As proven by last week’s slip, The Mindy Project isn’t going easy on the sexy stuff this season–and that makes sense: The show is, after all, an homage to and a descendent of romantic comedies, and don’t all romantic comedies end in sex, anyway?
But just because the show’s getting more sex doesn’t mean it’s turning into a modern-day Game of Thrones. Sure, sometimes the sex is sexy—Danny’s striptease, anyone?—but most of the time, it’s used as a vehicle for the comedy: Mindy and Danny’s attempt to try out something new in the bedroom at the end of last week’s episode started off with whipped cream and sensual glances but ended with Mindy’s hunger for whipped cream replacing (or maybe just supplementing) her sexual urges. And because something like butt sex isn’t covered in primetime—or any—television, Mindy doesn’t have to worry about going where some other show has gone before. Much like Danny, it has the freedom to do trail-and-error until it hits the right spot.
This week’s episode wasn’t quite as steamy, but it did begin with Danny and Mindy getting it on in a car parked on the side of the road. We know what they did not because we saw it, but because Mindy shouted “whoa, Nelly,” which is apparently now her trademark sex sound. Not everyone can get along as well as Mindy and Danny do, though. A look at the night’s competitors:
Peter vs. Dartmouth
Peter returns to Dartmouth (Mindy Kaling’s real-life alma mater) for a beer pong tournament and Jeremy, a surprisingly masterful pong player, joins him for the ride. What follows are the most beautiful depictions of beer pong you’ve ever seen: Instead of red solo cups, spilled beer, and dirty balls, they play with classy clear cups on an elegant, dry (dry!) table. Ah, the allure of sitcom colleges.
Jeremy, ever the wild card, surprises again by putting on an American accent to fool Peter’s peers into thinking he’s also an alum. The accent? Great. Jeremy with the accent? So weird, and it should never happen again. He also acquires the nickname “Barf,” making this American version of the otherwise sophisticated Jeremy all the stranger.
After some mingling, the two finally play some pong and Shonda Rhimes, the goddess of Thursday night television, makes her appearance as the school’s beer pong champion—and the only woman allowed to play in the tournament. Since she’s playing herself, Rhimes gets to crack some jokes about failed TV pilots and how her real passion is beer pong, not TV. Rhimes’ shows aren’t (usually) funny, and her interviews aren’t (usually) funny because of media’s obsession with her race and her gender, so seeing her have some fun in front of a camera is a welcome reminder that she’s not just an insanely talented showrunner: She’s a real person.
It’s not all fun and games though, because the Dartmouth crowd still picks on Peter even years after graduation by calling him “Leftie”—a nickname he got because his girlfriends always paired up with his friends in college. We’re all “Poor Peter!” until Jeremy gives him the chance to declare a new nickname in front of the hoards of drunk Dartmouth men… and he chooses “Diarrhea.” At least Diarrhea and Barf go together?
Mindy vs. Fishman
Dr. Fishman, the hospital’s chief, is trying to take down Mindy’s practice so, naturally, Mindy decides to befriend her. Their beginnings aren’t all that exciting—although Mindy does face everyone’s worst nightmare when she accidentally utters “I love you” instead of “Goodbye” after her first meeting with Fishman—but after an hours-long friend-date, Fishman makes her move… and kisses Mindy.
The logical thing for Mindy to do was pull away and tell her she wasn’t interested. But, because this is Mindy, she let Fishman linger on her lips and left the scene as if nothing strange happened. And, despite keeping her eyes wide open the entire time in discomfort and shock, Mindy still thinks she might be gay… or at least that’s what she announces to her office the next day.
Her coworkers, including Danny, talk her down by shouting out their own gay-ish experiences until Danny finally convinces Mindy she has to do the right thing and tell Fishman she’s not into that. The story line isn’t the most exciting, but what’s interesting is how Mindy deals with it: Instead of freaking out and denying any attraction to women, she comes off as wishing she were gay and is bummed she isn’t. She talks about how soft Fishman’s lips were and accidentally calls herself a lipstick lesbian before Danny corrects her. It’s the opposite of how people in shows usually react when they’re accused of being gay, and it’s a positive step toward banishing that “you’re insulting me by saying I could be gay” attitude.
Mindy eventually confronts Fishman but is interrupted by Fishman’s angry–very angry—wife. The whole situation gets messier and messier until all four end up at Danny’s apartment, where he pretends to be suicidal so Fishman will think she and Mindy are on the same page, that page being one where their significant others are extremely pissed. The whole pretend-to-be-suicidal gag is a bit much—unlike butt sex, suicide is something too often covered in comedy—but Danny pulls off a great performance as a drunk, raging boyfriend who is disturbingly attractive even in his craziness. Plus, he gets Mindy out of trouble: Everything’s fixed by the end, and we even got to kind of relive Mindy’s date-of-the-week habit from past seasons. Kind of.
“I still don’t think we should have brought a gift to a second wedding. It’s rewarding failure.” —Danny
“You remind me of the demented aunt who raised me.” —a cop giving Mindy a break
“You’re not gay. You asked me to help you mail yourself to Chris Hemsworth.” —Peter to Mindy
“You’re flirting with your reflection again. Cut it out!” —Danny to Mindy
“I hate facing consequences. That’s why I haven’t opened my mail in, like, two years.” —Mindy
“I wrote a TV pilot about him once. The network said it was too sad.” —Shonda Rhimes on Peter
By the numbers:
Mindy’s outfits: 7
Times a “Fancy” ringtone interrupts conversation: 2
Tries it takes Jeremy to score in beer pong: 1
Dogs Fishman’s wife turns against her: 2