bad dates

19 Mindy Project Dates, Rated on a Disaster Scale

THE MINDY PROJECT: Mindy (Mindy Kaling, R) and Danny (Chris Messina, L) spend time together in the “We’re A Couple Now, Haters” season premiere episode of THE MINDY PROJECT airing Tuesday, Sept. 16 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Isabella Vosmikova/FOX Photo: FOX

At the end of last season, Danny-Mindy shippers got their wish when the two declared their love for each other on top of the Empire State Building and sealed it with a make-out session. Does this mean that our heroine won’t be so obsessed with rom-coms this season? Of course not, but it may mean that Mindy won’t be going on anymore awkward dates for the time being. So we at least wanted to remember the journey: all of the men, “from tall and white to short and white,” that she had to date before she found the One. Click through to see them all, rated on a disaster scale.

When: Season 1, “Pilot” The setup: Mindy sees Tom in the hospital and immediately falls for him. They get stuck in the same elevator together, where they both clumsily drop things and her hair comes undone because she’s “basically Sandra Bullock.” Things fall apart when: Tom meets a Serbian girl who sells bagels downstairs at the hospital, fixes her teeth, and then dumps Mindy to marry her. Mindy relays this during a drunken toast at their wedding, where she tells everyone that Tom had left her because he thought she was too old.  Disaster scale: 10. This establishes from the jump that Mindy Lahiri has a penchant for spectacular disasters: She gets drunk, steals a kid’s bike, rides it into a stranger’s backyard pool, drunkenly talks to a “hot mean doll,” and is arrested for disorderly conduct. That’s our girl!
When: Season 1, “Pilot” The setup: Her blonde best friend Gwen (remember how she had girlfriends?) sets Mindy up with one of her rich, eligible-bachelor friends. Things fall apart when: Mindy has to cut the date short because of a delivery and then waffles on whether she’s the kind of girl who would let him come over later that night or not.  Disaster scale: 2. Mindy comports herself pretty well here, and she is mostly stymied by circumstance. Although that totally changes when she tries to seduce him (while he has another Indian girlfriend) during Thanksgiving at Gwen’s house.
When: Season 1, “Hiring and Firing” The setup: Mindy’s browsing for men at the bookstore when she sees Matt and suggests they buy books together so that she can get the free Shakespeare tote bag (even though she hates Shakespeare). Things fall apart when: She gets three different kinds of frozen yogurt … and then a pretzel.  Disaster scale: 0. Who doesn’t want to meet someone who reads? We don’t actually know how their proposed dinner-date went because Matt the architect never comes back.
When: Season 1, “In the Club” The setup: Mindy goes out to the club with her co-workers when Josh spots her. He invites her over to the VIP area, where he’s hanging out with his pro-baskbetball clients like Amar’e Stoudemire. Later he tries to make her dinner on Panini presses! Things fall apart when: Mindy discovers he’s a philandering liar who has another girlfriend who then crashes her Christmas party. Disaster scale: 4. We’re splitting the difference here between the dates and the relationship itself.
When: Season 1, “Bunk Bed” The setup: A horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, which is like an Edith Wharton novel or, rather, an HBO adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel starring Kate Winslet. Things fall apart when: As they’re kissing, the horse collapses during the ride, and then, inexplicably, a cop arrives and shoots old Peanut Butter right there on the street. This is a turn-off. Disaster scale: 9. Maybe this was the episode that made Bill de Blasio get rid of horse-drawn carriages in New York?
When: Season 1, “Hooking Up Is Hard” The setup: The Deslaurier brothers work in the same building at the Downtown Holistic Health Center are taking patients away from Schulman and Associates. Mindy hates Brendan, the alpha brother, but thinks he’s hot and therefore a perfect candidate for some casual sex. Things fall apart when: She’s attacked by his shower, undresses him unsexily, knocks out his contact lens, and is then interrupted by Morgan and Duncan hanging out. Later on, she sees Brendan on a date with a Cambodian refugee and is miffed that he’s seeing other people.  Disaster scale: 8. Let’s go fill our bodies with high-fructose corn syrup and forget about this one.
When: Season 1, “Harry & Sally” / “Harry & Mindy” The setup: They meet at a house party where she’s confused by his flirting because it seems like he is in a relationship with Lucy, who, it turns out, is just his “best friend.” Things fall apart when: On their date, Lucy sends over a bottle of wine, and then Jamie calls her to thank her and they just talk on the phone so Mindy leaves the date. In the next episode, they go on a double date with Danny and Lucy for Valentine’s Day. She and Jamie go to the Empire State Building, where she helps Jamie realize that he’s been in love with Lucy this entire time.  Disaster scale: 5. Proving the adage that men and women can’t just be friends.
When: Season 1, “The One That Got Away” The setup: The star-crossed lovers first met when they were 13 years old at Camp Takanac, a Jewish summer camp. They reconnect after he likes a photo of a hot dog she put on Facebook, and they spend the weekend together before he has to deploy to Afghanistan. Things fall apart when: He falls out of her window (not quite “defenestrated,” as Mindy says) and then she tries to think of a scheme to keep him Stateside, like putting drugs into his bag. Disaster scale: 3. Hospital visit aside, this was a pretty great date, which, of course, is why it couldn’t last.
