Last Night's Episode Of 'The Mindy Project' Is Why I Refuse To Ever Give Up On This Show
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Last Night's Episode Of 'The Mindy Project' Is Why I Refuse To Ever Give Up On This Show

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | January 8, 2014 | Comments ()


The Mindy Project has been one of the hardest shows for me to love. I’m constantly singing its praises while quietly slinking off into a corner when it delivers an uneven episode. And it delivers a lot of uneven episodes. I was wondering to myself, over the break, why I’m still trying to make this fetch happen. Why defend something that’s so rocky? Because of episodes like last night’s “Danny Castellano Is My Personal Trainer,” that’s why. The show delivered everything I want from Mindy Kaling. It was fun, it was fresh and it said something true about womankind in the way we wish the best rom-coms would. (Bridesmaids is the only thing to have come close in years.)

It’s uncanny timing that this episode (a perfect counterpart to the other highlight episode of the season, “Wiener Night”) should come hot on the heels of the short-lived “controversy” surrounding Elle’s recent cover shoot featuring Kaling. Many people (myself included) extrapolated from the close-up shot of Kaling (versus the full body shots of the other, thinner women) that Elle was somehow making a statement about the “rightness” or “acceptableness” of Kaling’s body. Here’s the photo:


And Kaling’s perfect “controversy” busting response.

So, fine, my bad. But here’s the kicker. Last night’s episode was one of the most delightfully realistic depictions of women, body insecurities and (gents, take note) the ideal response from the other side of the gender aisle. It also demonstrated how far the show has come. Let’s compare the nastiness of early season one to what we saw last night. (Also Danny’s complete lack of awareness as to how he helped create Mindy’s problems.)


Maybe the ideal rom-com ending isn’t flowers and a dramatic fire escape gesture. Maybe it’s someone yelling at you about Michael Fassbender’s penis and then telling you you’re perfect just as you are. Messina and Kaling have been killing it in the will they/won’t they department all year and this tightly paced episode benefited from a B-plot that incorporated all the second string cast members. That means we never get too much Morgan or Tamra or Prentice. Just the right amount.

But mostly we have to give it up for naked, steamy Mindy and Dr. C. and all the physical comedy we could ask for. Here are some highlights:

That Children’s Story Joke

Serious Suggestions Only Please

Because Fassbender Penis Jokes Are Still Relevant Today


Puppy Dog Eyes

If You Pee Outside In -17 Degree Weather, Will It Freeze and Go Up Inside Your Body? | Nooooo! 'Justified' Will Almost Certainly End After Next Season

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • kirbyjay

    New Girl should be revamped...
    Winston and Ferguson
    Ferguson and Winston
    For a character that underwhelmed me so much in the first season, I've grown to love Winston's particular brand of zaniness and I fear that Coach will filch even more of his storylines

  • MGMcD

    My first thought about the Elle cover was that she looked AMAZING, and if she herself isn't upset about it, let's not foist our own white privilege/liberal guilt on her. *

    And this show took a while to find its footing (I remember being sorely bummed when the first half of the first season failed to live up to how great I wanted it to be), but it has become one I look forward to seeing every week. The Danny/Mindy dynamic is a perfect little romcom situation that pays homage to classics without being too derivative or cliche, and her cast of supporting characters is finding the right balance of fleshing out without becoming "too much." (I agree that they've managed to tone down Adam Pally recently and it's worked well.)

    New Girl had the same problem but also became a favorite (though its not quite as good as it has been recently). Even with the missteps, Im glad we have two honest, female centric and genuinely funny shows with a real audience following and a chance to evolve.

    *ETA that I am a white liberal, didn't mean that to sound antagonistic, I just feel like taking offense on behalf of a less privileged person is in itself futile, and kind of defeats its own purpose.

  • Classic

    I grudgingly have to admit Adam Pallys character actually made me laugh this episode. When he went to get Tamra from getting her eyebrows done and threatened to burn the whole place down if she charged it to Shulman and Associates I died.

  • dizzylucy

    This was a very hilarious episode. That moment so perfectly captured in the header photo had me dying, and I loved when Danny discovered using her interests to motivate her. I could use that myself.
    Side note, I think her magazine cover photo is beautiful, regardless of any controversy behind it. And her response to it was perfect.

  • Messina is so adorable, I can't even stand it.

  • Leelee

    I had a proper, full on, belly-laugh at the steam room scene.
    I also like the minimal use of the supporting cast in this one - Morgan gets on my nerves in doses of anything more than five minutes per episode, so just a few one-liners from him is perfect for me.

  • Whistler

    I'm going to sound like a grumpypants (and I swear I am not) but if these were the episode's highlights, I can't even imagine how terrible's the rest! Better than Agents of SHIELD for sure...

  • Classic

    I love this show. I thought the first few episodes introducing whatshisface sucked but Skater Man, You've Got Sext, and Christmas Party Sex Trap rocked. All of those episodes had Mindy and Danny interacting with each other and I loved it.

    New Girl has not made me laugh once this season...

  • Kelly

    Compared to the mess that it was in the beginning, TMP has really, really grown on me. Chris Messina is one of the greatest things to ever happen to a television show, no lie. His chemistry with Mindy Kaling is so much part of the appeal of this show. I also really like that you can sometimes see when they are about to break character and laugh. It's weird, because that bugs me when it happens on SNL, but here - it just seems a bit more natural to me. I dig it.

  • Tinkerville

    "All I was going to say is don't suck in your stomach so much. It makes you look nervous and frankly, a little constipated. You're a woman and that's good, look like a woman."

    I melted into a puddle.

  • amylu

    I don't watch Mindy regularly but always feel compelled to give it a shot based on the glowing blogger reviews. Every time I see headlines like this, I watch the episode and am completely underwhelmed. We'll see if you're right about this one...

  • amylu

    So you were right, @Joanna Robinson. As a girl who wears a skirted swimsuit (they're cute!), that was the funniest, most watchable Mindy Projects I've seen yet.

  • Art3mis

    I thought this episode was a little weaker than the two truly excellent ones right before the break, but still pretty great. But you missed my favorite line of the night! After Danny starts giving her celebrity-scenarios to motivate her excercising (something Kaling says she uses in real life), Mindy gave up on pushups with this line: “Danny, I can’t do this anymore. I’m just going to get on Scott Peterson’s boat.” And I DIED laughing.

  • Melina

    I don't watch the Mindy Project but reading that line just made me die. I think it's going to be my new go to line.

  • dizzylucy

    I think that was my favorite one too.

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