mindy harry

This week’s Valentine-themed Mindy Project was a perfect opportunity to showcase the show’s rom-com roots. Unfortunately, as has been happening on a recurring basis, the show missed its mark. It seems like the series has settled into a pattern whereby it either offers a show that is thematically sound yet lacking in wit and humor, or an episode that stands out for its dialogue and sight gags but doesn’t have much backbone – this week’s show being the former.

Mindy offers her Valentine episode a week early. Mistaken for a terrorist after scoping out the most romantic location in New York (nay, the entire globe) – the Empire State building – a clueless Mindy is questioned by a hapless security guard who is immune to her flirting. Instead, he calls Homeland Security.

Luckily, she has a date with Jamie to look forward to. Danny, however, has been unlucky in love and drinks his sorrow away, waking up hung-over and pants-less (not as funny as it sounds) in his office. “When I lie on the floor, it is adorable and tragic; when you lie on the floor, you look like an upside down ladybug.” Mindy wishes she knew someone she could set him up with…wait, what about Jamie’s BFF Lucy? That could kill two birds with one stone…or provide the recipe for a disastrous double date.

Jeremy tries to give Morgan tips on picking up a girl after he fails with this line: “It’s funny that you work in a morgue because my name is Morgan.” This leads to some awkward scenes in which Morgan presents a headless Barbie to his hapless romantic interest which shockingly score him sex in a supply closet but not the cuddling and close emotional connection that Morgan desires.

Mindy and Danny meet up with Jamie and Lucy (Eva Amurri, who embodies every bit of mother Susan Sarandon’s moxie.) While Danny gets off on the wrong foot, whining about his recent break-up, he and Lucy do actually seem to enjoy some decent chemistry, which is more than I can say about Jamie and Mindy (most likely intentional) or Jamie and Lucy for that matter (probably less intentional.) Jamie is clearly jealous that Lucy is lavishing attention on Danny, which creates one of the few amusing moments of the episode when she tries to get Jamie to share her dinner while he insists on eating off Lucy’s plate while she feeds Danny.

Mindy worries she will have to perform the Heimlich when Jamie chokes on a fish bone, but it provides a logical escape from the uncomfortable date. Mindy is thrilled that Jamie takes her to the Empire State Building… “Last year the guy I was with took me to an Indian casino and I lost 2,000 dollars.” It seems like she might finally met the man of her dreams…until she badgers him over his feelings about Lucy and he confesses his love…for Lucy! (Yeah, we’re not shocked either.) Mindy reconciles herself to the “Joan Cusack role” in Jamie’s Hollywood story, and the pair is surprised to find Danny and Lucy making out in front of Mindy’s apartment in a rather convoluted confrontation.

Danny consoles Mindy over a slice of subpar pizza at the dive where he met his ex-wife in an effort to show her that romance shows up in the most unlikely of places and can’t be planned out for the roof of the Empire State Building. Nice ending to a mediocre episode. While I like B.J. Novak immensely on The Office and think he enjoys a great chemistry with Mindy Kaling (on THAT show), neither sentiment translates well here. Props to actually making a reference to Mindy’s OB/GYN roots, which is something that has been largely absent and could be mined for more comedic effect, but other than that the episode didn’t have much else going for it.