TV Time: The Mindy Project 3.04

Source: enstarz.com

Source: enstarz.com

Title I Slipped

Two-Sentence Summary When Danny tries something new in the bedroom without asking Mindy first, Mindy worries that she’s not adventurous enough for him. Meanwhile, Morgan tries to mediate Peter and Jeremy’s feud over Lauren.

Favorite Line “Oh cookie dough, please solve my problems.” (Mindy)

My Thoughts I’m going to be honest with you right off the bat so you can choose whether or not to keep reading this review: I didn’t like this episode. On many occasions when it comes to divisive episodes of television, I fall on the “love it” side of “love it or hate it.” This time, however, I didn’t hate “I Slipped,” but I definitely didn’t love it. There were some parts I genuinely enjoyed, but there were also some parts I am still struggling with over 12 hours later.

Let’s start with the biggest positive surprise to come from this episode: I found the B-plot very entertaining. (Maybe I just love references to The Parent Trap?) I thought Ike Barinholtz was used just enough to be really funny. His excitement over Mindy’s vacation idea was perfect, and I thought him calling Peter and Jeremy “two basics having a bitch-fest” was one of the funniest moments of the episode. His pronunciations of “etc.” and “exclam” (aka exclamation points) made me laugh, too.

It was also nice to see a resolution to the Peter/Jeremy fight—at least within the confines of the practice. Mindy was right; it was unprofessional and needed to stop. The water throwing/singed eyebrows highlighted how idiotic their fighting was, and I liked that we were supposed to see it as dumb and immature.

However, I also liked that I was able to see both sides of Peter and Jeremy’s feud after this episode. Yes, I was genuinely sad for Peter when Lauren chose Jeremy, but Peter still has a lot of growing up to do, which this episode highlighted. He’s Mindy’s “most perverted friend,” and he definitely has a long way to go towards understanding and really respecting women. I thought Jeremy stating that he didn’t “steal” Lauren was a good way to get viewers to see that he’s not really a villain (that and the adorably sad banjo playing). Lauren made a choice; she wasn’t stolen. It was nice to see a TV show address that kind of problematic rhetoric head-on.

In a surprising turn of events, it was the A-plot that bugged me this week. I would have actually taken a lot more of Morgan complaining about nobody celebrating him becoming a nurse practitioner (and the rest of the practice scrambling to give him awful gifts) and less Mindy and Danny trying to convince me that their relationship was becoming stale already.

Maybe my problem is I’m the rare TV viewer who likes stable, comfortable (some might say “boring”) relationships as much as sparks and fireworks. For example, I think the beginning of the episode was supposed to show that Mindy and Danny needed to spice things up, but I enjoyed the apple pie eating and the casual “I love you” (the first we’ve heard from Mindy) while Mindy was brushing her teeth. Since this relationship is new to us as viewers, this stuff is still cute and not boring (at least not to me), and, with Diamond Dan and closet sex still fresh in my mind, I had trouble believing these characters were losing their spark in the bedroom. If anything, this felt like a plot that would have made more sense later in the season.

I will give the writers credit for aiming high when it came to the concept of this episode. I’m pretty sure this was the first network sitcom to spend an entire half hour talking about anal sex (without actually saying the words, of course). And that topic itself wasn’t what made me uncomfortable with the story. I’m all for people consensually doing what feels right for them in their own bedrooms, and open communication about sex is a topic that shouldn’t be taboo in shows about relationships.

My problem came in the way the show handled Mindy’s discomfort with what she thought Danny wanted and the weird tone of the plot’s resolution. Overall, the message of both partners needing to be open with one another about their sexual comfort levels was a good one, but the way it was depicted seemed like one of those episode ideas that worked better and was funnier in the writers’ room than it ended up being on TV.

I may not have loved Danny lying to Mindy about his “slippage,” but it made sense for his character to not want to talk about something that might embarrass him—sexual adventurousness. It even made sense for Mindy to want to try it despite her discomfort with the idea because she wants to make Danny happy. When it comes to men, Mindy Lahiri is a people-pleaser still to a somewhat sad degree.

