As The Mindy Project rolls out its second episode, I’d like to take this very important moment to thank my mom for forcing me to take a typing class in 11th grade so that keyboard wouldn’t catch fire while I was taking my episode notes. For fans of high-stakes ping pong tournaments and old Rosalind Russell comedies, the breakneck verbal pace of The Mindy Project may be par for the course, but for normal human brain function, it’s pretty likely these episodes are going to have to be played on instant replay for us normal mortals to catch all the jokes.
In this episode, the Usain Bolt of comedy pits Mindy and Danny against the seemingly insurmountable task of hiring a new nurse to replace the pot smoking, “old school” practice nurse Beverly.
But before we get into the meat of the action, can we please take a moment to appreciate the introduction of The Mindy Project theme song? I don’t know who composed this wonder of split-screen goodness, but it felt to me a little like E.R. meets Kraftwerk at Coachella. Anyone? No?
At the beginning of the episode, we are treated to the crush-worthy Seth Meyers as a fake-out love interest. Mindy meets Seth’s character at a book store where she tries on her flirting pants by offering to combine their purchases for the bonus of a free tote bag. Since neither can decide on who gets to keep said tote bag, they go in for joint custody – a.k.a. “Hey, I’m flirting with you, let’s have an immediate sitcom date!”
What we’ve fast been learning in the universe of Mindi Lahiri, however, is that no date is simple. In this case, what seems like a quick jaunt for frozen yogurt turns into a $50 picky-eater nightmare. Eventually, our man Seth just buys her a pretzel instead, then disappears for the rest of the whole episode in a flurry of rapid-fire dialogue that made me forget he was ever there until I looked back at my woefully misspelled jumble of notes.
But another thing we’re learning about The Mindy Project is that nothing is every truly a non-sequitur. If you’re nodding off or trying to keep your cat from using your record collection as a scratching post (again), you might miss the fact that Mindy’s choosiness for frozen yogurt is actually a purposeful parallel to her choosiness for a nurse to replace our newly introduced and sadly departed Beverly.
When Mindy discovers that Beverly may or may not have been smoking pot in the break room and was definitely losing the blood samples she’d instructively labeled “Short-comma-Asian” and “Fat Lady,” Dr. Schulman (always good to see you, Needlenose Ned!) tasks Jeremy with firing Beverly while Mindy usurps Brian’s job to hire a new nurse. Brian secretly makes a deal with Schulman, however, that he has veto power over any decision Mindy might make that is questionable for the practice’s future.
When Brian witnesses Mindy’s immediate connection with a nurse that sounds exactly like Mindy’s nitrous-high voice and who also shares her love of romantic comedies, he steps in and makes a deal that they will co-interview candidates with equal veto power. In the meantime, Jeremy’s attempts to fire Beverly make her think he is trying to get into her mom-jeans instead of expressing that she’s just lost her job.
Unsurprisingly, Brian and Mindy’s ongoing I-hate-you-but-I-really-want-to-jump-your-bones tension makes for a series of misfires in the nurse interviews, culminating in the one actually decent candidate running for the hills with the assertion that she’s “seen child soldiers in Africa with better manners” than these two fast-talkers. Schulman is about to give up until Mindy and Brian pretend to be BFF’s outside of the office.
There is only one option left: former prisoner Morgan “Ransom” Tookers. As a reminder to himself to avoid his wayward youth, he shows the doctors a tattoo on his belly that says “No More Stealing Cars.” Hey, you’ve got to admire him for being literal, right? But, unfortunately for Ransom, Mindy proves the axiom that “Indian girls never want to touch” the tattoo and he is also dismissed.
When it is revealed that Jeremy was unable to pull the trigger with Beverly, Mindy takes it as an opportunity to show her assertiveness in the workplace. Her blunt expression of Beverly’s lesser qualities, however, end up earning her a surprising nose-shattering punch in the face from our new favorite geriatric pot-head. Enter “Ransom” Tookers and his oddly comforting Nose Adjustment of Truth and Mindy’s decisiveness is locked into place as sure as her gross, snotty, bloody nose. Say hello to your new nurse.
Seth Meyers in a book store to a surprise bloody nose? Hey, why not? It may seem like non-sequitur from beginning to end, but when you really think about it, it turns out it’s actually all about Mindy’s need to overcome the perception that she is woefully indecisive. As in the first episode, that one moment that you realize that all the rapid-fire banter and quick-fired jokes are all adding up to one big moment of revelation, sort of slaps you in the jowls. And once again, taking you by utter and complete surprise, you walk away from an episode feeling like while you were yelling at your cat to get the heck off your records and missed two or three hilarious asides, you just accidentally witnessed something really transformative.
(Image courtesy of FOX)