Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project
Episode 9: Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party
By: Carlos Uribe

The Mindy Project is about an OB/GYN named Mindy.

Spoilers Ahoy?

The fall finale of The Mindy Project is an episode that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the show so far. It's also an episode that gets rid of my favorite character on the show. That character is Josh. Mindy finds out that Josh has not only been sleeping with someone else, but that technically Mindy is the other woman. This news comes at the most unfortune time as Mindy is the middle of hosting a Christmas party with him. Her initial reaction to this news is to go and cause a major scene and ruin the party. The only person who is able to hold her back is Danny. He encourages her to get through the party before confronting Josh. She can't let this egregious betrayal of her trust and relationship just go but she does try and settle things with as little drama as possible. She quietly asks Josh to fake a work excuse and leave the party but is only foiled by Morgan. This is because she had written a beautiful speech about how much Josh meant to her and Morgan wanted Josh to hear it. Morgan has no idea about the affair at this point, he's just trying to be a good friend. The speech turns out to be really difficult for Mindy to read but Danny comes in and gives people the general gist of it. All eight pages of it. As soon as the speech ends, Josh's other girlfriend storms in and there's this huge fight scene that is possibly the funniest part of the show. At the same time, the scene is way more cartoonish than every scene before it. The show needs to decide if it's going to take a realistic approach to Mindy's project or if it's going to be more farce. It simply can't do balance both very well. My favorite character might be gone but at least Danny is still there.

I've been finding myself watching this show for two reasons. The first is because of Josh's relationship with Mindy but the second is because of Danny's banter with her. As much as this was an episode about Josh and Mindy breaking up, it was also about Danny's complicated friendship with her. It's Danny who tries to help her throughout the episode even if it means missing out on a hot date. The best parts of this episode came from those attempts to help her. Whether it was accidentally calling the other girl and trying to lie to her or entering a pact with Mindy to kill each other if they're still single in five years, Danny proves that he's a great character when he's paired with the protagonist. He might not do well when he's left to his own devices, but he is generally able to bounce off any member of the ensemble with relative ease. The charm of Danny is really the reason why I'll keep tune back in to this show when it comes back in January. The episode got rid of Josh and it highlighted Danny's strong chemistry with Mindy. On it's own, this episode would have been pretty strong but sadly it had to feature the weak part of this show as well.

That is every other character currently on the show. Jeremy is the character who largely doesn't do anything except convince all of Mindy's co-workers to stay at the party to support her at the end. This is supposed to be a really sweet moment where the cast comes together to celebrate Christmas. The inherent problem with this is that it doesn't work because Mindy's relationship with most of the characrers hasn't been properly fleshed out. Sure we might hear about how she's their friend but we don't see the unigue relationship she has with those characters. It doesn't help that I could care less about characters like Betsy and Shauna. Making matters even worse is that the more Morgan is on this show, the less I'm finding myself liking his oddball character. Having such a large cast on a show only works when the mass majority are developed, likeable, and when they each all have a specific and meaningful relationship with the central figure of the show. With all of these side characters, they're largely undeveloped, not very likeable, and they lack that relationship.

Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party finishes the first part of the season but it simply shows how necessary those changes that the show is going to be making soon. The series has already gotten rid of Dr. Marc Schulman and it's going to soon be getting rid of Shauna. This hopefully means that the show will also be working towards finding it's voice and sticking with it. The question becomes if the retooling that's going to come soon will be able to fix the show or not. I certainly hope so: this could certainly be one of the strongest comedies on the air if it did.

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