The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 2

23 Jan

Back in September when The Mindy Project returned for season 2 we discussed our complicated and conflicting “will they/won’t they” feelings in relation to Danny and Mindy. The first season ended with a moment that strongly hinted at this move from friends to something more and the flirty bickering has been a feature of this show since the pilot.

The Mindy Project is a love letter to rom-coms and the work of Nora Ephron runs through its veins in both theme and specific references. The difference of course between a movie “will they/won’t they” and one on TV is that a TV show has to deal with the “what’s next?” question that normally punctuates a movie and The Mindy Project has to figure out what’s going to happen now that Mindy and Danny have kissed.

The Mindy ProjectAh yes the big kiss and I will gladly admit that I have jumped aboard this mighty ship; totally blaming the Aaliyah dance for this leap from friendship shipping to Mindy and Danny 4EVA. This isn’t the only reason as they’ve done a very good job of building from friendship to feelings and the Christmas episode cemented this notion.

Danny is probably Mindy’s best friend on the show, especially as Gwen has been a no show all season – where are all of Mindy’s lady friends? – they already know pretty much everything about each other and I definitely cry BS that Mindy would choose getting back to Cliff over being there for Danny is his time of personal crisis. Drama is required and it is often the case with sitcoms that disbelief should be suspended when it comes to the set up of these emotional highs (see Nick’s movie theater birthday party surprise on New Girl for a prime example of ignoring logistics).

New Girl has probably ruined me for first kisses; this was a great smooch and yet it doesn’t quite hit the wow heights of the Nick and Jess’ “Cooler” embrace. That’s not to say I haven’t watched it several times and will be watching it a few more as the video is below. In the same way New Girl has had to navigate the post-first kiss waters and has gone all in on Nick and Jess as a couple, The Mindy Project has to figure out where to go next. Getting to this point is the easy part; it’s the aftermath that is complicated.

First there is the whole narrative of the show to be considered as Mindy’s romantic quest is the core thesis; if Mindy has now found love where does this leave the dating aspect. Well Mindy has been in a couple of long term relationships before so it’s not an entirely new concept, but it’s never been with one of the regular characters and one that she works with. I’m actually jumping way ahead as one kiss does not a boyfriend make and Mindy has just sent Cliff a heartfelt letter trying to win him back. It’s just got a lot more complicated for Mindy and who knows what will happen on the rest of their flight home. The Danny/Mindy feelings barometer swings heavily towards Danny and even though Mindy reciprocated the kiss it’s unclear how strongly she feels about him in this way; is Danny going to get his heartbroken all over again?

The “will they/won’t they” is different for every show (in part this is why the so-called Moonlighting curse is ridiculous) and if I was writing my MA thesis now I would definitely ditch auteur theory for “will they/won’t they” as frankly I’ve written almost a dissertation amount on this subject since the start of TV Ate My Wardrobe. With The Mindy Project my anticipation levels are high because of how it uses rom-coms as the foundation for Mindy’s romantic interactions and as I mentioned earlier the after is one quandary movies don’t really have to deal with. They could have painted themselves into a corner or it could be the best thing to happen to the show. The next episode doesn’t air until April so they’ve got plenty of time to figure out whether this is Mindy’s Happily Ever After or not.

In the meantime here is the big moment from The Mindy Project’s winter finale.

4 Responses to “The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 2”


  1. Out of the Box: Look of the Week | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 28, 2014

    […] Mindy Project is back next week after they left us on a kissing cliffhanger in January and here is a sneak peek of how adorable Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling look together. Kaling is […]

  2. The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 3 | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 2, 2014

    […] For parts 1 and 2 of this evolving discussion on The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative head here and here. […]

  3. The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 4 | TV Ate My Wardrobe - May 7, 2014

    […] my reservations about the romance angle, the plotting this season has been magnificent. After the incredible first kiss, the first obstacle came in the form of keeping the relationship secret and it’s all part of […]

  4. The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 5 | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 18, 2014

    […] his father with Mindy getting to witness Danny’s emotionally vulnerable side. The first time Danny kissed Mindy was on the plane ride home after this trip to see Danny’s father; boundaries got dropped all […]

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