When: Season 1, “My Cool Christian Boyfriend” The setup: Mindy’s trying to get off a subway when Casey — the nerve! — blocks her passage with a bunch of boxes. Turns out they are actually strollers being sent to Haiti because he’s a rockstar minister. Things fall apart when: He dumps her after his sermon because he thinks she’s selfish. Of course, this impels Mindy to go volunteer with the rest of the staff at a women’s prison. Disaster scale: 2. Obviously, Casey becomes a major plotline when Mindy moves to Haiti for him during the summer hiatus and they get engaged.
When: Season 1, “Pretty Man” The setup: She’s at a bar alone and he’s eye-sexing her from across the room. She gets some wasabi-pea dust in her eyes, but eventually they go back to her place. Things fall apart when: Mindy predictably freaks out when he asks her, “How much do you want to spend?” after they’ve already undressed. Disaster scale: 7. It seems like pretty bad form for a sex worker not to settle on a price before leaving the bar.
When: Season 2, “Magic Morgan” The setup: After Casey and Mindy break up, Morgan tells Mindy that after women date him, they meet their soul mates. This makes drunk Mindy want to have sex with him: “Come on! Just be my boyfriend for the night!” Things fall apart when: Mindy backs out after Morgan splays out in all his glory on her bed. Then he sues her for sexual harassment, saying he’ll drop it if she goes on a date with him. Disaster scale: 5. We’re splitting the difference between watching the two of them tussling over having sex (Morgan traps Mindy with a pizza box to deflect her) and their actual first “date,” when he takes her to the quarry.
When: Season 2, “Wiener Night” The setup: He’s the super cultured arts-and-culture writer who works for the fictional version of The Village Voice. They meet on the plane and he finally asks her out, even though she really had to pee. Things fall apart when: He’s a snob, and our girl is unabashedly lowbrow. When she invites him up, he says he’s surprised because they have nothing in common. Disaster scale: 2. He’s rude, but not terrible.
When: Season 2, “Sk8er Man” The setup: He runs into Mindy and makes her drop her morning pastry. But he does some impressive tricks and tells her that’s how good he is in bed. Things fall apart when: They go on a double date with Danny and the hummus-loving Mary (Vanessa Bayer), where they decide to dine and dash. Mindy gets stuck on the fence and tells him it’s not going to work out. Then Danny and Mindy go back to the restaurant to pay. Disaster scale: 6. Doing something illegal and then shamefully going back to correct it is less than sexy.
When: Season 2, “Christmas Party Sex Trap” The setup: Mindy decides to throw a sexy Christmas office party and invite everyone in the building so that she can seduce Chris with a rendition of “Santa Baby.” Things fall apart when: They’re having a dry Christmas party to support Adam Pally’s character sobering up, but that doesn’t stop Mindy from wearing a bra filled with wine. Anyway, Maria Menounos steals her “Santa Baby” thunder when Mindy thinks she lost her shot with Cliff. Disaster scale: 4. The whole affair is mildly embarrassing, but all’s well that ends well: Mindy gets to make out with the hot lawyer on the balcony in the snow.
When: Season 2, “The Desert” / “French Me, You Idiot” The setup: Well, the whole show up until this point has been a setup, right? In this specific moment, though, they’re flying back to New York and Danny has just Cyrano de Bergerac–ed a love letter to Cliff asking him to take Mindy back, which just makes him realize that he’s in love with her. Things fall apart when: They try to have airplane bathroom sex, which results in Danny flushing Mindy’s hair down the toilet. Disaster scale: 3. What’s some blue antiseptic toilet cleaner when you’re with the love of your life?
When: Season 2, “Think Like a Peter” The setup: Sweet, clueless Betsy from the office sets Mindy up with a super clingy and completely boring date. Things fall apart when: As she gets up, he asks her, “Getting a refill on sexy?” No. Just no. Disaster scale: 6. We all know that boring is the greatest sin of all.
When: Season 2, “Think Like a Peter” The setup: Taking advice from man-child Peter, Mindy hits on Lee at a bar. Things fall apart when: Lee leaves his scarf at his place, making Mindy think that their one-night stand was a sign of something more. Then she accosts him at his school and learns that he’s actually married. Disaster scale: 5. Mindy, don’t talk about such adult things in front of children!  
When: Season 2, “An Officer and a Gynecologist”/ “Girl Next Door” The setup: Mindy prescribed his daughter Jenny birth control, she accosts him on the street, and he gives her a ticket for “public female hysteria.” All of this is just foreplay before they go on a date. Things fall apart when: Mindy invites him over for dinner from “jars she opened herself” and learns how to use her fire extinguisher. Then he cooks for her, only to have Danny crash it because he’s super jealous. Disaster scale: 0. The courtship was solid. We wouldn’t say no to him. 
When: Season 2, “Danny and Mindy” The setup: He was reading Salinger and eye-banging her on the subway. He puts a Missed Connection in the paper and leaves his email address. This is really Danny just Catfishing her to make the Grand Gesture on the top of the Empire State Building. Awkward downturn: He doesn’t show up and leaves Mindy there in the freezing rain. She finds out the whole thing was a charade when she sees the subway guy again and attacks him. Disaster scale: 4. To meet again on the top of the Empire State Building, Danny runs to meet her à la Harry in When Harry Met Sally and gets hit by a car. But he makes it there because they’re meant to be. 
19 Mindy Project Dates, Rated by Disaster