I disliked THE MINDY PROJECT Season Finale. Here’s why:
I really love THE MINDY PROEJCT. The first season was flawless, the first half of the second was brilliant. The way they constructed every character, the use of their background characters; the careful building to Mindy and Danny’s first kiss was incredible. They did it at the perfect time, too, causing viewers to excitedly return after the hiatus. For me, the second half of season two is where things just did not go well.
I have a vested interested in Mindy and Danny’s relationship (I think most viewers do too!) and the ways in which those characters were created and portrayed both in context to each other and outside of that, leant itself really well to getting them together. A conversation I have with people all of the time, is whether or not shows get better or worse once they finally get the two leads together. It always comes down to the specific characters, writers, and actors. It’s a gamble. That’s what we end up with.
Getting Mindy and Danny together was a gamble, but it was one the writers half took. I think that it could’ve worked too. I thought it was really intriguing that they decided to have the characters freak out and back out. I understood that, I understood not only outside of the show, but I understood Danny Castellano as a character deciding to do that. It’s what came after that really turned me off the show.
We all knew that eventually Danny and Mindy would get together. It was a fake out, and one I as a viewer was actually going to get on board with. But, the shift in Danny’s character post-break up made that impossible.
Let’s face it, Danny became a flat out jerk. And not even in the way that Danny is always a jerk, because he can be, but in a funny, ridiculous way. Danny became horrible in the emotionally manipulative way. He became about mind games and horrible tricks. He became about whiny nice guy syndrome and unable to respect boundaries. And like, heads up, THAT’S NOT COOL.
While it’s clear to see this going on within almost every episode since they “broke up”, it’s impossible to miss in the season two finale, “Danny and Mindy”. It starts with Mindy on the subway making eye contact with a cute guy, while Peter and Danny drone on. A week later, Mindy see’s an ad in the paper from this supposed guy she made eye contact with. While Danny tries to convince her not to respond, Mindy of course does anyway. She and the mysterious subway man, Alex, start emailing back and forth. She eventually breaks up with her cop boyfriend (*sob*, I really liked him) to pursue something with Alex. About this time Morgan realizes that it is in fact Danny sending all of these emails in hopes that Mindy will break up with her boyfriend, fall in love with Alex, then when he reveals that it is him, she will realize that it is Danny she really wants to be with. Which of course is a horrible plan and mostly just a really horrible thing to do to someone, let alone someone you supposedly love. Anyway, so Danny sets up a date with Mindy, as Alex, on the top of the Empire State Building, Mindy’s dream date spot. But when Mindy flat out says moved on and she doesn’t want to be with Danny anymore, Danny decides his plan is a failure and lets her get stood up at the top of her favorite place on the planet. (which I get that people make dumb mistakes, but like these are intentionally ways of hurting Mindy) Regardless, when Mindy is upset, Danny shows up and instead of telling her the truth, he whisks her off for a 10 second montage of them doing her favorite things in the city. Apparently, now they are all good again, until they see “Alex” on the subway, forcing Danny to reveal the truth. Mindy gets really angry at Danny. Which although played out as if crazy and dumb, is actually a really justifiable feeling for her to have. Danny tries to make up for it by grabbing her and shouting that he loves her and wants to be with her, so obviously that’s why he’s been treating her like crap and doing horrible things to her! Mindy rejects him again saying, “you love me, until you don’t”. Which again, I find as a super justifiable reaction to how when the second half of the second season started, Danny claimed that he loved her, and wanted to care for her and be with her, and then not only did he suddenly decide to stop those, he decided to start being cruel. BUT, instead of further exploring the ways in which Danny’s actions have been unacceptable, and how they’ve hurt her, and how to ever have a healthy and happy relationship those need to be dealt with, we move on. Danny invites her to the Empire State Building to prove something. (that it’s real?) I don’t understand that, because it’s not the big romantic gestures that these two couldn’t get right before, it wasn’t the one night, one kiss, one date thing that they couldn’t make work – it was the relationship. It was Danny proving that he could be with her and that when he got scared (as he did in the episode where they broke up) that he would come to her instead of shutting things down. Regardless, apparently we’re supposed to be rooting for that one big romantic gesture, again, to end the show before a hiatus, again. Mindy is still upset (justifiably) and doesn’t want or plan to go to the date. But her co-workers (some who had recently and previously otherwise stated how awful and rude Danny was being and how she should get over him) all show up to convince her that Danny loves her, therefore she should forgive, forget, and get going. Peter specifically “proves” to her that Danny loves her by telling her that she’s being “so stupid” (which she’s not) and showing her a pair of her olds earrings that she’d left at Danny’s place. OH. That makes it (?) click in her head and she’s off to meet Danny. The rest of the group goes out for pizza, where they find Danny, who is not at the Empire State Building because he left after an hour. So eventually they both get there, kiss, and fight over how many babies they are going to have. The end.
While I’ve been annoyed at the writers for the majority of this part of the season, it felt fixable. The behaviors of Danny could be fixed, the lack of awareness at just how unacceptable he was being could be fixed. There was a lot that needed to be fixed, and as long as it was moving that way, the show would continue to be plenty interesting. Then after all the fixing and adjusting, then figuring out a way for Mindy and Danny to be together could happen. But instead the finale was rushed, the continuity was off, and the ending felt wrong.
I’m always hopeful for the next season. Every show has their rough patch. Let’s hope this was the Mindy Project’s and that they’ll come back next year better than ever.