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The Mindy Project: “Hooking Up Is Hard”

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I want to preface this by saying that I like Mark Duplass just fine, and I think he’s a perfectly comely fellow—I’ve always enjoyed his work on The League and never found it implausible when he sleeps with bevies of attractive ladies. He’s got a shaggy charm to him, for sure. Nonetheless, I think The Mindy Project is just waaay too in love with Mark Duplass. That wasn’t the only problem with this episode—this episode was pretty much bad from start to finish—but honestly, give Mark Duplass a rest. He can be very funny, but he’s saddled with this awful New Age douchebag character, and I just can’t look at him anymore.


Each Mindy episode seems to have a very broad, basic theme, and this was no different. This week: Mindy takes on casual sex! Oh, the wild and wacky world of life as a single lady, am I right? Thank God the show got rid of Mindy’s boyfriend so it can really delve deep into this weighty, unexplored issue. Now, some of you might point out that in the pilot episode of this program, Mindy had a casual encounter with her co-worker, Jeremy, something that the show implied happened more than once. While Mindy was a little regretful about it, she did not have a panic attack while planning it or consult with her girlfriends on proper casual sex etiquette. This is because she is not 16 years old; she’s an adult who’s at least somewhat in charge of her shit.

The Mindy Project has not forgotten about her encounter with Jeremy—they discuss it at some length in this very episode. Apart from that, though, Mindy approaches the idea of casual sex like it’s a bomb that needs disarming and consults with pretty much everyone on the show about it. You could say that over these 13 episodes, her character has really regressed from the version we saw in the pilot, but that’s not really true—as I’ve said before, there’s nothing consistent about this character. I definitely enjoyed the messy, but self-assured pilot episode version of Mindy much more.

So, Mindy’s all lonely or something—she’s working too hard, we’re told, and needs to put herself out there more (she’s on a date every other episode, but whatever, I can run with it). On Jeremy’s advice, she decides to have some casual sex, and as if by magic, Mark Duplass appears as sexy midwife Brendan, and it’s all going to happen.

That’s pretty much the whole plot of this episode: It’s a brief bit of setup, and then a further bit of obsessive planning, for this encounter. That’s a lot of pressure to put on your final act, and surprise surprise, it does not deliver. Sure, there’s some weird quirks to Brendan—he lives in a big open loft with his brother, he plays the guitar like an idiot, and he has a weird computer shower that Mindy gets trapped in. None of these things have anything to do with each other, and they’re just in there to fill time, because Fox has to air 22 minutes of this thing; it’s a whole agreement they have with the advertisers.


At a certain point, the other Duplass shows up with Morgan in tow, and Morgan has an asthma attack. Now, I’m sure this show is plotted out by a team of writers and they pin colored cards to cork boards or some such. But this honestly felt like said writers were just throwing up their hands in frustration, realizing they’d scripted an episode with no interesting end point. So Morgan might as well show up and have an asthma attack. It’s not funny, and it’s not particularly dramatic, but whatever, it’s something. I guess the point is that Mindy is shown that Brendan’s new-age healing ways have their place in the world, and that leads to him creepily insisting that they’ll have sex at some point—when he deigns, is the implication—and Mindy utterly unable to contain herself from his animal magnetism.

This is a very frustrated, disjointed review, but I’m honestly just disappointed in this episode, and this show. I can’t even look for signs of improvement anymore, because things like that disappear and reappear randomly, episode by episode. I’ll admit I enjoyed the brief Danny/Alison Williams plot about how he’s an old fogey and she likes crazy late-night audience participation plays, but I enjoyed it because they have decent chemistry, not because there’s anything remotely interesting about that kind of plot.


Bleh. Next week will be the first without Amanda Setton and Anna Camp. I think BJ Novak is showing up at some point? God knows there’ll probably be more Mark Duplass. They can’t all be this bad.

Stray observations:

  • Mindy wears a white sack over her head to ward off murderers because they’ll think she’s a murderer, and it’ll scare them off.
  • Oh, what’s that you say? Oh, you’re right—she and other characters wear that sack because it’s a weird, kinda funny, dumb sight gag. That’s the only reason that thing happens.
  • Mindy fantasizes about Danny’s apartment. “In my mind it’s a smoky speakeasy where people go to complain about technology.”
  • Morgan has a mannequin head and Bossypants in his bag. “Tina Fey can juggle it all.”
  • I laughed at Williams’ line about the Berlin Olympics.

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