The Mindy Project
Well, this is what we’ve all been waiting for, Mindy fans. Yes, Mindy has met yet another dude on the subway whom she wants to date and is sure is The One! I don’t know about you guys, but I found myself thinking, “Oh, no, I’m going to have learn about a whole new guy and what he does for a living and etc., and I’m just getting exhausted by Mindy’s dating life, and what the hell happened to that break from men that she was taking?” I mean, she meets a lot of dudes in New York for never even going on OKCupid.
Thank goodness that wasn’t really the case. We’d soon get what we’ve actually been waiting for, and seemingly for real this time, not like that whole plane kiss-reading Bridget Jones-breakup trauma we went through before. For this season finale, the Mindy crew brought it all: the romance we’ve been craving, plus homages to three whole Meg Ryan rom-com classics crammed into 22 minutes of television. Mindy wore 23 outfits, which means more than one outfit per minute!
Okay, let’s break things down by rom-com, since by outfit would be a bit much:
You’ve Got Missed Connections
Mindy spots a cute guy on the train, reading Salinger and, as her companions Danny and Morgan call it, “eye banging” her. Lo and behold, she checks the “Was It You?” section of … something. A Village Voicey thing maybe? Something in print, perhaps a nod to the quaint days of the ‘90s rom-com heyday. Anyway, it’s basically “Missed Connections,” and, yes, lo and behold, there’s a message from this guy there named Andy looking for the “pretty Indian girl with the voice of a mouse.” After we learn that the prostitute character in Catcher in the Rye was based on Beverly, Mindy rushes to her own office computer to email Andy. She hopes he’s not a serial killer, but, “If you’re a serial killer who only murders serial killers, I’m very interested.”
They start to correspond via adorably witty, yet sincere, emails, just like Meg and Tom in You’ve Got Mail. “Why, oh why, must people throw things at me?” Andy wonders. Mindy is amazed: “Guys,” she says to her coworkers, “I am always saying that!” This is no coincidence, it soon emerges, as Andy is really Danny! Yay! (I was somehow both surprised and satisfied by this development, as if I’d never watched a rom-com in my life.) Morgan feels protective of Mindy, however, and emails “Andy” to tell him so … only to hear the email arrive across the hall in Danny’s office. (Everyone in this episode has suddenly decided to turn their email alerts on and set them to audio cues, the modern-day equivalent of the “You’ve Got Mail!” alert of olden times.) Now Morgan knows that Danny is “Andy.”
Soon that doesn’t matter much, since Danny is soon admitting his feelings about Mindy to both Morgan and Tamra. “I guess it works,” Tamra says of their couplehood. “Y’all are both old like Katie Holmes.” True, but the main point here is: Danny is telling people now. Stuff is getting real.
Sleepless in Manhattan
“Andy” suggests he and Mindy meet … atop the Empire State Building, just like the end of Sleepless in Seattle. Officer Charlie is suddenly relegated to the Bill Pullman character, the guy who isn’t quite right for our heroine. His whole “I like you but whatever” routine here doesn’t quite wash with me after their relationship felt so truly intriguing last week, but I understand we have things to do here. Maybe Mindy and Tim Daly’s chemistry was a little better than expected, but in the end we knew Charlie had to go.
You know what helps a lot? When we see Danny trying to dress himself like Bradley Cooper because he knows Mindy will like it. It also helps when we learn that Danny’s go-to masturbatory material is Julianna Marguiles in The Good Wife. Excellent, classy taste, sir. Alas, Mindy wants to stop by Danny’s place so he can cut some gum out of her hair before she rushes to her date with “Andy.” (This is a plot development that never happened to Meg Ryan.) The stop-over gives her just enough time to talk Danny out of going to meet her atop the Empire State as “Andy,” with one of those “You were so right about how we didn’t belong together” speeches that only happen in movies.
She goes, “Andy” doesn’t show, Mindy gets a cold from being out in the freezing rain. (Writing this now, I truly can’t believe they did this all in so short a time.) Now Danny must tend to her, bringing us back to the You’ve Got Mail homage. (This supports my theory that You’ve Got Mail is actually the perfect rom-com that no others can hope to surpass. When Harry Met Sally gets more love, and it is awesome, but YGM is the peak of the form, which, I believe, is why this episode is more Mail than it is the other two of the Meg Ryan Trinity.) (Ed note: Most of Vulture agrees — see here.) Mindy wants Danny to stay with her on her sick day enough that she offers to talk about Walter Cronkite or watch C-Span. He stays, but says they can watch When Harry Met Sally.
Here we enter the standard “doing fun things” montage, which is mostly like the run-up to the end of You’ve Got Mail, when Tom Hanks learns to truly be friends with Meg Ryan before declaring his eternal love to her, though it’s got hints of When Harry Met Sally, too. “I got to see New York through her eyes,” Danny voice-overs, “and, man, was it white.” We know this is a nod to criticism of Mindy Project, though it could apply just as well to any of the films in question.
Finally, Mindy finds out that “Andy” isn’t Andy when she spots the same guy again on the subway and shoves him a little for standing her up at the Empire State. He has a demonstrable accent: “Why you hit me? I left my country to escape this!”
Danny must admit the truth and declare his love … unfortunately, this happens when he follows Mindy into the bathroom at work, where there are urine-sample cups stacked on the counter. She refuses to meet him at the Empire State that night: “I have plans … to not be the stupidest person in the world.”
The whole staff assembles to persuade her to go. Peter shows her Danny’s box of special keepsakes, which includes a picture of, as Mindy says, “some old, hot guy” (that’s Rudy Giuliani) and a pair of her earrings. When she finally runs to meet Danny, she finds the elevator broken and must walk the 104 flights of stairs to the top. We get “Dancing in the Dark” as our music for this, a nod to Danny’s love of Springsteen, which is sort of cute because it’s like their relationship is becoming a combination of their visions instead of just hers. (Remember, he’s gotten some voiceover time here, too.)
When Danny Met Mindy …
I’ll call Danny’s run for the Empire State the official changeover to Harry/Sally territory — shades of Harry’s run for the New Year’s party — though he also gets hit by a cab, which is like An Affair to Remember, the movie that Sleepless in Seattle paid homage to. (You still with me, deep rom-com fans?) Danny keeps running anyway, and thank God, because we have only 22 minutes. Never mind that, unlike in the ‘90s, anyone at any point here could pull out a cell phone and end the drama with a text. (“Hey … elevator broke. :( Trudging up the stairs, will be an hr or 2 late.” “Got hit by a taxi, but still on way.”)
Finally, finally, we know we must be getting somewhere with The Cars’ always swoony song “Drive,” playing. (We got some more upbeat Cars for a montage when Mindy and Danny first got together. Someone at Mindy loves the ‘80s.) And, yes, at last, they find each other, and they’re making out while lying on the floor of the Empire State observation deck, because Mindy just climbed 104 stairs. Phew.
They’re already into child negotiations (he wants one boy named Anthony Francis, and she wants nine girls, which is a surprise reverse, numbers-wise, since he’s the Catholic), so I’m guessing we’re not going back on this easily next season. Where will we go now? Who knows? We have a whole summer to figure that out. Well, Mindy and her writers do. We’ll probably just watch Louie, read a couple of beach novels, and download some Cars’ greatest hits.