The Mindy Project: “Santa Fe”
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The Mindy Project: “Santa Fe”

After a bunch of really underwhelming episodes, that was probably the strongest Mindy Project in quite a while. That’s not to say it was particularly great. It had that same disjointed feel that all these episodes, good or bad, have. The supporting cast outside of Danny seemed a little lost. Morgan was brought along for the barest of reasons just to cause trouble and make Jeremy’s plot a tiny bit fun with some slapstick pitcher-drinking antics at the end of it. Look, maybe I’m just happier because the Knicks won the Atlantic Division for the first time since my boyhood tonight. But this episode just didn’t annoy me quite as much as the last few.

I’m pretty sure the last two episodes aired out of order, because Mindy’s cool Christian boyfriend Casey (Anders Holm) was back this week to have some fun casual banter with her at the start of the episode. I don’t really get the point of this guy—he’s fun to have around, kinda pasty and not that attractive, and eventually, they’ll think of some excuse to get rid of him. He’s just like Josh, who coincidentally pops up again in this episode, perhaps to remind Mindy of her terrible luck with men.

I liked Josh; I’ve been pretty on the record about that. It’s also clear that the writers enjoyed Tommy Dewey’s performance, because they brought him back here for a return engagement, even though he doesn’t have much to contribute. He’s staying in a rehab clinic in Santa Fe and confesses to a terrible cocaine addiction during their relationship; he also plants a seed in Mindy’s head about her relationship with Danny, which I’m sure will flower over the next few episodes (which will be the last of this season).

That’s all fine, but it didn’t seem like quite enough to justify Josh’s return. I’d say the whole thing was a waste of the Santa Fe trip, but what other drama could this show possibly wring out of a trip to a medical conference in Santa Fe? I guess I was just peeved that there was much build-up to and discussion of Mindy’s reunion with Josh (Casey thinks it’s good for closure, Danny thinks it’s bad news), and the whole thing was a big bowl of nothing, really.

I did enjoy Danny in the rehab clinic, mocking everyone’s fake addictions and praising Josh’s coke habit as something to believe in. Chris Messina continues to have a funny, sensitive edge to his character that helps scenes like him recalling the lack of closure he got from his wife cheating on him or his dad abandoning him. I didn’t even figure out that Danny was talking about his ex-wife again because she was going to be re-introduced tonight; that’s how plausible it is for his character to dip into a brief miserable soliloquy.

I’m certainly excited for whatever chaos Chloe Sevigny is going to stir up, and I’ll admit to being genuinely surprised by her appearance (in retrospect I believe I read the casting news at some point, but I totally forgot it). But I’m less excited for any romantic sparks between Mindy and Danny. The ground simply hasn’t been laid well enough there—there’s too much emphasis on them as frenemies, and not enough on their sexual chemistry, which remains a much vaguer concept, hand holding on the plane or not.

Once again, this was an episode where Mindy and Danny had plenty to do and everyone else was left in the dust. Sure, Jeremy and Morgan ate up plenty of screentime with their antics, but their nonsense was completely forgettable, from beginning to end. I am so, so tired of Morgan, who is more and more a fountain of “random” humor and makes less and less sense as a well-rounded wacko character. There was basically no sign of Betsy or Beverly, who are barely supporting characters at this point.

Hmm, I keep ragging on this episode. But I didn’t think it was that bad. Mindy trying to get her suitcase into the overhead container on the airplane was hilarious. I loved that shot of Jeremy and Morgan sleeping on each other’s shoulders, and I’ll admit some of their pitcher-drinking gags were pretty funny. This show isn’t bad with the slapstick silliness, but it also insists on soapier character stuff, and it has no idea how to blend the two together, and it gets more and more frustrating to watch every week.

Stray observations:

  • “You sound really pretty, like you’ve lost weight.” “Do not flatter me. Or insult me.”
  • Danny tells Mindy to have another mimosa. “You know I spilled most of my mimosa when I was reaching for waffles.”
  •  “I did not know this entire time I was living Walk the Line. Josh was Johnny Cash, I was Reese Witherspoon Cash…”
Filed Under: TV, The Mindy Project

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