Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The second season of The Mindy Project aired yesterday, and the long, boring summer without Mindy, Danny and Morgan has ended. Of course, if you’re anything like me, you not only watched the premiere on TV last night, you also watched it a week before On Demand, and again three days ago on fox.com. What? Don’t look at me like that. I’ve been suffering without new episodes of this show.
Last night’s episode was sturdy and more than acceptable. It wasn’t the funniest episode I’ve ever seen (that title remains reserved for “Danny Castellano is My Gynecologist”), but it did get some good laughs in. It did what a premiere was supposed to do; it set us up for the rest of the season. Most importantly, it resolved the question of how the show can continue, if the lead actress has moved away from the practice and to a third-world nation.
The episode opens with Mindy and Casey living happily in Haiti. Mindy seems to be doing well, and she proudly tells Danny that she doesn’t miss New York, not even a little bit. (Who believes her? Not me.) Surprise — Casey proposes to Mindy, which he does as romantically as he possibly can, which is to say, not romantically at all.
After she gets her instinctual reactions out of the way (“I want to Vine this!”), Mindy says yes to Casey, and they promptly fall out of the tree they’re sitting in. Not wasting any time, Mindy and Casey head back to their tent to make passionate love for their first time as an engaged couple, but in what is probably the worst timing ever, Mindy passes out due to stomach pain. The first thing she sees when she opens her eyes is Morgan, who is really, really happy, maybe a bit too happy, to see her conscious. (“I’ve been Snow Whiting you for the past hour.”) She’s been airlifted to New York, so that she can have her gallbladder removed.
We find out that life hasn’t been perfect for Danny and Christina, played by guest star Chloe Sevigny. At the moment, they are trying to solve one serious problem, with the help of sex therapist Dr. Paul Leotard, played by guest star James Franco. Unfortunately for Danny, Dr. Leotard singles him out as the faulty figure in this relationship — when asked to fill out an erotic journal, all Danny can muster up is an angry rant about airport security.
Dr. Reed is visiting Mindy, and something about him has… changed. He’s got some chub, a little more to love, around his midsection. It’s the stress of running the practice without Mindy that has him gaining weight, you see. During his A-Levels, Jeremy was approximately “the size of a small ski chalet.”
Back at the practice, Danny freaks out when Tamara (who we better see more of, this season!) tells him Mindy is back, and that she’s sick. Danny runs to the hospital, sweat pouring out of his armpits, so that he can get to be beside Mindy in her time of need. He bursts into her hospital room with all the finesse of a raging buffalo, insisting that she explain exactly what happened. (“Did you get drunk and try to sass a voodoo priestess?”) Mindy realizes how concerned Danny was on her behalf, and she’s touched.
Casey comes back with some American goodies — treats that are unavailable in Haiti (prescription dandruff shampoo!) — and he insists that Mindy tell Morgan and Danny the good news. Mindy proudly announces that she lost three pounds of water weight due to diarrhea, and then realizes that her fiancé was probably talking about the other good news. She shows off her rock, and Danny tries really hard to look happy. He fails.
Maybe it’s Danny’s one-sided, completely obvious crush on Mindy that’s keeping him from sleeping with Christina, maybe he’s got something else going on. Either way, the inspirational CD that Dr. Leotard gave the couple doesn’t seem to be working. Danny balks when Dr. Leotard’s soothing voice tells him to stroke his partner’s earlobe. (“It’s the clitoris of the head!”) Alas, yet another failed love-making session.
Meanwhile, Casey and Mindy are trying to figure out how to throw the perfect wedding. Mindy says that she’ll have to fly in all her family from India. (Casey can’t wait for them to meet his racist family from Pasadena.) This wedding, they realize, is going to be very, very pricey. Should they get married while they’re in New York, before they go back to Haiti? Mindy, who is still excited about discovering her adventurous side, readily agrees.
Mindy decides to go visit the practice, and amidst saying hello to old faces, she runs into a new one. She’s a little bit bowled over by Dr. Leotard (honestly, who doesn’t feel dizzy around James Franco?), and delcares that he is “crazy bangable hot,” and should probably be a model. In fact, funny story, Paul actually was a model, until he fell off the catwalk and had a quasi-mystical experience involving a pregnant woman. From that day forward, he knew he wanted to help babies down “the original runway,” the human birth canal.
We find out more about Danny’s sex life than we ever needed to know when Christina barges into the office, holding Danny’s computer and reading his web history out loud. Apparently, Danny has kind of a thing for Rita Moreno, topless. Christina is not happy that Danny is using pornography while at the same time refusing to have sex with her. She leaves him, but not before snapping his laptop in half, leaving Danny absolutely flabbergasted.
Later that night, Mindy’s having second thoughts about her shotgun wedding. She climbs onto her balcony to get a little bit of air, and she’s soon greeted by Danny, who reveals that he’s decided to let Christina go her own separate way. Mindy confesses that she doesn’t want to go back to Haiti (I called that from the beginning!), and that she wants to stay in New York. She wonders how she’ll be able to tell Casey.
It turns out that Mindy won’t have to tell Casey anything — after realizing that a quick wedding is not what either of them want, Casey and Mindy decide to postpone their nuptials. In order to pay for the wedding, Casey suggests that Mindy stay in New York for the next six months, so she can earn enough for the celebration they want to have. Mindy ultimately gets everything she wants without having to lie to or manipulate anyone. How often does that happen for her? Almost never! Score!
The episode ends with Mindy saying goodbye to her fiancé at the airport, sending Casey back to Haiti and Anders Holms back to the set of Workaholics. When she gets back to the practice, she runs into Dr. Leotard, and soon realizes she’ll be fighting it out with him over her old job.
Next episode, Mindy and Dr. Leotard compete to see who will stay at the practice. Spoiler alert: Mindy wins. Hey, her name is in the title. Not a fair fight.
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.