The Mindy Project Season 1 Review “Danny’s Friend”

On this episode of “The Mindy Project,” we got a deeper look at Dr. Danny’s background and upbringing on Staten Island, and met “Danny’s Friend” Stevie (Bill Tangradi, of “Argo” fame) in the process. We also had a return visit from Heather (Ellie Kemper), who looks to be moving into Mindy’s building, so if Kaling’s show gets renewed for next season, I guess her fellow “The Office”-vet will have a new home lined up, which is fine by me, as I loves me some redheads.

Heather, as some of you return watchers may recall, got into a knock-down drag-out fight with Mindy at her Christmas party, when it was discovered that they were both dating the same guy, Josh. She shows up randomly to ask Mindy’s forgiveness via a razzleberry pie, which sounds like something made up by Willy Wonka. What’s next: snozzberries? (And yes, I double-checked via captions to make sure she didn’t say raspberries, so settle down, fact-checkers.)

Mindy, as Heather literally bows down before her in supplication: “Okay, that’s enough. You’re not a serf. Just stand up.”

Exhibit A for why “The Mindy Project” should be renewed for another season: Where else are you gonna hear a “serf” joke? Or one of my favorite words: “kerfuffle”?

Mindy’s pal Maggie is onboard immediately, as baked goods are involved, but Mindy isn’t having it: “You are such a friend slut!” That is now my favorite saying, and I already know a few candidates for its usage. Thank you, Ms. Kaling!

I also liked her admonishment for Maggie not to eat the pie because “that could be, like, one of those pies from ‘The Help’.”

Exhibit B: Can I just say that I like jokes you have to have awareness from something else like a book, movie, or television show to get? Although I fear such inside jokes may hurt Kaling’s renewal cause; if I’m being honest, I do love the effort.

Meanwhile, everyone at the office had reason to suspect Dr. Danny had a drug problem, as he was writing prescriptions, seemingly to himself. Mindy had no problem believing it: “I guess it kind of makes sense…the secretiveness, the sweating…he loves The Doors, which I don’t understand.”
Naturally, the gang sees fit to stage an intervention, complete with snacks and…alcoholic beverages? Danny is not amused: “Who serves wine at an intervention?”

Turns out Danny is actually giving the meds to an injured friend, Stevie, from his old neighborhood. Well, injured might be a bit strong, as the guy is a bit of a con who, hilariously, scalps tickets for the likes of Disney’s Ice Capades. I loved his street pitches for it: “Princesses on ice! Snow White, Belle…the Chinese one…Ariel, busting out of her shells!” His pitch to Danny was also priceless: “Hey D! You know any little girls wanna see some Capades?” LOL.

The problem is, he’s actually dating Mindy, after having approached her intending to tell her off for causing Danny to stop giving him pills. His pseudo-flirting/taunting was so bizarre, it’s no wonder Mindy was caught off-guard: “Wow, you’ve got really wide feet.” Said Mindy, just as weirdly: “Thank you! I almost never fall down!”

Back at Mindy’s apartment, Heather comes by to tell her she didn’t get the apartment in Mindy’s building after an anonymous source bad-mouthed her in a letter to the landlord. Mindy confesses it was her and another fight ensues, with Morgan rushing to Heather’s defense: “Listen up, Copper Top. As long as I am alive, you will have a roof over your head.” (Love the “copper top” nickname, and I’m totally gonna use that one, too!)

Eventually, they make nice as Heather was going to have to move back home to Delaware if she didn’t get the apartment. They go down to talk to the landlord, played by the voice of Homer Simpson himself, Dan Castellaneta, who had quite the assemblage of birds for whatever reason. Actually, I do know the reason- it’s to make another Disney joke, so we’ll make that Exhibit C, courtesy of Morgan: “Excuse me, sir? There’s no way [the birds] can dress me, like in ‘Cinderella’?” Love it.

Shortly thereafter, Mindy discovers the truth about Stevie and hits the roof when she finds out, insisting Danny immediately go out to Staten Island to confront Stevie and cut him off on the pills. She goes along as well so that she can dump him herself, now that she knows who Stevie really is. So, off Danny, Mindy and Morgan go to confront Stevie, with Morgan not faring too well on the barge, turning into a “barfing giant” along the way.

Stevie isn’t happy about the confrontation, calling Danny first a bag of trash, then going him one better: “You know what? You’re too good for a bag. You’re a piece of trash lying there, all disorganized.” Convinced Danny is too good for his old hood, Stevie accused him of trading in his baseball cards for “croquet cards.”

Yet another fight ensues, this one of the mostly slap-happy variety, with a little pinching thrown in for good measure, with Stevie at one point picking Danny up off the ground and spinning him around in the air, “airplane” style. “You’re not too fancy with your legs up in the air, now are you?”

This leads me to Exhibit D: the esoteric jokes. Who else makes jokes about croquet and stages slap fights between guys? Not to mention a Nerds joke, which is apparently, Morgan’s “favorite food,” and he puts in the freezer to keep fresh! What the what?

The two eventually make up, and it turns out that the pills are actually for his ailing mom, who is taking all manners of the wrong medicine, including the aforementioned Nerds! We also get a glimpse of a young, fat Danny, who was apparently just as grumpy as a kid as he is as an adult. Mindy does give him props for dating “a lot of Puerto Ricans,” saying how “progressive it was for the 1960s.” “It was the 90s!” glowers Danny.

Silly stuff, to be sure, but a lot of fun. I just love left-of-center humor, and comedy you have to think about sometimes. While I’ll allow that sometimes the dialogue can be a bit awkwardly-phrased and stilted, I just think Kaling’s sense of humor is on point a good 90% of the time, you know?

I get that it’s not for everyone, but hey, you’d rather watch a typical cheesy sitcom instead? Knock yourself out- I’ll take “The Mindy Project” over the typical sitcom dreck any day of the week. And that, my friends, is the final piece of evidence I have to present.

Feel free to sound off yourself on “The Mindy Project” below in the comments section. Love it or hate it, your opinions are much appreciated!