Title The Devil Wears Lands’ End
Two-Sentence Summary Mindy’s attempts to win over the new hospital administrator lead to disaster when she almost breaks up a marriage. Meanwhile, Peter and Jeremy’s friendship gets its groove back during a Dartmouth beer pong tournament.
Favorite Line “Am I the new mayor of Shondaland?” (Peter)
My Thoughts After a bit of a misstep last week, I really enjoyed this week’s episode of The Mindy Project. I thought it was the funniest episode of the season so far, and it was also the most balanced. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this was another episode where I liked the B-plot better than the A-plot, but this time it wasn’t because the A-plot was terrible. It was because the B-plot was really good.
I’m happy that Peter and Jeremy’s story was as strong as it was because Mindy and Danny’s was a little weak and clichéd in terms of its basic plot. I know that Mindy Lahiri is supposed to be a character who’s hard to like at times, but that doesn’t mean I can just excuse episodes where the character is really grating just because she’s supposed to be that way. I did, however, like seeing Danny act as her conscience because that’s what a partner is supposed to do—tell you when you’re not being your best self.
It was a bit unbelievable that one night out with Mindy would be enough to not just make the new doctor think she was lesbian but also to cause her to cheat on her wife. But I was happy to see that this episode didn’t focus on mining comedy out of Mindy pretending to be a lesbian (which could have gotten really offensive really fast) but instead on Mindy pretending that Danny was upset about the kiss.
And while the A-plot wasn’t terribly compelling on a plot or character level, it did give us the comedic genius of Danny trying to interpret what Mindy wanted him to say during his rant about her “infidelity.” This was such a great use of Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling, and it might have been the single funniest moment I’ve seen so far this season. When he interpreted hanging as “I will go to the Statue of Liberty,” I was actually crying from laughing so hard, and it was all because of Messina’s perfect delivery. Danny was trying so hard to be convincing even as he was saying ridiculous things, which made it even funnier. And all of that was topped off with the brilliant bit of physical comedy that was Danny throwing the wine in Mindy’s face and then yelling “I can’t have a baby!” Once again, Messina’s commitment to the joke was a thing of beauty.
Commitment was also an essential part of what made this episode’s B-plot so good. It was truly more than the sum of its parts. Before the episode aired, I was cringing at the idea of Peter and Jeremy playing beer pong with Shonda Rhimes, but I was taught once again not to judge a storyline before seeing how it all plays out. It wasn’t just genuinely funny; it had a lot of heart, too. And it gave us the character development that was lacking a little bit in the A-plot.
Ed Weeks was at his best in “The Devil Wears Lands’ End.” From casually talking about throwing ice into his father’s glass as a child to his “Dartmouth bro” persona (which crumbled perfectly in the face of Rhimes), he made me laugh more than anyone else in this episode. And I thought Weeks and Adam Pally had a great sense of comedic chemistry in this episode that grew into a sense of genuine understanding as their story progressed. They make great scene partners when they’re not fighting over a girl.
In fact, in this episode they weren’t fighting over a girl; they were battling against a woman—the only woman allowed to enter the Dartmouth beer pong tournament: Shonda Rhimes. This was stunt casting at its finest, and Rhimes was used just enough to be funny without having to really act.
In the end, the B-plot was about moving Jeremy and Peter beyond their feud over Lauren and into a better place. It started out silly but ended up becoming a story with some weight behind it. Peter was so upset about the way he lost Lauren because so many of his girlfriends left him that “Lefty” became his nickname. The moment he told Jeremy that and the moment when Jeremy wanted to let Peter pick a new nickname, I found myself genuinely caring about these characters in a way that surprised me. Who knew that a storyline involving a beer pong montage set to “Turn Down For What” could also have moments of real character growth?
While there was some real growth for certain characters in “The Devil Wears Lands’ End,” my favorite thing about it was that it was simply a very funny half-hour of television. So here’s a short list of some of my favorite jokes in the episode:
• Everyone thinking Mindy’s phone was going off again only to discover that Morgan also has “Fancy” as his ringtone
• Mindy accidentally saying “love you” as she walked out of the new doctor’s office
• The communal toothbrush
• The continuation of excellent (and accurate) Catholic jokes, as Danny compared suicide and masturbation in terms of how Catholics view both sins
• The continuation of horrible Dartmouth nicknames (Al Bundy, Ted Bundy, MLK,…)
• Kaling’s delivery of “You are very well taken care of!”