'Mindy Project' finale recap: When Danny loved Mindy

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Image Credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX

Sorry, Meg Ryan. Mindy Kaling — via Mindy Lahiri — just gave viewers an updated gold standard for romantic comedies. By paying homage to many of the greats — including all-stars of decades past such as Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and, of course, an emotional reunion atop the Empire State Building à la Sleepless in Seattle — Kaling gave fans of her rom-com sitcom the wish-fulfiilling ending viewers were hoping for — but with a weird Kaling twist.

As he displayed last week, Danny has recently discovered he’s very much in love with Mindy. And hanging out with her over the past months has made him realize that when it comes to love — especially if you’re in love with someone who worships at the altar of Bridget Jones — those kinds of declarations need to be of the grand-gesture variety. Cue some channeling of Tom Hanks circa 1998.

We begin on the subway, where Mindy made eyes at a cute guy. The next week, Mindy read a “Missed Connection” about their encounter, and realized the cute guy liked her back. Ignoring everyone in the office’s unease about the situation, Mindy began an email correspondence with Andy. Now, the second the You’ve Got Mail-ing began, it was obvious that Danny was on the other end of things, so I’m glad the show didn’t drag out that part too long. And sure enough, it was quickly revealed that Mr. Castellano was her mysterious paramour — the most shocking part of the whole thing may have been that Morgan was the one to finally crack the code about Dr. Andy MakeBelieve.

Danny explained to Morgan he was in love with Mindy (and Morgan all but became an honorary Bluth: “Her?”), but after promising Morgan he would help him out with Tamra, Morgan kept his mouth shut and waited for the most romantic of all romantic moments to occur on top of the Empire State Building. Small problem: Prior to her big date with Andy, Mindy had to go and inadvertently screw it all up. After a “We Need to End Things” convo with Charlie, who took the breakup super well, Mindy decided to swing by her BFF’s apartment so that he could help her get some gum out of her hair.

Danny — dressing up to resemble 2011′s Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper — tried to fend off Mindy and get her off to her date, but Mindy had some confessions to make: She’s glad the two of them aren’t together. Sure, she was really hurt at first, but — probably thanks to some He’s Just Not That Into You movie streaming on cable –  she’s now come to realize guys don’t break up with girls they secretly want to be with. Ouch. And with that mood-killing revelation, Mindy is off to meet Andy atop the building, and Danny is left holding his broken, confused heart in his hands. Of course, by not showing up for Mindy as himself, he let Mindy wait outside all night. Cold. Literally.

Naturally, staying outside got Mindy sick, and after finding out he’s the one responsible — and after fending off an attacking Tamra — Danny made his way to her apartment, soup in hand. He probably should have confessed right then and there, but, as Danny explained via voice-over, sometimes doing the right thing is really hard, particularly when Mindy was practically begging him to stay with her. She’ll do whatever boring activity he wanted! Instead, Danny informed her the two of them are going to watch When Harry Met Sally. “I’ll order whatever gave her an orgasm,” he attempted to joke. Pop culture references! True love is in bloom.

Harry Met Sally then Met The Cutest Montage I’ve Ever Seen. Over the course of weeks — and several Carrie Bradshaw-worthy outfits — Mindy and Danny took in New York City: eating soft pretzels, hanging out on bridges, basically visiting every place Meg Ryan had ever laugh-cried, to borrow Danny’s words. I thought we were building toward the perfect moment for Mindy and Danny to be honest about their painfully obvious attraction to each other, but just as I was imagining a picture-perfect Reese Witherspoon moment, good ol’ Andy re-entered the picture, via the subway. When Mindy saw the guy she thought had stood her up, she charged at him, ready to attack…which forced Danny to fess up that, er, it was actually him who had Catfished her.

A rightly furious Mindy stormed into Shulman & Associates with Danny chasing after her, right into the ladies room. Danny attempted to explain he was in love with her, and that he was trying to pull off a big, romantic gesture like in all those movies she loves. “You love me until you don’t,” Mindy declared. “I’m not going to do that again. I want something real.” Danny basically told her he was just a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to love him, and to please meet him at the top of the Empire State Building tonight at 8, but Mindy shut that down. “I can’t go. I have plans…to not be the stupidest person in the world.”

That night, the clock struck 9, and Mindy was holding firm to her resolution not to go — despite the fact that Danny is, in fact, waiting for her. But while Mindy is holed up in her office, the rest of the Shulman & Associates gang burst in and told her she had to go kiss the love of her life. “He laughs at all of your jokes,” Morgan explained. “And let’s be honest. Comedy isn’t your strong point.” When that still didn’t convince her, Peter dragged her by her hair to Danny’s office, where he showed her a box that Danny kept in his drawer. In it there’s a picture of his brother, Rudy Giuliani, and, you guessed it, her earrings that she left behind a few months back. “So either he’s thinking about becoming a woman,” Peter explained to her. “Or he’s in love with you.” Finally convinced, Mindy realized she’s got a building to get to the top of, stat.

This episode, written by Mindy Kaling herself, did plenty of skewering of romantic comedies. But the final moments were pure bliss, a perfect marriage of both the wonderfully over-the-top as well as the genuinely sweet. It kicked off with Mindy — after being informed that the elevator briefly wasn’t working — huffing up all those flights of stairs. Danny, for his part, left the Empire State Building for pizza, where he ran into all his co-workers. (Side note: Do you think they all regularly get together for beers and gossip about Mindy and Danny? I would.) They informed him Mindy was at the Empire State Building right now, and he needed to get to the top before her. Cue the slo-mo run through New York City.

Obviously, this episode wasn’t going to end with any kind of devastation, so of course a breathless Danny — thanks to a working elevator — made it to the top first. He looked around, thinking he missed her, until he heard heavy breathing on the other side of the floor. And there was Mindy: Lying down, sweaty, one step away from dry heaving. And Danny couldn’t have been happier. “I’m sorry, Mindy” he told her. “Why did you make me come to this stupid place?” she asked. “Because you love it. And I love you.” All together now: Awwww. And right after that declaration the two were back to bickering — about how many kids they would have, being the sole breadwinner, and nannies. And then they totally made out. Let’s be honest: Meg Ryan wouldn’t expect anything less.

Things to think about while you’re climbing the stairs of the Empire State Building:

-“I’m a hot, smart woman with an ass that doesn’t quit.”

-“Old bag” Katie Holmes

-”I had a thing with Salinger. He based the prostitute in Catcher in the Rye on me.”

-”I hate to see you leave but I love to watch that butt.” “That’s not how that phrase goes.”

-”She knows I’m an HPV carrier. She knows I’ve never given a woman an orgasm.”

-“I’m being intimate with myself. Julianna Margulies is on The Good Wife.”

-“I bought a ring!…tone.”

-”How would you feel if all these guys were eye-banging you?” “I’d love it.”

-”If we have kids I’m going to get a million nannies to take care of them — all ugly, you perv.”

-”I want to go all in.” “Here?”

-”Anthony Francis.” “What, is he going to become the pope?”

This recap sent by my smartphone, which I have.

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