurant, having both returned to pay. It’s no climactic New Year’s Eve reunion, but it’s a start.