Title Crimes & Misdemeanors & Ex-BFs
Two-Sentence Summary Mindy is forced to ask her ex-boyfriend Cliff for legal help after getting served for not paying her taxes, but he only helps her after she lies about her and Danny ending their relationship. At the practice, Peter and Jeremy fight for Lauren’s affections with disastrous results for one of them.
Favorite Line “I can never repay you, and I don’t plan to.” (Mindy)
My Thoughts Sometimes I watch TV shows to intensely analyze every little detail, but sometimes I watch them for no other reason than they make feel good. The Mindy Project makes me feel good—it makes me laugh and smile and sigh in a way that is probably ridiculous at the wonderful stuff happening between Mindy and Danny. Yesterday I was having one of those days where I needed a little boost of happiness, and “Crimes & Misdemeanors & Ex-BFs” gave me exactly what I needed. Any other day, I might have found myself more annoyed with some of the strange things that happened plot-wise in this episode. But I can’t get too annoyed at a show that managed to make me genuinely feel good after a very long day.
Even the B-plot this week had at least one shining moment, which came to us courtesy of Adam Pally and his parade of horrible accents. I was in tears laughing at this; it may have been the funniest scene I’ve watched on TV so far this season. The rest of that plot suffered from the episode switch. (This was supposed to be the second episode.) We already knew Lauren chose Jeremy thanks to “Annette Castellano Is My Nemesis,” so this plot mattered even less than usual. But Peter’s accents and everyone’s exasperated reaction to Morgan claiming he didn’t make enough money to be taxed helped me enjoy the ensemble much more than I did last week.
Although the switching of episodes affected the timeline of the B-plot quite a bit, I can understand why the network chose to air things out of order. “Annette Castellano Is My Nemesis” was a stronger episode than “Crimes & Misdemeanors & Ex-BFs” for more reasons than just Rhea Perlman. The plotting was tighter, and the characters were a little more grounded than they were in this episode.
I can suspend my disbelief when it comes to TV characters doing certain things for the sake of comedy or an episode’s plot, but I can only do it up to a certain point. Mindy being smart enough to be a successful doctor but not smart enough to know to pay/file her taxes got very close to the line of what I will and won’t accept for the sake of a storyline. I completely believed her rants about national parks, the Liberty Bell, and Laura Linney, and it made perfect sense to me that this character would spend more money on emojis than rent. However, the central plot point—a financially stable and highly educated adult not knowing she had to file for income tax—was a stretch for me, to say the least.
I could also say the same of Danny’s divorce secret. I could have understood him not filing if he thought his annulment covered it, but that didn’t seem to be the case. There was something else going on there that deserved a little more attention than it got in this episode. However, if I had to choose, I would rather it was handled too quickly than dragged out as a source of angst for a whole episode or even longer. If there’s one thing that’s been really refreshing about The Mindy Project so far this season, it’s the lack of overwrought angst.
It was nice to watch Mindy and Cliff interact (and hilarious to watch the elevator fill up with people Mindy has been with) without ever worrying that something was going to happen to jeopardize her relationship with Danny. And it was nice to see Danny handle his divorce situation as soon as Mindy confronted him about it. They may have been keeping secrets from each other at different points throughout the episode, but those secrets never felt relationship-threatening. And that made it easy for me to enjoy Glenn Howerton more than ever because he wasn’t a threat anymore. I especially loved his delivery of “I’m a Red Sox fan,” as he took Danny’s beloved Yankee Stadium seat. As a Yankee fan myself, I knew how much that had to hurt Danny.
Ultimately, all the suspending of disbelief the plot of the episode asked me to do mattered so much less than the way it continued to build up my belief in Mindy and Danny as a couple. When they were together in this episode, it was perfect. They had me laughing from the start, as Mindy kept hiding and Danny kept finding her stuff in increasingly weird places around his apartment. I liked that this conflict was also directly addressed not too long into the episode. At first, it was handled comedically (with the suitcase), but then it was given real, emotional weight.
If you’re an Alias fan or a Castle fan, you know the importance of a drawer to a relationship. The Mindy Project did those shows one better by having Danny present Mindy with a whole nightstand (and what a pretty nightstand it was). The idea of these characters putting down permanent roots in each other’s worlds—especially Mindy in Danny’s world—is so important. Danny is an intensely private person, while Mindy shares everything—including her apartment—with all kinds of people. From what I recall, not even Danny’s ex-wife really had much of a presence in his apartment after they tried their relationship again; they moved into a new place together. By giving Mindy such a fixed place in his home, Danny was reinforcing his commitment to opening up his life to her—letting some of her pink become a permanent part of his neutral-toned world.
The easy, effortless chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina in this episode warmed my heart. If this episode—with the same plot about Mindy and tax evasion—would have happened in an earlier season, it would have probably been a dud, at least for me. But once again, Mindy and Danny’s relationship actually made the show better. Whether it was Danny’s weird “Mindy’s butt” voice, Mindy’s hand in his hair, the casual intimacy of her on his lap, or the little kisses sprinkled throughout, they felt like a real couple. Even Danny’s weird Grease thing was perfect—not just because it was another Danny detail but because Mindy completely accepted it and was willing to play along with it because it was for him. And is it just me, or does anyone else love how unafraid this show is of saying that Mindy and Danny have a great sex life? That’s an important part of relationships, too, and it also makes for some great moments of cheeky comedy—like the entire last bit with the closet.
All in all, this was probably the weakest episode of the season so far. However, the fact that there was still so much to like about it—especially on the Mindy/Danny front—has me feeling good about where the rest of this season is headed.