Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: The Mindy Project 1x04, "Halloween"

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder; in the case of The Mindy Project, that cliche held true for me. When the show finally returned last night after a two week break, I was pretty pumped for a new episode.

"Halloween" focused on two storylines. The A story dealt with Mindy's relationship with Josh and her quest to find the perfect costume to wear as Josh's date to a Halloween party. The B story consisted of Danny and Jeremy's quest to get their driver's licenses.

I feel like being mean, so let's talk about the B story first. There was almost nothing I liked about this storyline. I mentioned in my last review of The Mindy Project that Danny is growing on me, and I didn't necessarily dislike the idea of his character in this episode. In practice, however, he just wasn't that fun to watch. I suspect that this was largely due to his sharing the storyline with Jeremy.

I really don't like Jeremy's character. His story in "Halloween" centered around his supposed ability to charm anyone, but I had a hard time buying him as charming when I dread watching his scenes. More than anyone else on the show, he feels forced and unoriginal. He just drags down the show, and it would be much better off without him.                                

There were only two somewhat positive things I have to say about the driver's licenses plot. One, I thought it was kind of funny that Danny had taken the test enough times that the DMV workers recognized him. Second, I liked that there were touches of Halloween in this portion of the episode like costumes and trick-or-treaters walking about but that it wasn't really a Halloween story. It was an interesting choice to balance a non-Halloween storyline with a more festive one; it's just a shame that it wasn't a better story.

Fortunately, the Mindy portion of the episode was more enjoyable.

While I don't necessarily like him, I continue to be intrigued by Josh's character. I'm honestly not completely sure what to make of him. I'm used to rom-com love interests being classified as either the good guy or the jerk. The better rom-coms might introduce a third category of okay guy that's just wrong for our heroine. Josh seems to fall into all three, although he probably fits best into the jerk one.

Bragging about taking a model to last year's Halloween party and talking about all the Caitlins in his phone definitely fall into the jerk category. Plus, there's something about Josh that's slightly serial-killer-esque. While it could maybe still be classified as serial-killer-esque, dressing up as Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride after finding out that it's Mindy's favorite movie showed that Josh at least has a genuine interest in Mindy. That seems to reveal that he's at least a little bit of a good guy. However, the two don't have a lot of chemistry together or much in common. These two things along with the likely future pairing of Mindy and Danny mean that Josh also falls into the third category.

In addition to the Josh stuff, Mindy also spent much of the episode in search of a costume. Costumes are one of the best parts of Halloween episodes, and this was a fun way for us to see a bunch of them. I have to admit that I was partial to her Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy costume, but I liked that her costume ended up being something she threw together at the last minute. It was a little bit ridiculous that Mindy and her coworkers seemed to spend the whole work day trying to find her a costume, but it was still fun to watch.

I didn't feel like the reappearance of Mindy's ex-boyfriend Tom (Bill Hader) contributed much to the episode (other than giving Mindy a reason to accept Josh's invitation), but I did greatly enjoy his and Mindy's conversation about Breaking Bad spoilers.

The funniest part of the episode for me was when the stray cat suddenly appeared in Mindy's lap. It reminded me a lot of an episode of Happy Endings where Penny finds stray cats in her "haunted" apartment, but Mindy really sold the moment.

It's hard to give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to an episode where I really didn't care for half of it at all, but the other half of the episode was strong enough that I can it at least give one thumb half-up and maybe a pinky. The Mindy Project still has quite a few kinks to work out and doesn't feel like it's hit its groove yet. Still I'm probably going to miss it when it's preempted by election coverage next week, and that's a good sign.

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