Friday, March 29, 2013

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project
Episode 18: Danny's Friend
By: Carlos Uribe

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

Spoilers Ahoy?

This is an episode about confronting people. Mindy and Danny both have two people where they need to tell them the truth. Mindy has to deal with Heather. Remember Heather? The girl that was seeing Josh and caused a huge Christmas Day fight with Mindy? She's bringing pies to seek forgiveness but also because she plans to move into the building. Mindy pretends to be cool with it but she really doesn't want to live near Heather. She doesn't want to admit this so she writes an anonymous letter to her landlord to make Heather out to be a terrible person. When Heather doesn't get her apartment, Danny forces Mindy to own up to what she did. Mindy makes it up to Heather after they have a brief fight and the landlord agrees to look over Heather's application. It's a b-plot that really only develops over a few scenes. The jokes don't land and it sort-of felt like it was added just because Ellie Kemper wanted to come back on the show or something. I'm not entirely sure. I believe the plot is resolved before the last act even begins which shows you just how insignificant it is. It does tie into the main plot and it shares a theme so it at least technically fits into the episode but it never really stands on it's own two feet.

As for the main plot, it has to do with Danny. The doctors are all shocked to learn that Danny is committing pharmaceutical fraud. They immediately leap to the conclusion that he's a drug addict rather than finding out what actually happened. Morgan does manage to set them on the correct path when he tells them that he discovered Danny treating a patient after the clinic closed. The doctors jump to a different conclusion where they determine that this patient is a member of the mob because of his Italian accent. The patient might have a criminal record but he's not a member of organized crime. He mostly scalps tickets and gets arrested for minor crimes. Danny isn't treating him out of the fear of his own life or anything but because this is his best friend. They're basically as close as brothers. He wants to help his friend by giving him drugs illegally so that the police don't get involved. It makes sense but his co-workers force him to stop because they could lose their medical license. Only Danny can't bring himself to actually cut his friend off because it's hard to tell hard truths to people you know. This all changes when the friend goes on a date with Mindy. The friend had hoped to intimidate Mindy but he's so bad at the crime stuff that he just asked her out instead. When Mindy finds out who the friend is, Danny admits he hasn't officially cut off his friend yet.

This leads to Mindy going to Staten Island with Danny and Morgan. Why Morgan? So that the series can make a lot of stupid jokes about him being seasick. I'm serious. I think I've talked about how Morgan just rubs me off the wrong way and this is yet another episode he drags down because the writers thinks he's funny. He's not. He's the worst. Mindy doesn't actually do much once they arrive at the friend's house as she leaves Danny alone to cut him off. Danny does but this leads to a big fight between them. It isn't until the fight gets physical that the two are able to put this behind them. It's a decent plot but there were three problems with it. The first is that I could care less about the friend's relationship with Danny. The plot had their friendship at stake but it was never developed enough to really matter. The second is that the friend never really came across as someone whose on the wrong side of the tracks. He just never really looks like the part that his character is supposed to be playing. The third is that it completely underutilizes Mindy. She comes to force Danny to cut off his friend but then ditches him almost immediately? She's the protagonist so she should have had an actual role in the climax.

Danny's Friend is a pretty bad episode of the Mindy Project. Any episode that relies on Morgan as much as this one does in order to be funny is going to be a bad one. The whole main plot never really worked because Danny's friend never worked and his relationship with the main characters always felt forced. It doesn't help that Mindy is sort-off pushed into the sides. This would be fine if this was truly an ensemble comedy where all of the characters can make any situation funny but only Danny can stand on his own-and he's the best when he has Mindy in the scene. Case in point: when he's in the scene where Mindy admits to Heather about her letter. The main plot would have worked better if Mindy had been in the climax. As for Mindy's plot, it never really amounted to much because it was just kind of there. Like the show wanted to give Mindy something to do but it never really committed to it.

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