The Mindy Project: "Sk8er Man"
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The Mindy Project: "Sk8er Man"

As we navigate through adulthood, we sometimes straddle a line between growing up and still wanting to be irresponsible. The Mindy Project breaks this struggle down into the “radical” versus the “boring” in this episode. Fortunately, Timothy Olyphant personifies the radical as Graham, the skater man in the title, and he is absolutely fantastic.

Mindy gets shunted to the couples table at a dinner party as even her friends have given up hope she’ll ever be satisfied with anyone. So to prove everyone wrong, she goes on a date with the skater boy (Olyphant) who crashed into her the day before (she wants to call the truant officer on him, but he’s actually in his 40s). Graham arrives for the date (through the window) with a “shralped” elbow (I’m guessing “shralped” is a combination of “shredded” and “scalped”). Mindy fixes him up, but he would have done it himself with ginger ale and a sock. At the “garbage burrito” dinner that follows, she finds out he doesn’t have health insurance because he doesn’t want to tempt the fate of the universe, or something (bad), but when she drops her cell phone in the subway, he jumps down on the tracks to save it (brave, but also stupid).

So Mindy tries to embrace her immature side to be with a man who wears baggy shorts with black socks, but the most subversive thing she can come up with is that she uses a multivitamin not approved by the FDA. Danny, of course, is even more staid and safe than she is (he has a sweet condo with a 15-year fixed!) but he’s stuck with the most hilariously boring companion alive (Vanessa Bayer) when the four double-date for sushi. When Graham gets them all to dine and ditch at their fancy restaurant, Mindy knows, as she knows with most every guy she dates, that it’s not going to work. In this instance, it’s because we all have to grow up sometime.

The B plot: not great. The Mindy Project should just quit trying to make Jeremy (Ed Weeks) happen. There’s kind of a nice parallel of the radical character versus the lame character, with Adam Pally as the fun guy winning over Jeremy’s dad, played by official paternal character actor Alan Dale. But we know Peter and Jeremy’s dad are going to hit it off, we know Jeremy will get mad, we know Peter and Jeremy will make up in the end.

So too with the skater boy: We know from the first few seconds that Graham will barely last the episode. But what an episode! Gawd, how great is Timothy Olyphant? I know he’s awesome in literally everything, like Deadwood, Justified, Go, etc., but I haven’t seen him be this funny since he was the twentysomething guy Carrie sleeps with on Sex And The City. Check out his look of longing when Mindy mentions the marijuana dispensary, or his joyous delivery of “I literally have nothing to do.” His whole description of how he saw a pregnant mermaid in Bali is absolutely brilliant, right down to his dehydration from semen depletion. “You know sushi restaurants are raping our oceans.” “Oh, is that how your mermaid got pregnant?” “No, it was consensual sex with a sea captain.” Even his exit is astounding, as he whips off his pants Magic-Mike style to reveal his baggy shorts again, and skates off into the night.

Throughout, the Mindy-Danny sparring frames the episode, and I feel like it will come to a head sooner rather than later. His wife is gone, as is her fiancée, and the back-and-forth banter is enjoyable, but getting heated. Eventually they will have to move past “Your date is stupid,” “No, your date is stupid” (More specifically: “Tell your guy to wear his fanciest dress shorts.” “Okay, tell Mary to bring a personality.” “I will…I won’t!”) But if Mindy’s other love interests are going to be as enjoyable as Ben Feldman and Timothy Olyphant, I for one will be content to have her splash around in the dating pool a while longer.

Stray Observations:

  • If Morgan names your babies: “Grover.” “John.” “Grover.”
  • Graham named his skateboard company after the Pregnant Mermaid. He not only has a tattoo of one on his neck, but also a picture of one on the bottom of his board.
  • Was Danny eating sushi with a fork?
  • “My body is very attracted to your body, but when you speak, my brain gets angry.”
  • If you lose over $5,000 at the Oneida Indian Moon Resort and Casino, you get a free t-shirt.
  • Boring things: humus, cow stuff, favorite commercials, where you lived before kindergarten, partially-remembered Internet videos.
  • “Hey, Chapelle, what’s with the meltdown?”
  • FYI, I will be your The Mindy Project reviewer for the duration. Awfully glad to be here. Honestly, this show is cracking me up more than New Girl lately, and I like New Girl a lot. See you next week!

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