The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Biology…chemistry…urology…

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I think this was the funniest episode of The Mindy Project so far. It featured a strong combination of offbeat writing and good acting to make these characters really fun to watch. The main storyline concerning Mindy’s attempt to hook up with Brendan was well-executed, and the subplot about Danny’s budding romance with Jillian, otherwise known as Eyepatch, occasioned some of the most cleverly written and delivered lines.

Having grown impatient about waiting for the right man to settle down with, Mindy gets advice about having a one-night stand from her former friend-with-benefits, Jeremy. To avoid getting attached, as Jeremy insists Mindy did with him, it’s important to choose someone you’re attracted to but don’t respect and thus can’t see a future with. Naturally, Mindy chooses Draco Malfoy, but settles for the non-fictitious midwife and rival Brenden. Mindy’s attempt to have a casual sexual encounter turns out to be a lot of work, and she botches it at every turn, from her awkward proposition to misinterpreting Brenden’s shirtlessness as a sign that she should start undressing as soon as she walks into his apartment.

A bunch of little moments kept me laughing throughout the episode. Mindy started wearing a creepy mask/hood reminiscent of Scarecrow from the Dark Knight movies while sleeping in the doctors’ lounge, and this elicited appropriately freaked out reactions each time someone saw the hood. When Mindy explained to an alarmed Danny that she was wearing it because she doesn’t want to get murdered, his reaction–“That doesn’t clarify anything!”–was right on. Another recurring joke, Mindy calling Danny’s new love interest Eyepatch while otherwise being friendly to her and even complimenting her beauty, was pushed without breaking when Jeremy met her. Observing that, though her eyepatch gets all the attention, her nose is rather noteworthy, he attempts to hit on her while calling her Miss Patch. Happily for the viewer, Jillian gives as good as she gets, describing with sincere enthusiasm her friend’s cabaret in which episodes of Golden Girls are recast with men and performed in a heatless theater. Additionally, she makes fun of Danny for being old and wanting to eat dinner before the show (at the geriatric hour of 7pm), as well as for having been around during the Berlin Olympics. Could she be replacing Josh as the funniest character on the show? I hope so. At a minimum, Eyepatch and the midwife brothers are great characters who seem to be bringing out the best from the show’s writers and castmates.

Was this episode an important commentary on hook-up culture? To support that position would take, like Mindy’s very attempt to hook-up, a lot of work. So I’ll just say it was really funny.

-ES

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I also found this episode to be right on target – the writing was clever and the lines were perfectly delivered. I wondered after one of the earlier episodes set in a club if I’m just too out of touch with the single young professional life to find elements of this show funny or interesting.¬† But this week we get The Mindy Project take on hook-up culture (which I am extraordinarily far removed from) and I thought the episode was great. Mindy is frustrated with her dating struggles and sees two possible approaches to deal with it: take Jeremy’s advice and find someone you’re attracted to, but don’t respect and don’t see a future with, or take Betsy’s approach and meet up on Saturday night to make their lunches for the week. Of course she runs into Brenden the midwife soon thereafter and decides it’s time for a hook-up. I really enjoyed the cat-and-mouse between them, with Mindy bumbling through her proposition:

Mindy: Just to be 100% clear… when I say hang out… I mean like… do you know what I’m talking about?

Brenden: Yeah, I get it… we’re gonna hang out.

Too perfect! And things only get better when Mindy shows up at Brenden’s place. Every exchange is incredibly awkward, unsexy, and hilarious. This isn’t the way things work out in Mindy’s rom-coms or romance novels. In chronological order:

(1) Brenden opens the door (shirtless) before Mindy rings the doorbell and says “Not bad, huh?”

(2) Mindy requests vodka in a dixie cup and corn chips (the new aphrodisiac)

(3) Mindy delivers her “We’re here to talk about chemistry… biology… urology” line

(4) Brenden sings Fleetwood Mac alone in the bedroom while Mindy is attacked by his smart-shower.

(5) Brenden sexily removes his teeth whitening strip

(6) Mindy tried to undress Brenden (from his sexy sweatpants and sweater) by telling him to “go slack” and then accidentally knocks out his contact.

(7) Brenden actually says “Contacts are disposable, this night is not.”

(8) Brenden is unfazed and tries to keep going when they get walked in on by Brenden’s brother and Morgan.

It really is a lot of work! And in the end, the payoff is no sex and Mindy being forced to actually respect Brenden (and midwifery) a little more when his breathing techniques help Morgan overcome an asthma attack. I see a lot of parallels with Brenden and Mindy, and I look forward to seeing their dynamic going forward. Much like Mindy, Brenden is on top of things at work. Even though the show makes fun of midwifery at every opportunity, Brenden is still presented as the level-headed, mature one who has all the answers. Yet, here he is in an intimate setting delivering cheesy lines and fumbling through their “hanging out” like an awkward teen. I was glad to see their encounter in the elevator at the end of the episode, which promises another uncomfortable “hangout” in the future!

As if all that wasn’t enough, we get another week of Eyepatch! Every scene involving Jillian was priceless and I really hope she sticks around for a while. It serves double duty of keeping Mindy and Danny apart, while also providing a much needed funny peripheral character in the absence of Josh. This marks two great episodes in a row, and I hope it’s the beginning of a nice run for the show. I’m really starting to like what I see!

-JG

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