The Mindy Project is slowly becoming all about the boys. A random episode or two excluded, the show has been less a workplace comedy and more about finding Mindy a boyfriend. Which is fine — many viewers prefer the witty banter between Dr. Lahiri and her paramour of the week (farewell, Pastor Casey!) over watching Morgan doing something dumb and/or silly at the office. But fellow doctor Danny is an enigma. I can’t work out my own feelings about whether the paramour waiting in the wings to sweep Mindy off her feet should be recently divorced Danny Castellano.
The show doesn’t seem like it knows what it’s pushing either. For most of the first season, Mindy and Danny were set up like a classic sitcom will they/won’t they couple. They bantered during work hours, kind of hated each other (Oh, Mindy! As someone who watches as many romantic comedies as you do should know, that’s a clear sign of attraction!), became friends/kind-of confidants of sorts and then — right when it looked like a smoldering Danny was going to make a move — Mindy decided to up and move to Haiti with Pastor Casey.
This season, there have been definite moments where it looked like the duo was the show’s endgame. But there have been just as many where it looked like the program had decided to change course and really make them “just friends.” Whole episodes pass with not a single glance between the twosome, and their storylines seem to diverge more and more — with Danny dealing with ex-wife drama and Mindy working out the fallout of calling off her engagement.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the two of them,” Kaling told EW over the summer. “I know people think I love romantic comedies and I’d want them to end up together. Truthfully, they’re such different types of characters. As they are now, I can’t see them having a very functional relationship.”
Kaling is blessed to have great on-screen chemistry with literally every person on the planet, so while there are moments where I just want to scream, “OMG KISS ALREADY!” another part of me hopes they don’t. As fun as a rom-com ending would be, with Danny showing up at a party and giving a speech to rival the one that Harry gave Sally, how much more interesting is it to have them “just” be good friends, and not go down the New Girl road to relationship?
As Nick and Jess (and countless TV couples before them) show us, that first kiss can also be the kiss of death for entertaining television. Kaling is right that it’s hard to imagine any kind of smooth sailing for the duo — add the realities of relationships and you’ve got a sitcom that could easily lose the laughs. And there are plenty of television couples who have can’t-take-your-eyes-away sexual tension as friends, but it doesn’t totally translate to romance, no matter how much audiences thought they wanted it to happen. (Barney and Robin Round 1 on How I Met Your Mother comes to mind.)
Are you hoping Mindy and Danny eventually get together, or are you crossing your fingers Mindy finds her happily-ever-after with someone else?