The Mindy Project
Broadcast television’s first anal-sex plotline on a sitcom? I think so.
This was great for so many reasons: It erased all worry that The Mindy Project might run out of relationship story lines now that Danny and Mindy are together. (Once you put anal sex on the table, it really opens up a lot of other … jeez, there’s nothing I can say that doesn’t sound like dirty punning here.) It proved there is still uncharted territory to mine in broadcast TV, and it demonstrated how fun it is when a show has to tiptoe around a delicate issue a bit. (Some of my favorite sitcom episodes in history are the ones that have been forced to imply instead of say: the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode in which Mary stayed out on a date overnight but refused to tell anyone what happened; the “Master of My Domain” episode of Seinfeld.) And it resulted in some particularly great lines (anal sex as the Benghazi of relationship issues).
We begin with the basic premise that Danny and Mindy are perhaps a little too comfortable with one another. He delivers her nose-hair trimmer to her in the bathroom, and she casually tells him, “I’ll be out in 20.” Because of their long friendship, the mystery is already gone after a few months of dating! So Danny goes where, apparently, no man has gone before when they’re having sex, and when Mindy freaks out, he offers a weak explanation: “I slipped.”
The resulting episode-long argument is relationship negotiation at its best. There are jokes and jibes, of course. (“My office only has one entrance, and I don’t think that’s enough for you anymore.”) There’s even an extraneous trip to poor ophthalmologist Dr. Colin, who missed his son Caleb’s second birthday party just because both Danny and Mindy wanted to prove a point — Danny’s claiming not to have been able to see properly, and Mindy (rightly) doesn’t believe him.
Then we get closer to the real issues at hand: Danny thinks Mindy is maybe more experienced than she really is (she has had a lot of boyfriends, but what else was she supposed to do as the star of a romantic sitcom?). And Mindy thinks she needs to be more exciting in bed. The discussion between the two of them in Dr. Caleb’s office is epic Mindy dialogue at its best.
Mindy, on Danny’s assumption that she’d “done it before”: “Is that what you think of me? That I’m just some gorgeous, high-class prostitute?”
Mindy, on what he’s seen on her cable bill: “That is anime pornography. It is a victimless crime. The only victims are the animators. They pay them next to nothing in Korea.”
Mindy, leaving in a huff: “I will not be slut-shamed in an ophthalmologist’s office!”
She then consults her trusty band of dude friends/co-workers on this issue, and I must say that they seem so much more useful in this capacity than they ever did before, when Mindy was dating around and the show was struggling to find its footing. It’s like Mindy is now the show it’s always been meant to be — Danny and Mindy are, practically speaking, for television-production purposes, meant to be!
Speaking of the trusty band of dudes, the show milked the Peter/Jeremy conflict over Dr. Lauren for another week, and it worked well enough to get by. At least now Jeremy seems to have his own Mindy-worthy personality quirks. (Loved the plaintive banjo version of “The Sound of Silence.” He’s also written a poem called “Master and Apprentice.”) And Peter’s burned-off eyebrows are certainly enough to get us through another B plot.
But Peter’s real shining moment this week is Peter Prentiss’s Booty Camp, which I kind of want to go to. (I’m not the only one, am I?) This allows him to do a lot of dirty things with a skeleton, and a few so-not-dirty-they’re-dirty things as well. It doesn’t seem to solve the basic problem, though, as none of these crazy positions appeal to Mindy any more than Danny’s original “proposal.”
So she gets some sedatives for herself and decides to give him what he wants. She dresses in a very cute satin bedroom outfit, chokes down some Scotch, and suggests they listen to some blues. “It’s good!” she nearly gags. “I like it better than Taylor Swift!” Then she roofies herself and ends up in the hospital, questioned by an overzealous detective.
And we get our relationship lesson for the week as she and Danny finally hash it out for real. He was just “trying” something. He was excited because the Giants won and he got to use his pizza stone. “America was built on trying things,” he says. “In America, you just go for it.” But neither of them, it turns out, have ever tried this particular thing before, so they’ll have to explore together. Next time, he’ll ask first.
Afterwards, there’s a whipped-cream thing that doesn’t go so well, but hopefully, they’ll keep trying.