The Mindy Project: Returns for Season Two, but “It’s Messy”

"All My Problems Solved Forever": Mindy returns to NYC, and finds the practice a bit...different since she last was there.

“All My Problems Solved Forever”: Mindy returns to NYC, and is surprised by her replacement (James Franco).

Maybe FOX should’ve kept that original show title.

The Mindy Project’s second season premieres on Tuesday, September 17, but FOX released the episode 2×01 a week early. They did this with the pilot last year, too, and the marketing actually worked. The show created a massive buzz, and Mindy Kaling became the new rom-com, sit-com “It” girl.

That is, she was, until became clear the show lacked direction and characters remained underdeveloped. Cast changes and airing episodes out of order also contributed to the show’s inconsistent tone. The renewal for another season helped, though. It gave the writers a definite end for one story, and to set up for the next.

So, I crossed my fingers for the season two premiere. I really wanted to love this show, despite irritating characters (e.g. Morgan, Beverly, & Casey) and barely visible story arcs.

But “All My Problems Solved Forever” is a hot mess. There’s barely any time to register Mindy’s narration (through a letter for Danny) of how she’s happy with Casey, doing doctor stuff and building buildings. We get to see Casey and Mindy hanging out in Haiti for two minutes. Casey proposes; she accepts. Cut to the interior of a tent where they’re about to have sex.

(Side note: I don’t understand why his character is a Christian minister. He could be a social activist or humanitarian, and I would believe his and Mindy’s relationship so much more. )

But as the newly engaged couple make-out, suddenly Mindy’s stomach hurts and she has to go to NYC to have her gallbladder removed. Yep.

And things at the Shulman & Associates have changed. Jeremy’s wearing a fat suit, and Danny and Christina are getting sex therapy from the new OB/GYN, Dr. Paul Leotard (guest star James Franco). A.K.A., the new Dr. L, whom Mindy feels is trying to replace her.

All of it is too much at once, because we’re meant to believe Mindy has grown as a character since committing to Casey and traveling to Haiti. She tells Danny she’s happy; she even agrees to a small wedding in her apartment with only her coworkers as guests. (Sidenote #2: Where are Mindy’s best friends? Doesn’t she have a tier of them?) I have to admit, it was cute when Mindy and Casey discuss their weird families and trying to figure out a way to avoid the big expensive marriage gathering. But then she admits that maybe she was just good at pretending to be happy. Also, she didn’t want to go back to Haiti.

How convenient that Casey totally understands what she wants in life. He puts off the wedding (“Mindy, I don’t want to marry you…I MEAN LIKE THIS!” “Why would you say it like that??”) so they can plan a more Mindy-style shindig, and tells her she doesn’t need to come to Haiti just for him.

Just like the end of a Jane Austen novel, huh? Well, sort of. Everything is perfectly wrapped up, because it’s obvious that guest star James Franco won’t take Mindy’s place at the office. Casey’s out of the way, and so is Christina. Wow, anything can happen. What if Mindy finds herself attracted to another man while Casey is still away? What if Danny finally admits how he feels? The problem with the show is that it tries to over-complicate when it should just Keep It Simple, Stupid. So many characters pop up, and then thrown away. Reoccuring subplots or character dynamics are erased in a later episodes. It’s predictable, which is the issue with poorly written comedies. The Mindy Project’s premise originally was about an OB/GYN professional trying to get her love life balanced so she could live in a real life Hollywood romantic-comedy. But Mindy Lahiri is such a random character; the only consistent traits she possesses are materialistic love and being a capable leader of the practice.

Mindy x Danny

At least Danny seems aware of his attraction towards Mindy. And Mindy thinks of him as a trustworthy confidant. After all, he is the only friend who checked up on her when she didn’t come out right away for her apartment wedding. He listened to her advice about Christina. When Mindy’s wedding dress got peed on by Casey (Yup.), Danny says, “You know what I always thought you looked nice in?” and out Mindy comes, in her doctor scrubs. These two characters have always been featured beautifully together. Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling’s chemistry sparks and glitters, even when everything else going on in a scene feels mediocre. They’re the reason why I’m still watching The Mindy Project, and hopefully the show will continue to develop their friendship.

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