While I thought it was in-character for Mindy to worry about losing Danny if she didn’t try to let him get to “fifth base,” it made me uncomfortable to watch. On a personal level, it makes me anxious when I see other women feeling pressured to go beyond their physical comfort level in a relationship. So Mindy drugging herself in order to get Danny to see her as more than an “old shoe” was very difficult for me to watch. (Side note: I can ignore a lot of Mindy’s dumb moments, but as a doctor, she should know how dangerous it is to take a sedative and mix it with alcohol like that. Just having her take the sedative and react badly to it would have been enough.) I know I was supposed to be laughing, but I was cringing the entire time.

I was also cringing as Danny tried to explain why he wanted to try to “explore” with Mindy (something about pioneers and finding gold). It made me almost as uncomfortable as Mindy drugging herself to hear Danny try to excuse away his attempt at anal sex without asking Mindy if she was okay with it by saying that men “trying things” is quintessentially American. I understand that we probably were supposed to see this as Danny rambling because he’s uncomfortable himself, but it felt wrong to me.

I did like that both Mindy and Danny seemed to reach an agreement in the end about consent and asking before trying anything new. However, I didn’t love the note that the hospital scene ended on. I know it was just a kiss, but ending what was a good moment of development with “Asking sucks!” was probably not the smartest choice. It may have seemed funny, but it bothered me within the overall context of the episode.

Ultimately, I think this is one of those episodes that I can’t be unbiased about because so much of it touched on things that make me personally very uncomfortable. I’d be interested to hear what you thought of it, because I know this was probably one of the most divisive episodes of The Mindy Project in the show’s three seasons.

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14 thoughts on “TV Time: The Mindy Project 3.04

  1. Enjoyed your review and respect your point of view. I personally found the episode hilarious! While I don’t agree with everything said here, I want to say thank you for this:

    “I may not have loved Danny lying to Mindy about his “slippage,” but it made sense for his character to not want to talk about something that might embarrass him—sexual adventurousness. It even made sense for Mindy to want to try it despite her discomfort with the idea because she wants to make Danny happy. When it comes to men, Mindy Lahiri is a people-pleaser still to a somewhat sad degree.”

    The one thing bothering me about people criticizing the episode is when they say that Mindy and Danny were not in character. I completely disagree with that and am glad you pointed this out. 🙂

    • Thank you so much not only for sharing your opinion but for doing it so respectfully. I can definitely understand why others would find the episode funny, even if it personally made me feel a lot of secondhand anxiety and discomfort. Here’s hoping the next episode puts us all on the same page in our love for the show again. 🙂

  2. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I liked the B-plot this week. I loved the #TeamPeter moment with Tamra. I liked the fact Morgan graduated and no one showed up but they all tried (and largely failed) to give him something to make up for it. I actually felt badly for Jeremy playing the banjo and his excitement over Morgan’s dinner invitation. I’m really glad that Jeremy and Peter agreed to be civil in the office because I was going to be irritated if that continued for too long and neither came away looking like the fault was 100% their fault. I did hate Peter’s bandages over his singed eyebrows just because they were so distracting and it took me a while to figure out the bandages were intentional and not just a bad make-up job to try to remove his eyebrows.

    Like you though, I wasn’t a fan of Danny and Mindy’s plot this week, though there were things I liked. Danny and his Catholicism is a character detail that really works for me, especially because it gets brought up in so many differing circumstances. I also liked Mindy’s lingerie and the fact that despite her discomfort with the events of the scene, she was comfortable in it.

    Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of the “I slipped” excuse because that’s all it usually is. It is a way to deny responsibility for a failed action and it’s just always bothered me. So from that moment (since I didn’t bother to look at the episode title beforehand) I didn’t love where that plot was headed. It made me sad, but I thought Mindy thinking that Danny would leave her unless she gave him what she wanted in bed was in-character. You’re right, she’s a people-pleaser who is used to molding herself to whatever her boyfriend wants at the time. She’s the most herself with Danny but that doesn’t mean that aspect of her personality is gone. Danny’s “old shoe” comment felt a little out-of-character for me though. He’s not always the best at communication but I think even he would realize that would come off badly.

    I was grateful they brought up the importance of communication at the end of the episode. It is such an important concept for couples, especially as it relates to concerns/problems/new things in the bedroom. Sorry Danny, you are not a pioneer and this isn’t the place to strike out on your own and hope you find gold. It then lost that message a little bit with the “asking sucks” moment shortly afterward but hopefully people will take away the lesson about communication anyway.

    • First of all, thank you for helping me work through all my feelings about this earlier today. And it makes me feel better to hear that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did about this episode. I definitely think Danny’s “old shoe” comment felt wrong for his character and wrong for the relationship so far, since from what we’ve seen they don’t seem to be stuck in a bedroom rut yet.

      “Sorry Danny, you are not a pioneer and this isn’t the place to strike out on your own and hope you find gold.” – Did you take this directly from my internal monologue while watching his weird little speech? 😉

      And on a final note, I also agree that Mindy’s lingerie was gorgeous, and she looked beautiful in it.

  3. So in my seasoned four episodes of The Mindy Project, I can completely understand what and why you didn’t like the episode. For me the gold standard of swinging for the fences of taboo is Seinfeld’s “The Contest”. This misses that bar by quite a bit. Still I did find moments along the way funny and agree that it was the best use of b-plot I’ve seen. I made the comparison before about Mad About You and I think if The Mindy Project wants to become a modern day, dating take on that it is going to need to expand its vision of what dating means.

    I loved Rhea Perlman’s episode for a ton of reasons, but one of the primary ones was that it dealt with the public aspects of being a couple. You said, “If anything, this felt like a plot that would have made more sense later in the season.” And that for me hits the nail on the head. Not because the subject matter was uncomfortable, but because I feel like Mindy Project is front loading and centralizing Mindy and Danny’s sexual relationship over their overall relationship. I suspect that is because the first couple of seasons established their relationship in the context of friends however, I think they miss a real opportunity here if they don’t expand on the push/pull of becoming romantic partners out of friendship and what that means to re calibrate in the context of adding romance and intimacy, not merely sex to a relationship that extends beyond friendship.

    What will get boring for me is if the trope is to return to sexual hijinks as a point of contention for these two. Exploring and experimenting is certainly a part of a committed relationship, but again as you said it is too soon for this to be a point of tension and concern. Not to beat a dead horse but one of the things that I thought Mad About You did incredibly well was mine the comedy in the sexual ups and downs that occur in a long term committed relationship. We haven’t had enough time with Danny and Mindy as a couple for the vantage point to only be held to one piece of the relationship. I think that is perhaps why the episode was so divisive.

    I think that if they manage to continue to use Peter effectively as an unfiltered sound board for Mindy the b-plots and ensemble might start to feel less disjointed from the show as a whole. I think leaning into the fact that this is a show about Mindy and Danny and allowing the characters around them to feed into it would be a great direction, because it isn’t an ensemble piece and that isn’t where I’m invested as a viewer.

    So I think this episode had some moments – the best joke for me was when Danny asked to talk in her office and she reminded him it only had one door and perhaps that wasn’t enough for him. But overall the content of the episode while shooting for the taboo, merely came off as a bit forced. Too much too soon. Part of me wanted to say to the TV, relax, we’re invested and we want to take the ride, you don’t have swing for the fences every time you come up at bat. The ordinary can in fact be extraordinary.

    • “Part of me wanted to say to the TV, relax, we’re invested and we want to take the ride, you don’t have swing for the fences every time you come up at bat. The ordinary can in fact be extraordinary.”

