On last night’s Christmas episode of The Mindy Project, Mindy threw a holiday party to attract the attention of Cliff, the cute lawyer from her office building, but a bunch of other stuff happened too. Jeremy ate Danny’s gingerbread replica of Monticello. Peter flirted with Maria Menounos. Wine bras were worn, “Santa Baby” was sung, and Christmas trees were carried on subways and thrown over balconies.
Oh yeah—and this happened.
That’s right, friends, Danny Castellano showed off a set of moves that would make the best boy band members jealous as he gave Mindy her Secret Santa gift: a choreographed routine to the song she played on a loop when Danny first met her, Aaliyah’s “Try Again.”
I don’t know what’s more perfect—the dance itself, Chris Messina in general, or the fact that Danny remembered Mindy’s affection for the song from so many years ago. What I do know is that the bar for gift-giving on television has now been raised, and I’m not sure anyone can ever reach this level of perfection again.
The details of Danny’s character get handed out to us like Christmas gifts with every new episode. He’s a little grumpy, but he has smile that can light up a room (I’m talking about the one he gives her after his little “brush the shoulders off” move). He’ll try to smack you if you talk smack about Derek Jeter. He bakes gingerbread houses (and apparently also gingerbread estates). He hates scary stories, he smokes when he’s stressed, and he doesn’t know what a browser history is.
Danny may appear gruff and jaded, but he has a soft spot for Mindy. He knows what her vending machine food preferences are. He’ll clean the schmutz off her glasses when they’re dirty. He holds her hand when their plane hits a patch of turbulence. He writes her letters when she’s lonely in Haiti. And he dances like he’s in a music video for her because she deserves a Secret Santa gift as crazy, thoughtful, weird, and wonderful as she is.
This wasn’t just a regular, run-of-the-mill TV scene. This wasn’t just a good TV scene. This was a moment. This was one of those “I’ve fallen in love with a fictional man and I don’t even regret it” moments. This was Jim saying he’d save the receptionist. This was Ben giving Leslie waffles and chicken soup to help cure her flu. This was Nick yelling “Not like this!” when Jess wanted him to kiss her and Castle bringing Beckett every kind of takeout food known to man. This was a moment that deserves to be talked about, to be watched 500 times in a row, and to be written/Tweeted about until everyone on the planet has seen it. It surprised me, and I love being pleasantly surprised by people—real or fictional.
No, Mindy and Danny didn’t kiss last night. But do we really need them to do that yet? I’m content with where they are right now, even if in the moment I was screaming at Danny to follow Mindy outside when she told him she was getting fresh air. I love their tension, their slow awakening to their own feelings, and, most importantly their friendship. I don’t need anything more right now.
Except more dance numbers, of course.