Friday, November 23, 2012

Mindy Project: Thanksgiving Episode Review

I generally don’t care too heavily for the standard romcom but for two weeks in a row, The Mindy Project has gotten me to feel Mindy’s pains of a woeful love life. Last week, there was the painful realization that Mindy’s biological clock was running out. This might not have been so emotionally painful if not for the way it all played out: A screwball comedy scenario of Mindy getting an intimate interview from Dr. Castellano segued rather suddenly into a poignant third act in which Mindy was bedridden with depression.

This week, I found the same effectiveness in making Mindy’s rather typical problems carry that extra sting. In this episode, Mindy goes to Gwen’s Thanksgiving Party in somewhat of a mopey mood because her sports agent boyfriend (yes, that sleazy guy from the night club) doesn’t want to be exclusive with her. Her mood temporarily brightens when she bumps into an old flame only to find out that he’s with someone else. 

Mindy’s dilemma of suddenly becoming emotionally unpredictable upon hearing the news that an ex (Ed Helms) is with someone new is fairly universal and increasingly more prevalent with the advent of facebook. In fact, the inability of facebook to make the news of my exes disappear is my number one complaint with the medium. It is also why I found myself really rooting for Mindy to snag back the man that got away. After all, I think it’s fairly well established that Mindy’s current boyfriend really isn’t a keeper. It is interesting in its own way to have Mindy try to better herself by dating a sleazy sports agent she doesn’t have a future with but it’s not particularly meaningful. This is why I’m particularly pleased that the Josh-Mindy scenes are taking up only two or three minutes an episode.

This is an also an episode of pairings. Morgan comes along as Mindy’s plus one to Gwen’s Thanksgiving party. This might not make very much sense, but it’s a good way to get some inter-group chemistry going by isolating these two. It also helps that Ike Barinholtz is making Morgan fun in every scene he’s in. It’s been a while since Barinholtz left Mad TV and it’s a good thing he’s finally finding a meaty comic role to sink his teeth into.

The B-story was fairly lackluster but it sported another good pairing. Betsy goes home to a family that treats her like a kid and there’s unresolved tension. Nothing particularly grandiose comedically here but I do like the Betsy-Jeremy pairing. Because the show is seen through Mindy’s point of view (I’m referring here to both the showrunner and the character), Jeremy’s primarily defined through his sexuality.

Therefore, a good way to develop Jeremy is to pair him up with a woman who he has no desire to have sex with. I know that with the way characters are always being paired up, it seems premature to rule out Betsy from Jeremy’s menu, but I’m pretty sure Betsy is meant to be too plain and frumpy to appeal to someone like Jeremy or pretty much anyone. So as a result, we don’t get sexy playboy Jeremy but curious foreigner Jeremy and I’m fine with that.

Last but not least, the C-story features Danny paired with no one. Watching Danny enjoy Thanksgiving in solitude tugged at my heartstrings which was pretty much the intended effect. Here’s hoping Danny learns to open himself more..

Random thoughts:
-Am I only the one who feels like they tried to plug a dinner party scenario into a Thanksgiving episode? There was little talk of turkey or football, Morgan would have likely had his own plans, and why would Mindy feel the need to go with a date? 
-Mindy and Gwen have low-to-moderate chemistry as friends. When they get into a girlfight, however, it’s a whole another story. That was pretty intense and pretty delightful at that. Anna Camp just earned her place on the show with that scene
-I’m kind of used to thinking of Ed Helms as a bad boyfriend from "The Office" so it was kind of ironic seeing him as a legitimate possibility for Mindy
-Ever notice how characters on TV flirt better than we do in real life? Even with a gun pointed to my head, I don't think I could have come up with as witty responses in conversation as Ed Helms' Dennis in the conversation with Mindy right after he falls down the stairs. Oh yeah, and he just fell down the stairs.

No comments: