Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project
Episode 12: Hooking Up Is Hard
By: Carlos Uribe

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

Spoilers Ahoy?

Do you know what’s “funny”? It’s when a female protagonist struggle s with the very concept of casual sex. The belief that females can’t help but attach themselves to any guys they sleep with is an old one that has been perpetuated by the media for decades. Any girl who is able to have meaningless sex is considered to be a “whore” or a “slut”. It’s a double standard because male culture loves to brag about sexual conquests that mean nothing. What this creates is a female protagonist who struggles with having casual sex because it might harm the character’s reputation in a way that a male character sleeping around won’t get. The Mindy Project delivers an episode that tries to tackle the inherent hypocrisy of this matter without actually accomplishing it. If anything, the writers seemed to prove that not only do they not know how to utilize the side characters but that they are clueless on how to use Mindy. Hooking Up is Hard might be the last episode before the behind-the-scenes changes occur but it’s yet another installment that explains just why this show has lost the support from the television critics.

When the Mindy Project started, the protagonist was introduced as a character whose personal life was a mess. Her entire quest has been to find the love of her life after her fiancĂ© had dumped her. She stopped sleeping with Jeremy and started dating. The crucial detail to remember here is that she was engaging with casual sex with Jeremy. It wasn’t even a one-night stand but a common occurrence. Jeremy might claim that she loved him, because of female’s apparent inability to remain detached, but that didn’t come through at all in the pilot. The idea that Mindy struggles with the concept of casual sex rings completely false because have actual evidence that she doesn’t. The conflict might have worked if Mindy was having trouble having a one-night stand with the mid-wife but her real fear is the actual stand. Why? It’s not really explained. Mindy has never been presented as a character that was afraid of sex.  It seems like the show had forgotten that it had already established Mindy as someone who was capable of having meaningless sex but it hadn’t. That the episode actually references this and still tries to get away with it is perplexing. It simply doesn’t work and its worse that the writers tried to justify this out-of-character turmoil by trying to retroactively redefine the dynamic of Mindy and Jeremy sleeping together. While the main plot involving Mindy had its comical moments, it was too inconsistent with what we know about Mindy in order to be funny.

It should come as no surprise that the sub-plot fails to come to the rescue. Danny remains my favorite character on the show and the idea of having him start a relationship with someone who takes him out of his comfort zone is a good one.  The issue is that this is barely given any attention and it fails to really take advantage of the situation. It’s understandable that the series doesn’t want to draw the viewer away from the wacky adventures of the protagonist but it did mean the sub-plot was woefully undeveloped. Danny’s girlfriend is never really given much of a personality and the entire plot basically consisted of Danny running away from her plans. What’s funnier? Is it Danny running away from a night that makes him uncomfortable or actually going through with it? The writers went with the former due to the time constrained but the latter probably could have saved such a sub-par episode.

If the Mindy Project wants to concentrate on Mindy then let it but at least allow her to consistent. Not doing so creates situations that aren’t funny because the show is just using the plot to mold her personality rather than the other way around. It would be nice if the show actually concentrated a little bit more on Danny simply because his character is much better defined at this point. Hooking Up is Hard is a rough episode that fails to deliver many laughs because it sacrifices character for the sake of the plot.  That’s not the promise this show has but it’s what it delivers.

Other Notes:

Morgan continues to remain a trouble character and the idea that he’s secretly friends with the mid-wives wasn’t funny whatsoever.  Can we please get rid of him as well?

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