Approximately one year ago, I sat impatiently on the Hulu home page refreshing constantly until the season premiere of my favorite show, The Mindy Project, was available. I also tweeted about saving it every day just months before when Fox cancelled it. And I’ve seen the first two seasons so many times that I could probably recite most of it verbatim. And I’ve made quite a few fan videos (including this one).
This year? I forgot it was even premiering until I saw a couple of people talking about it on my timeline.
The Mindy Project was flawed from the very beginning. It always seemed like more of a string of jokes than a consistent storyline, every week it seemed like a regular had left and a new character had taken their place, and Mindy’s dating habits were just plain unrealistic. Now, before you accuse me of being a meninist or something absurd like that, let me explain. Mindy dating a new guy every week is just plain unrelatable…she never actually had any dating struggles. It was just one date after another and it seems like every single guy she met fell in love with her. As a relatively unlucky in love 20-something, I wanted to see more of the struggle of dating, and how it’s okay to be alone. Instead, I turned on the TV often feeling bad I wasn’t dating as many hotties as Mindy. Sometimes, I even (subconsciously) emulated her personality because I thought it may make me more desirable. (Do I need therapy? maybe.) Despite its many flaws, The Mindy Project remained my favorite show for one specific reason: Danny and Mindy.
If Mindy Kaling can do anything well, it’s create a good romantic story. Yes, she builds off of popular romantic relationships from the past like Harry & Sally and Sam & Diane, but man, did she set up an electric relationship in Danny and Mindy. Danny was a lovable grump—he had his major flaws, but they could all be explained and forgiven, and Mindy was the slightly self-absorbed extrovert he fell for. The Yin to his Yang. They fought all the time, but it was obvious they cared deeply for each other. Part of the reason I love TV much more than movies is that it leaves a lot of room for some great character development, and that was imminent from day one for Danny Castellano. We learned that his wife cheated on him and his father left him. He could be a real jerk, but he could also be wonderful and hilarious. In the earlier seasons, even if he didn’t say it, it was clear he was attracted to Mindy just as she is. The problem is, he stopped developing. He started taking one step forward and two steps backwards. Soon, you realized that none of these characters were really being developed. How is Mindy SO smart sometimes and SO stupid other times? How is Morgan a registered nurse? Why are these characters nothing more than the butt of a joke?
I continued to let my frustrations go because Danny and Mindy are still such a great couple, and Danny was still very lovable (for the most part). Their relationship was developing. With all of their ups and downs, they finally got together, had a baby, and got engaged.
Then, Danny disappeared for the most stupid reason (I know he was shooting a movie, but still) and when he showed back up, it was like he was the Danny from the pilot again, but even worse because he didn’t seem to respect Mindy as a professional anymore. This guy wasn’t really Danny Castellano, this was some emotionally abusive jerk. This great couple, who had just had a baby, disintegrated before our very eyes. I have never seen anything so frustrating.
The worst part of all of it was that Mindy Kaling and Matt Wharburton gave us the most ridiculous and convoluted explanations for totally destroying this relationship and this interesting character (Danny Castellano). Don’t lie to us and say this was in the plan all along. Tell your fans who have fought for your show to stick around the truth (which I’m assuming is Chris Messina wanted out of his contract).
Anyway, I was mad and my rose colored glasses broke. All of the sudden, I could only see the flaws that I’d always overlooked (that I mentioned earlier): What is the actual plot of this episode? None of these jokes are even that funny! How does Mindy attract every single guy she meets (and how can I relate to that)?
So now, I’m done. Mad respect to all of the fans who still watch (including our resident Mindy Project expert/magical unicorn Hasti), but I can’t do it anymore.
I guess you can consider this a cautionary tale: try not to get too invested in one aspect of a show, because if it’s taken from you, you won’t care about the rest.