In tonight’s episode of The Mindy Project, the chemistry of the office mates finds the beat as they venture out on an office outing to an exclusive nightclub.

After lamenting that Danny’s Saturday night spent doling out C-sections at the hospital and Jeremy’s night spent with a not-quite-supermodel both sounded more appealing than her threesome with a bottle of spilled red wine and Amelie, the appearance of a hungover Shauna convinces Mindy that she needs to get her club on. Even though Shauna is reluctant, the promise to switch her desk away from the air vent seals the bribe. The only problem is, suddenly the whole office decides to make it a work night out.

Time out, though, before we go any further. Am I the only one who thought that Shauna was channeling a little Laura San Giacomo as Kit DeLuca in this episode? “Fifty bucks, grandpa. For 75, the wife can watch.”

Morgan, the former inmate/new male nurse that we met in the last episode excitedly offers the latest in designer club drugs: the roofie antidote. Somehow, I’m not sure the FDA is going to jump on board with something that, when put in your drink, can counteract the effects of a roofie, but that if taken without a roofie can have the effects of a roofie. Think about that joke spiral for a moment. It’s like a funhouse at Burning Man. 

It takes a little ribbing to get Danny to join them, but finally he recalls the phrase his grandmother coined: “work hard, play hard.” 

In line outside the club, the crew gets their first look at one another off the clock. Mindy insists that if they see her across the room, she will probably be “either falling in love or grinding up on some guy or probably both” and should give her a perimeter. She insists, in what Shauna calls Mindy’s “racism voice,” that Black guys love her.  “Black guys also love ass,” she notes, “which I have a lot of.” Danny arrives looking to Betsy like a “youth minister,” while Morgan has come equipped with a giant duffel bag full of grooming products, sundries, and who the hell knows what else.

Entering the club, Mindy pauses to bask in all the lights and music like Liza Minelli stepping into Studio 54.  It’s her big romantic comedy, Vaseline-lensed moment. . . until the beefy security guard scoots her along with the quip, “If everyone took a big dramatic moment in the doorway, the club would never fill up.” Once again, the show manages to sneak in and impress with its sharp self-awareness.

Ultimately, though, this episode is all about taking the tone that was set in the last two installments and fleshing it out by introducing us a little more to the cast.  Here are some of the things we learned tonight:

1. It turns out that sourpuss Danny can actually dance like Justin Timberlake.Or at least like Joey Fatone.

2. Shauna has a crush on Danny and though she was flattered by the advances of a foxy lesbian, “wasn’t in the mood to experiment” that night seeing Danny kissing some dancefloor floozy.

3. Betsy can’t hold her liquor. Scratch that. Betsy can’t hold her “Blue Raspberry Shnazzle” liqueur, but since it cost $300 for the bottle service, she’ll give it her all.

4. Morgan is like a savant of clean conscience. When Jeremy tries to hook up with a bride to be, it is Morgan (hilariously embracing his mistaken role as a bathroom attendant) who separates the man from the manwhore.

But this is Mindy’s show, after all, and tonight was her big night. All of her cinematic dreams come true when she is invited up to the VIP area by Josh, a sports agent who is kicking back with three or four major NBA players. Although Josh isn’t exactly what Mindy wants (he’s white and sort of dorky), it turns out that all the pros became erudite lovers of romantic comedies, healthy eaters, and lovers of good mix CDs thanks to this man.

No sooner does Mindy’s future at an afterparty where Jamie Foxx is manning the pizza oven open wide before blue-lipped, listing Betsy lures her away to responsibility. Rather than selfishly allowing Betsy to be lured away by a Russian slave trader – hey, he promised nothing would happen to her like the other girls – and Shauna to cry in her vodka tonic, Mindy gives up her chance at glory to support her team. Cue bonding dance sequence and my big stupid smile.

The thing this episode started to bring into focus about this series is that even though it is never afraid to really go the extra mile to whip out sharp dialogue and out-there scenarios, it always has that moment where it reels it back. Just at the moment when everything hits eleven on the Spinal Tap scale of crazy, it peels back its ribs to show you this insanely cuddly, warm beating heart. It is refreshing to see a show aim for a world view that is unshakingly positive without ever losing its edge.

Just so you don’t feel too bad for Mindy in the end, Josh, our modern day Prince Charming, returns Cinderella’s pashmina and a stretch limo coach to carry Mindy into next week’s episode. And Danny? Well, Danny got into a taxi with the club scrub. 

You can’t always win.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV