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'The Mindy Project' Review: “While I Was Sleeping”

Emma Johnson ‘19/ Emertainment Monthly Television Staff Writer

Photo credit: TVline.com
Photo credit: tvline.com

Last Spring’s season three finale of The Mindy Project left the sitcom’s cult following craving answers. Mindy is pregnant and questioning her relationship with Danny (Chris Messina), her commitment-shy boyfriend and daddy-issues-daddy-to-be. To prove his devotion to her, Danny secretly gets on a plane to India, presumably to ask Mindy’s parents for permission to marry her. As their apartment door opens, the screen fades to black, and fans are forced to suffer through not only cancelation news from Fox, but a six-month hiatus for new episodes on Hulu. 

While reviews of The Mindy Project have been a mixed bag from the start, the season four premiere suggests what is to come may have been worth the wait. In this twenty-seven minute installment, (thanks, Hulu!) Danny visits Mindy’s parents under the guise of sightseeing the “greatest hits” in India, while Mindy, distraught, vulnerable, and gorgeous as hell, awakens in a parallel universe where she and Danny were never a couple. In this universe, Mindy is in an open marriage with Matt, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) an executive producer for the Real Housewives franchise, and she has plans to start a company selling “slutty girdles for the sexually active obese.” Mindy must navigate this It’s a Wonderful Life experience to determine if a life without Danny is what she really wants.

Photo credit: tvline.com
Photo credit: tvline.com

Danny, on the other hand, is struggling to explain Mindy’s parents that although he is in love with Mindy and will provide for her and their child, he isn’t comfortable getting married. This allows us our first glimpse ever at the people who created Mindy Lahiri. For those who wondered for years  how Mindy could be such a brilliant doctor and such a magnificent diva, your questions have been answered. Mr. Lahiri is an avid Red Sox fan and a Lesley University professor whose office hours “are poorly attended because he teaches it right the first time,” while Mrs. Lahiri is full of dramatic flair, as the “premiere undiscovered Bollywood character actress in the greater Boston area.”

As in many of the series’ strongest episodes, the premiere focuses solely on Mindy and Danny, with some comic moments from Morgan Tookers (Ike Barinholtz), the clinic’s clueless and socially inappropriate nurse, who follows Danny to India — with a detour in Pakistan with the Taliban — to offer a helping hand. The elimination of the majority of the supporting cast in this chapter elevates the episode tremendously. Without tedious b-plots from Beverly, Tamra, and Dr. Reed, (because honestly, who really cares?) viewers are free to focus on the characters that make tuning in every week worthwhile. Hopefully, as the series shifts focus to Mindy’s pregnancy, wedding plans, and her new business — the fertility center, not the girdle store — we will see less and less of the subplots that have brought down the quality of episodes in the past three seasons, and see more and more of the clever Mindy misadventures we know and love.

Episode Grade: B+

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