Mindy’s back, in all her awkward glory, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s been a long, tedious few weeks without new episodes of The Mindy Project, though we’ve had the glorious memory of Danny Castellano’s dance moves to sustain us through the holidays. Still, watching new Mindy is infinitely better than rewatching “Christmas Party Sex Trap” for the fiftieth time (shut up, it was a good episode), and it’s especially gratifying that this episode was so good.
But first! Before I get started with this week’s recap, it is my solemn duty to remind you all that The Mindy Project is going on extended hiatus this spring. This means that our favorite show is in danger, folks. The next few episodes are crucial for ratings — if it doesn’t do well, TMP is in real danger of cancellation. So tell your friends to watch Mindy do her thing. Organize a Mindy party, play all the best episodes that have the most Mindy/Danny tension. It’s simply unacceptable for this show not to have the kind of large fanbase it deserves.
This episode hit it out of the park. I’m not just saying that because there was more Danny than usual in this episode — it was genuinely, truly funny. More than that, it was touching, and Mindy Kaling managed to deliver a stunning performance. We open where we left off, with Mindy and Cliff (played by the hilarious Glenn Howerton) making out on the balcony during the Christmas party. While we were stuck in hiatus hell, Mindy and Cliff have been getting down and dirty, making love on satin sheets (that they keep slipping off of) and going through each other’s medicine cabinets (“You’re on Prozac? I knew you were crazy!”).
Trouble arises when Cliff suggests that they go on a ski trip. You know, skiing. Making out on the ski lift. Drinks by the fire. Canoodling in the hot tub.
The hot tub means bikini. Bikini means mostly naked. Mostly naked means Cliff will see Mindy naked. Sure, they’ve had sex. But Mindy has always been clever enough to have sex while mostly clothed. She’s never let a guy see her naked before. The thing is, Mindy isn’t too confident about her body. She eats a little too much, and doesn’t like exercising all that much. She’s like us (except most of us don’t get to do Elle covers).
Mindy resolves to turn a new leaf, and she hires Morgan as her personal trainer, after he quotes his price: ten dollars. (“I’ll pay you later,” says Morgan.) After he spits on her face in an ill-conceived effort to motivate her into working harder, Mindy fires his ass and tries to hire the only other person in the office who seems to have his physical health together — Danny.
Danny says no.
It’s not surprising. Mindy’s approach to exercise is lax, and Danny is pretty intense about his fitness regime. He’s got a great bod, and knows it. Mindy pleads with him, and Danny eventually accepts, on one condition: that she do everything he tells her to do, without complaint. (“Your life is going to be miserable, like a marine movie where the guy kills himself during basic!” he tells her.) Mindy reluctantly agrees.
Danny takes her to his old-school gym, and Mindy is puzzled by the lack of work-out friendly equipment. No ellipticals, no TVs with Bravo on them… how is she going to get fit in this place?
Danny tells Mindy to change into her workout clothes (“You’re looking at them! These are performance rhinestones. They won’t flake off if you sweat!”) and they get started. Cue 80s style montage. Working out with Danny is predictably grueling, but Mindy gets better and better as time goes on. There’s an adorable scene where Danny pushes Mindy through a particularly harsh push-up, and I felt genuinely happy for her when she manages to do it. (And without bent knees, too!)
To relax, Mindy decides to steam in the sauna for a while. She, as one might predict, decides to do this naked. The only problem? It’s a co-ed steam room. And Danny happened to have the same bright idea as Mindy. In the rush to get the hell away from naked Danny, Mindy bumps into him, and happens to get her hair stuck in his watch.
Later, she slips and falls and this happens:
Well, we asked for more Mindy and Danny. The show certainly did deliver.
The last scene in the episode is what really tied this one together for me. Mindy is irritated at Danny, who keeps trying to tell Mindy something about her body. She thinks he’s just going to tell her to lose fifteen pounds, or get a boob job, or get blue contacts. Instead, he tells her to stop sucking in her tummy so much. “You’re a woman, and that’s good. Look like a woman.”
Yeah, I was tearing up too. You can admit it.
Things I liked about this episode:
1. Normally I’d frown upon the writers using scantily clad women as voiceless objects in order to drive a point home about a male character. But in this case? I’ll let it slide. Jeremy’s back, baby. He finally talked about the ridiculous turn his characterization took, complaining about how he went from being a self-described “lothario”, to being the overweight joke of the practice. Well, he’s back to being the lothario again. Look, I was never too thrilled with Jeremy’s character to begin with. But I infinitely prefer a sharp, smooth, slightly sexist Jeremy to a sad sack loser who couldn’t keep from stuffing his face.
2. The return of Fatsteps!!
3. Tamara’s brief scene where she a) talks about Sleepy Hollow (which everyone should be watching, it’s really great!) and b) is shown getting her eyebrows threaded. America, listen. Waxing is great and all, but threading, threading is where it’s really at. Get your butt down to your closest Indian salon and get your eyebrows done. You won’t regret it.
Things I didn’t like about this episode:
The b-plot wasn’t bad, and I especially liked the fact that Tamara managed to squeeze in some funny lines, but it didn’t really engage me. The rest of the episode was so good — it would have been nice if this part had also excelled.
See you next week, folks!
Jaya Sundaresh lives in Chandigarh, India. 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.