Like Mindy herself, The Mindy Project will have to figure out to soar without Danny. The problem is, it’s not quite there yet. This week is an unfortunate stumble, with a few infuriating subplots and a couple that not only doesn’t have chemistry, it has, like, negative chemistry.

You know, we can take a few cracks, like that Mindy is a grown-ass woman with a medical degree who somehow doesn’t know what the word “condominium” means. But we’re supposed to buy that she is a woman who works in a medical practice and has two side jobs that she created, and she’s financially illiterate? That until recently, still had her father manage her bills for her? There have been only a few meetings with Mindy and Morgan actually meeting with an accountant, so who knows just how Mindy’s various offices are run. But it’s borderline-insulting to think that a successful business woman in her 30s can’t pay her own bills. Her smackdown by Whitney in the bathroom was entirely well-deserved. I get that this was used as a plot hook to get Mindy together with Whitney, and to have her come to terms somewhat with her new life as a single mother, but it just didn’t land.

Speaking of stuff that didn’t make sense, how was Mindy, who is ostensibly worried about her finances, able to go out with Whitney all week? Instead of saying she was busy at work, she really only needed to say one thing: She has a child. On her own. There’s no way she can/should be going out every night.

But who could blame her for wanting to go out with Whitney, which is a fun part for Cristin Milioti, a 180-degree turn from her usual romantic staple in sitcoms like A To Z and How I Met Your Mother. Somehow she makes for a great tightly wound ex-cokehead, effortlessly casting off zingers at the unarmed men like Jeremy and Jody in her midst.

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Of course, these two both prove to be distressingly inept this episode, as Jeremy must pay an older woman to go out with him to show that he’s not shallow, thereby opening the way to dating younger woman. There’s something so disturbing about this plotline, which would have been a lot less mean-spirited if Jeremy actually did date Juliet for real. At least we can all agree that Valerie Mahaffey looks amazing. And at least no one but Jody thought it was a big deal that Jeremy was dating her.

But worst of all, the show is somehow trying to drum up some kind of romantic notion between Mindy and Jody. Say whatever you like about what the show did to Mindy and Danny’s relationship, or how the character of Danny took a turn for the worse, but the two had amazing chemistry from day one. Even when Mindy was dating a string of guys, from Seth Meyers to Timothy Olyphant to Ben Feldman, it was always interesting to see how Danny was going to react. It’s an intangible quality, and one that, sadly, Mindy and Jody do not have. It’s not like it was super well-established what Mindy and Danny brought to the table, yet the tension between them was almost palpable. The match between Jody and Mindy is just as confounding, but without any chemistry to back it up. Jody himself rattles off all of Mindy’s faults frequently, so what is the appeal for him? It’s nice when he’s a supportive friend, helping Mindy through this tough time (outlined in his letter), but there doesn’t appear to be much (any) momentum for pushing it past that.

Like with Mindy herself, maybe it’s just too soon. We had seasons of buildup for Mindy and Danny. Maybe we need more episodes of her on the dating scene, someone more along the likes of Olyphant’s “Sk8r Man,” less of hapless types like Ross Marquand last episode. Best of all, is getting to see Mindy stand on her own with Leo. Probably my favorite scene this episode was her getting scolded by the Suze Orman book while hanging out with her baby in the kitchen.

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All of this would be a lot easier to take if the show, frankly, was funnier. Jody isn’t a fan of female entrepreneurs because he saw part of Joy on a plane; it’s because he’s actively helping Mindy with both of her side businesses. And even he isn’t clueless enough to think that going to shop for a grandfather clock is at all romantic. I like seeing Mindy walk into a glass wall and fall down as much as the next person, but there just weren’t enough of those moments.

Can we get some more scenes like the one with Leo, or awkward playdates, or some followup with the hilarious Gratitude and Sriracha moms? Because when it comes to full-on romance, Mindy’s not ready. We’re all not ready.

Stray observations

  • I know that Mindy and Morgan’s relationship has a lot of inappropriate on-boundaries, but letting him see up her skirt for his (probably fake) birthday is over some sort of line.
  • It was interesting to see the staff in the hospital and not just in the break room.
  • Besides Danny (Chris Messina) taking a powder, Charlie Grandy, one of my favorite Mindy writers, hasn’t penned an episode since “The Lahiris And The Castellanos” in November.
  • Did love Garret Dillahunt’s delivery when he greeted Jeremy’s new date: “You must be his Aunt Imogene! I thought you were lost at sea!”
  • My retirement plan is also to sing on a cruise ship.
  • Mindy’s best outfit: I didn’t even like the outfits that much! A few too many sweater vests. Probably her pajamas with Leo. Or the purple print dress in her office scene with Morgan.

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