The Moth Chase

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

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The Mindy Project wrapped up its first season, as Mindy decided to join Casey on the year long mission trip to Haiti  – seemingly solidifying their relationship, but leaving her professional life hanging in the balance. This has been an up and down season with some bright spots, but just not enough character development of laugh-out-loud moments to really satisfy. Given the cast and writers, I came into this show expecting a comedy series with a few meaningful story lines thrown in to make the viewer think every once in a while. On occasion the show did actually address some interesting topics and issues, but it never really hit its stride on the comedy front. The Mindy Project has been renewed for a second season, so I really hope that there are more laughs to come. Otherwise, this show might not make a third run.

In this episode we see Mindy realize that she can’t sustain a year-long internet relationship with Casey and in order to keep things going, she must join him in Haiti. This felt a little over the top since just last week Casey told her that this was a minor separation they would need to endure, because he was committed to Mindy for the long term and wouldn’t want to leave once they were married, had children, etc… Refusing to maintain their relationship through a webcam for a year felt a little short sighted on the part of Mindy’s character – who has typically been a big picture sort of person so far.

Unsurprisingly, Mindy’s co-workers doubt her ability to live with Casey in a tent for a year. To prove that she’s got what it takes, Mindy invites herself, Casey, and for some reason Morgan along on Danny’s camping trip. Mindy proves to be resourceful and capable in the wilderness, even putting Morgan out when he catches on fire, and she starts to gain confidence in her ability to make it in Haiti. But an eyeful of Casey’s floss debris and a phallical displacement of her glasses makes her realize that living in the close quarters of a tent for a year just might not work out, even with someone she really cares about.

Mindy spends the remainder of the episode flip-flopping on whether or not she actually wants to go – and perhaps more importantly what is at the core her doubts about Casey and the trip. Yes, living in a small tent in an impoverished country for a year with someone you’ve only dated for 3 months is a valid reason to back out. Likewise, not wanting to put your professional life and medical career on hold is certainly a legitimate reason. Mindy seemed to focus on the former in rationalizing her decision to tell Casey she wasn’t going. The latter was never even a part of the conversation, which I found quite disappointing since a theme of the show has been the quest for work-life balance and having it all. Would it really be that easy for her to walk away from the medical practice that she has worked all season to build, protect, and establish her place within? In the end, when Casey pushes her on the subject of why she is backing out on the Haiti trip, Mindy admits what is really at the core of her hesitation to go – she can’t understand why someone would want to commit to her and feels insecure about the potential for a long term relationship with Casey. It was a fantastic moment of character development, honesty, and clarity for Mindy that made me like her a lot more.

A call from the hospital telling her the expectant mother of triplets had gone into labor forces Mindy to  jump back into her element and professional persona for the delivery (again, are we to believe that she is really willing to walk away from this without a second thought?). Afterwards, Mindy realizes that she really does want to take a chance and go to Haiti with Casey. She does her best Lloyd Dobler and the episode closes with the two of them reunited and ready to go off on an adventure together (I’m purposefully leaving out the final Danny/Mindy scene because I don’t want to acknowledge that fact that the writers are still holding the “will-they-won’t-they” story line over us). Who knows where things will pick up in the second season after Mindy’s time with Casey in Haiti. How long will Mindy actually be able to stay in Haiti? Will Mindy and Casey still be together? I’m curious, which means I’ll probably hang around for a second season, but I’m going to need some of the kinks to be worked out over the summer.

No one asked, but here’s my advice for the next season:

* Stop throwing new random characters in every week hoping someone will stick (I’m looking at you Tamara and Parker).

* Turn down the cheesiness of Casey – a lot.

* Beverly has got to go. This is the most useless character in the history of television.

* Stop bagging on the midwives so much (this goes for the characters and the writers).

* And last, but far from least, give up on the Mindy-Danny love story.

-JG

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This episode offers a so-so ending to a fairly rocky first season. Like you, I appreciated seeing Mindy navigate the challenges of work-life balance as she has at some of the stronger points of the season. With that in mind, I think you’re right to question the ease with which she seems ready to walk away from her medical practice for a year. As the sequence in which the three doctors prepare to deliver triplets reminds us, these sometimes immature people can put on their game faces and are skilled doctors. Presumably being part of the successful delivery of triplets would remind Mindy how much she values her career, even as the mother’s comments about embracing the overwhelming experience of having three babies inspires Mindy to embrace the overwhelming possibilities of serious relationship with Casey and a year in Haiti. I think some of these issues could have been resolved with a few references to Mindy providing medical support in Haiti. It’s logical that she would do that, but the writers are making us figure that out for ourselves.

I also think you’re right on about the episode providing good character development for Mindy in her expression of doubt about why Casey would really want to be with her. With this revelation, her misadventures in dating this season are shown to have been about not only a deficit of good, datable men but also about self-doubt. Occasionally, guys who seemed promising (like Seth Myers’ Matt) disappeared after one episode. In reality, such decisions probably had more to do with the guest star’s availability than with the writers’ thoughtful decisions about Mindy’s sense of self. In a charitable look back at the season, though, I can imagine that Mindy let the potentially good guys go more quickly than she should have because she didn’t think she deserved them. Meanwhile, she kept around Josh without realizing he was a cocaine addict and that she was the other woman to his longtime girlfriend. I hope this theme about Mindy’s emotional life gets developed next season. It promises to be more interesting than suggesting that Mindy’s frequently poor dating decisions reflect her uncertainty about whether she really wants to settle down.

Finally, what the heck is going on with Danny and Christina? Her return amounts to a major development in Danny’s life, yet she scarcely has appeared onscreen. Now Danny seems to be ending things with her just as they were getting going again. And nearly everything important between them has happened off-screen, leaving us to wonder what’s really going on. This makes me suspect that the Christina-Danny plot is just a device for making Danny realize he really wants to be with Mindy, as his almost-kissing-her suggests. Not only do I not want the two of them to get together, at least not anytime soon, this part of the episode felt incredibly rushed. Granted, the show has tried to make us see a romantic connection between the two of them all season, but this episode put Danny almost kissing Mindy on the heels of Danny asking Christina to move in and Mindy receiving a marriage proposal. It was a bit much.

Better luck next season?

E

Written by jwgoss

May 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm

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