      That’s exactly how I felt when I watched this episode unfold. The show has been doing a great job with the little moments between these characters, so it was painfully obvious that they were trying to manufacture some big, controversial thing in this episode. I know the ratings aren’t doing well and the show itself is still fighting for a full-season pickup, but this felt like a ploy to get people talking by forcing a storyline that would have felt more organic in a later episode.

      Like you said, there hasn’t been enough time with Mindy and Danny in a relationship for this kind of storyline to feel necessary. From what we’ve been shown, there doesn’t seem to be anything stale about their bedroom life yet. This was a classic “telling versus showing” situation, which isn’t good writing at all. They had to tell us their relationship was getting too comfortable because it contradicted with what we’d been shown so far.

      On a happier note, I totally agree with you about Peter. He’s at his best when partnered with Mindy, and it seems the writers have figured that out.

  4. Ok, I will admit, I haven’t watched this episode and I dont think I am going to. Considering I already have to watch this show with the remote firmly planted in my hand ready to FF to get through uncomfortable scenes, I doubt I would watch much of it anyway.

    From your review and our other lovely unofficial tv club commentors, I am going to co-sign on the wish that the show do more than just focus on Mindy and Danny’s sexual relationship. As you said, it seems far too early in the relationship for all this (if they are worried about things being stale a few months in, I would hate to know how they feel in 5 years. Even if you are the most adventurous sexual person in the world, there is really only so much you can do). There are so many wonderful parts of a new relationship (and humorous situations) that have nothing to do with sex. I want to see those things too.

    Annnnd here is me complaining about lack of balance for the second time this week. :P. I think writers need to stop being so worried about being “boring”. As long as you have variety, things wont be boring. You do the same thing every week, even if its something you think is exciting like drama and sex, yes, I am going to get bored. Unless of course Danny is dancing. That can happen every week.

    • “Unless of course Danny is dancing. That can happen every week.” – From your mouth to Mindy Kaling’s ears. 😉

      I definitely think there’s a fear of being “boring” with this show, and part me can’t blame them. Ratings have never been good, and the show didn’t get a full-season pickup yet (and the odds aren’t looking good that it will). However, there are plenty of ways to tell funny and strong stories without looking like you’re reaching for ratings or for people to be talking about you (which is exactly what I think this episode was designed to do).

      And I definitely would recommend you skip this one, because I was ready to reach for the FF button myself if I wasn’t watching it live. 😉

  5. I found the episode to be fairly enjoyable and funny when I watched it last night, but I was uncomfortable with the idea that “talk to your partner” wasn’t the first response to Danny’s “I slipped” crap. Especially considering they are both obgyns! Being open and honest with your partner and making sure everyone is relaxed and ready for whatever you’re wanting to do together should be a key thing they talk about with their patients (right?! or is that just Planned Parenthood?). And drugging yourself, especially combining drugs and alcohol, is just bad news. If you’re not keen to do something consciously, just don’t do it. That whole thing was super-creepy. If she was going to be out of it, Danny definitely shouldn’t be doing anything to/with her! I hadn’t thought about Mindy being a people pleaser – that is a consistent character detail. And Danny’s Catholic denial – I might have been more interested to see that explored more. But yeah, the whole premise was questionable because they haven’t seemed to have any sex problems… I agree that this story line might have worked better later in the relationship (maybe much later) but I would have preferred to see it go in a different direction.
    I was glad someone pointed out that no one “stole” Lauren.

    • I had the same immediate reaction as you—I found a lot of things funny while watching, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of discomfort about so much of what was happening. The fact that an OBGYN wouldn’t think to make sure his partner was comfortable with trying something new in bed bugged me a lot. I don’t care if Danny assumed Mindy had done that before—he still should have made sure she was physically ready and comfortable (and comfortable on all other levels too) before trying it. And yes, it’s important for people to know that if your gut tells you you’re not comfortable with trying something (especially to the point that you have to be drunk/drugged to do it), you shouldn’t ever feel like you have to do it. It makes sense for Mindy as a character, but it made me super uncomfortable as a viewer.

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