Bad news first, kids.
The Mindy Project‘s ratings aren’t doing too well. They’re at the bottom of the Fox comedy heap, right along there with the infantile and puerile Dads, another sitcom that’s sure to be cancelled. Because of its veteran status, TV By The Numbers is labeling it a “toss up” — but it doesn’t look good for our favorite television rom-com.
The most immediate result of a Mindy cancellation would mean that we, the loyal viewers, wouldn’t be able to see a Mindy/Danny romance play out the way it’s supposed to. The writers might forgo the romance entirely, or they might decide to speed it up and give us a quickie fling, to give us the ending we all want. Both options are unacceptable, to the dedicated Manny (Dindy?) shipper. So for all our sakes, this show had better be renewed, stat.
Of course, even the most hardcore Mindy fan is going to be hard pressed to find other reasons for its renewal, given how lackluster this season has been. I’m struck by just how many marks The Mindy Project has been missing, compared to Fox’s other, more successful (and vastly funnier) sitcom, New Girl. Still, Mindy stalwarts have a mostly excellent first season to rely on, when searching for hope. The potential for brilliance exists, in this show. It has some of the funniest one-liners I’ve ever heard, some truly hilarious side characters (okay, maybe just one: Morgan), and two of the most engaging romantic leads on television. They just need to find their footing again, and things will be okay.
This episode was a slight improvement over last week’s disastrous “Bro Club for Dudes“. It was mostly saved by the guest star of the week — the incredibly handsome, extraordinarily good-looking Timothy Olyphant. Looking at Mr. Olyphant is not unlike looking directly into the sun.
See what I mean? Those eyes, with that body, and the hair that’s turning grey in the hottest way possible… who am I kidding, this episode could have just been a montage of Olyphant doing things half-naked, and I would be 100 percent on-board.
Olyphant plays a professional skater man-child who Mindy briefly decides to go out with, to prove to everyone (mostly Danny) that she’s not as picky as everyone thinks she is, when it comes to men. Graham is a real salt-of-the-earth kind of guy — he’s got the scars to prove it. (“This one is from when I got super loaded and fell off the podium at the medal ceremony.”) He’s been through a lot — he’s been clean since 1990 (“except for the weekends”) and he started his own skateboarding company, named Pregnant Mermaid, after a pregnant mermaid he once saw on the beach who spoke to him in Balinese.
He is, to put it simply, a complete idiot. A sexy idiot, but still: hitting that requires deep soul-searching. Is Mindy really willing to go this low simply to prove a point? She wants so bad to make it work with Graham, he’s just so damn bangable, but she doesn’t know if she can handle the dumb. (“My body is very attracted to your body, but when you speak, my brain gets angry.”)
I say: who the hell cares what he says when he looks like this shirtless:
Mindy takes a leap of faith when Graham selflessly jumps onto the subway tracks to save Mindy’s phone (“it has all my selfies!”) and decides, despite her better judgment, to kiss him.
However, it doesn’t work out. The dumb wins out, and Mindy dumps him after an awkward double date with Danny.
What I liked about the episode:
I enjoyed the performance of Vanessa Bayer (of SNL fame) as Mary, Danny’s incredibly boring date. It takes skill to be that aggressively non-engaging, and be funny at the same time. She perfectly captured every boring person that we’ve ever been unlucky enough to be caught in a conversation with. Kudos to her.
What I didn’t like about the episode:
1. The B-plot to this episode was so bad it actually made me angry. I’m angry that the writers are continuing with this new characterization of Dr. Reed as a sad-sack fat man who eats his feelings and worries about using up his “splurge points” on his diet. This week, we found out that Jeremy has a horrible relationship with his father, who thinks that he’s not manly enough. The elder Mr. Reed comes to visit the practice, and hits it off with Peter, to the chagrin of Jeremy, who feels intimidated by their frat boy-esque camaraderie.
Do you remember what Jeremy used to be? How great his character was? The Englishman who slept with everything he saw, the flake who had no idea what he was doing in a doctor’s office, the idiot who had a hilarious streak of self-loathing that made everything he did simultaneously hilarious and incredibly sad? They’ve jacked up the depressing loser aspect of Dr. Reed’s personality so much that it has crowded out how cool Jeremy used to be, or how cool Jeremy used to think he was. That’s where the comedy in this character lies, his incredible self-delusion. There’s nothing engaging about watching a man hate himself for twenty minutes each week.
2. Who is this?
Did they think they could add someone new and that we wouldn’t notice?
Also, where was Tamara this week?
See you next week, folks.
Jaya Sundaresh lives in Hartford, Connecticut. She grew up in various parts of the Northeast before deciding to study political science at McGill University. Follow her on Twitter at@anedumacation and read her thoughts on her personal blog.