Ah, The Mindy Project…
My obsession began innocently, as most of my obsessions do. I never intend to get as obsessed with things as I do. So, I’ve developed a new love/hobby of audiobook listening during my long morning commute. I don’t have to listen to the same songs over and over and I can actually learn something interesting or useful. Or at least be entertained. So, a friend recommended Mindy Kaling’s 2 books, which are narrated by Mindy herself. I love when authors do that, and thought Mindy was funny enough on The Office. Then, when I found out she was one of the writers on The Office, I decided she was well past ‘funny enough’ & checked out her audiobooks from the library (which you can do now because #thefuture.)
I liked her books and found that I have several things in common with Mindy. She’s single with several married friends, likes to throw parties, but also likes binging late night TV alone on the couch, and is above the Hollywood average size 0. So, when she started talking about her show The Mindy Project in her audiobook, I thought I could definitely spare some time for the show. After all, the episodes were only 20 minutes and it was a romance. Done and done. I thought it was a bit weird that it had Mindy’s name in it, starred Mindy, and was written by Mindy. It all seemed kind of over the top narcissist to me, unless it was about her real life, which it wasn’t. You get used to it as you watch the show, but I still find it excessive when you see the word “Mindy” on the screen at least 3 times within the first 3 minutes.
But I digress. Like I said, this started as “sparing some time” for the show, very casual. I think I may have caught the first episode while I was also doing some work on my laptop, not totally invested. Fast forward 2 weeks and I’m crying on my living room floor because they have murdered my favorite character and I am now quitting the show. Okay, it was a figurative murder, but still… I am quitting this show.
Let me start from the beginning. The Mindy Project starts with Mindy, the main character, ruining her ex’s wedding. Hey, one of my exes got married, and do you know how satisfying it would have been to give a drunken speech about how he broke my heart by being a jerk? Well, I don’t actually know if that would have made me feel any better… but it was comedic gold. You soon find out that Mindy is an accomplished OBGYN doctor, and the pilot ends with Mindy talking with two fellow male doctors in the staff lounge of the hospital. It makes my feminist heart all warm and happy to see a successful female doctor as a main character on TV.
The Mindy Project’s first season sets the tone of romantic comedy in TV form. But, not those cheesy romantic comedies; there’s an emphasis on the word comedy. Mindy’s writing is hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud. Since it’s a TV show, the writers have room to explore lots of different relationships and situations for a single 30-something in New York City. You know each new guy she meets isn’t going to last very long, so you don’t get attached and you appreciate the comedy & outrageous situations. But then, there’s Danny.
Danny Castellano is your rough around the edges, no-nonsense, gruff character. He’s Italian, a bit older, and is introduced as a still-bitter divorcee who is fundamentally different than Mindy. They end the pilot arguing about a romantic movie (When Harry Met Sally) that Mindy is watching in the staff lounge. Maybe they hinted this too early, but I could already tell that Mindy and Danny would end up together. I mean, they HAD to. Even from that first scene you can tell the undeniable chemistry these two have. They bicker, but their differences in opinion help them both learn. And yes, I got this all from a conversation about “When Harry Met Sally,” thank you very much. They had to get together, and it was clear through the first season that this is where the show would eventually go, quite like Nick & Jess from “New Girl.” I couldn’t wait for that satisfying moment. Until then, I would bask in Mindy’s hilarious relationships.
Fast forward a week and I had binged my way to Season 2 (I had a knitting project to finish, sue me.) The Mindy Project wasn’t my favorite show ever, but I had been watching a solid 5 episodes if not more a day, so you could say it was taking over my life. I began to reference it with my friends and try to think like Mindy in her witty, sassy way. I began joining online Italian dating sites to find my Danny (just kidding, but that’s not a bad idea.) I was approaching the end of season 2, enjoying myself and rejoicing that Casey (Mindy’s ex fiancé) was no longer in the picture, when it happened. THE MINDY-DANNY KISS. And, oh my word. It was all I had ever wanted. The scene happened on an airplane, where Mindy & Danny had previously had an intimate encounter (that was actually based on a real life situation with Mindy’s best friend and Office co-star BJ Novak… so cute!) The airplane kiss was sexy, dramatic, and then even took a comedic turn in the airplane bathroom, where Mindy ends up with her head in the toilet. Leave it to Mindy to take it to this moment to a hilarious place.
This is what I had been waiting for… right? But wait, it was only Season 2. Couples that get together that early rarely stay together, any TV lover knows that. This was suicide for their relationship. I freaked. I had to do the unthinkable: read ahead and see if they stayed together.
Now, if you know me, you know I hate spoilers. People who intentionally seek out spoilers are obviously blood-sucking, emotionless robots that don’t care about art and the way it was meant to be consumed. Sorry to be extreme, but I’m very passionate and unreasonably opinionated. So anyways, Mindy Kaling had left me no choice. I had to become the thing I hate, and google spoilers for her show, because my fragile heart could not take the slow downfall of Mindy and Danny. If that was what was going to happen, I needed to rip off the band-aid.
And so, with guilt, I googled it. Do Mindy and Danny stay together? And just as I had expected, the first article title I see is: “‘The Mindy Project’ has become a lesson in how to destroy a once-great character.” Cue the horror. How could Mindy do this to me?! We were supposed to be hopeless romantic kindred spirits!! She had just become my newest celebrity girl crush and basically my best friend, entertaining me on my morning drives and my long afternoons of knitting (I promise that I have actual friends). I legitimately felt like I had been betrayed, if you want an insight into my strong emotions.
You see, TV shows are tricky. They could start off pretty “meh,” then get to an amazing place (take The Office and Parks and Recreation’s first seasons.) Or, they can have the opposite problem, and start off brilliant and then fail to live up to their own hype. They can lose direction. And I found a fair share of articles about the Mindy Project having this problem. I’m sure one could watch the show and enjoy the other directions it goes, and plot lines that it had in store. But, as a hopeless romantic, I don’t watch TV to see “real relationship problems.” I didn’t sign up for “…that’s not how real life works…” and “…but just like life, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way” (Quoted from Jessica Radloff, Glamour)
I also hate when TV shows have to go in different directions because one of their actors have another project. This is a rumor of what happened with Danny, played by Chris Messina. Chris, you owe this to me. You signed up to play Danny. YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE ME LIKE THIS. So, the show writers demoted him from main character to guest star, which involved betraying who their character was. They turned him into a jerk, and I found out there are actually articles titled: “Is It Maybe Time For ‘The Mindy Project’ To Kill Off Danny?” and “24 TV Boyfriends That Were Actually The Worst — I’m Looking At You Danny Castellano.”
I never want to live in a world where I could accept them ACTUALLY killing off Danny. And so, I stopped Mindy Project mid-episode and told myself I would never watch it ever again. Easy enough, I thought, with the level of betrayal that I was feeling. That’s when I learned how big of an obsession this had actually become. I went through Mindy Kaling withdrawals. Who would keep me company now?!
And that’s when I decided to watch less TV and spend more time with my real friends… The End.