After a bit of a shaky-handed start, The Mindy Project has developed into an entertaining doc-com (doctor comedy) with plenty of heart. As I watch season one develop, I have been happy to get to know the quirky secondary characters and see a bit of maturity grow from our protagonist Mindy (played by Mindy Kaling). The humor ranges from standard “poke and jab” banter to some observational and situational jokes that keep me interested and relating.
There have actually been some pleasantly original teleplays with some spot-on cameos hidden within season one, but this episode, “Triathlon” is not one of them. It’s not eye-rollingly predictable, but rather cute and a little forgettable. This is unfortunate as it features my two favorite characters, Nurse Morgan Tookers (MadTV’s Ike Barinholtz) and Dr. Danny Castellano (rom-com darling Chris Messina).
It takes the classic plot device of a race (comically set against the backdrop of an inherently non-competitive charity triathlon) to highlight the already established competition between the OBGYN doctors and the holistic midwives (Mark and Jay Duplass) who work upstairs. Nurse Morgan has recently moved to the side of heated rocks and herbal teas after secretly sending a letter Dr. Danny “wrote but never sent” to his ex-wife. Danny’s hubris and Morgan’s dog-like loyalty come out in full force, and the supposedly Zen midwives reveal their Darwinian competitive side. It’s a classic tale slightly reworked and made into a passable premise for an episode, but nothing surprised me.
Simultaneously, Mindy is asked if she would ever consider converting to Christianity for her current pastor boyfriend, Casey (Anders Holm). The issue was kept pretty lighthearted, but I felt it could have gone on for more than one episode. Asking someone to convert to a religion is a big step, and Casey’s religion is the defining point of his life: it’s his job, his community, and his passion.***SPOILER: Basically, Mindy tries on a cross necklace and it “doesn’t feel right”, hence she stays Hindu.*** Now that was a bit of an eye-roll. Their chemistry as a couple is, again, cute, and the jokes surrounding conversion were clever, but I feel like this could have been a two episode arc, considering other two episode arcs dealt with lower-stake problems.
Lastly, I realize that the title of the show is The Mindy Project, but I really wish that more episodes would focus on Danny and Morgan, and within those episodes there would be greater detail. I don’t need every episode to be about Mindy, and it would give her character more depth if she were willing to take a side seat. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Dr. Reed (the positively dashing Ed Weeks) and the receptionist Betsy (Zoe Jarman), not only as individual characters but as a potential friendship/couple. They have a great dynamic, and hopefully we’ll see more of that in season 2 or later episodes.
There were chuckles and smiles, but it won’t go down in history. Still, I am looking forward to the next episode, and I am happy to see this cast and friends together making comedy.