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'Mindy Project' second season culminates in terrific rom-com homage

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"The Mindy Project" - "Danny & Mindy" (Season 2 Finale)

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For two years while raving about Fox’s ratings-challenged “The Mindy Project” to just about everybody I knew I’ve often compared star Mindy Kaling to Tina Fey, which I believe to be the highest of compliments you can give to a modern female comic. I call Kaling today’s Fey because she can do everything … she created, stars in and writes her own sitcom and does each one of them to perfection.

Despite being the least watched sitcom on television when you look at the outdated, but still used Nielsen ratings the show has been miraculously picked up by the network for a third season. This can only be for one reason … it’s incredibly good and Fox knows it has something special. In fact, “The Mindy Project” has been the very best sitcom on television during its two year run.

Not only has Kaling crafted a show that I believe is the top comedy currently on the tube, but I believe it’s also the most romantic comedy, and maybe show, on television. “The Mindy Project” definitely pays homage, while still occasionally poking fun at the romantic comedy/chick flick genre. The friendship headed toward budding relationship between Kaling’s Dr. Mindy Lahiri and Chris Messina’s Dr. Danny Castellano was a key part of the beauty and hilarity of season two.

Earlier in the season the two had finally revealed feelings for each other in the fantastic culmination to the episode “The Desert” where the two make out on a plane from Phoenix to New York. Then when the series returned from a little over two month hiatus in April the two got together for a short-lived relationship that seemed to come and go in record pace for a sitcom. This was because Danny knew he really liked Mindy and couldn’t bear losing her as a close friend. But, a few episodes later he realizes he made a major mistake and wants to get her back.

In the season two finale “Danny and Mindy,” you just know a conclusion to the “will they or won’t they” storyline is coming with an episode title like that, the two are riding on a subway when Mindy spots a cute guy and the two have a little moment. Then lo and behold Mindy is reading a “Missed Connections” type segment of a publication and sees that this mystery guy is trying to contact her. It’s not long before we find out that this “mystery guy” is actually Danny attempting to be romantic and surprise Mindy in a rom-com manner that she would find alluring.

The whole thing fails miserably and Mindy is furious that Danny tricked her. He tells her that he did it all because he’s in love with her and to prove it will be waiting for her on top of the Empire State Building, a la “Sleepless in Seattle.” She refuses to go, but the staff of Shulman & Associates persuades her to do so. This is before they all hilariously find out that Danny isn’t actually on top of the Empire State Building. He went and stayed for an hour before figuring she wasn’t going to show. This leads to a hilarious send-up of rom-com clichés where both Mindy and Danny are bolting to meet each other atop the building. One of my favorites moments of the episode is that Danny’s sprint to the building is done with Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” playing in the background, which is a nice callback to Springsteen being a hero of Danny’s and just plain awesome because I would want Springsteen playing over my sprint if I were in the same situation. But, I digress.

When Danny met Mindy she was heaving and about to pass out on the ground after having to walk up a flight of stairs due to the elevators being down for repairs, in hilarious ‘Mindy Project’ style. The two realize their love for each other and the season ends beautifully with the two embracing each other in a kiss.

I am incredibly grateful to Fox for bringing network television’s funniest comedy back for at least one more season, especially because I didn’t think the series had a shot in Hell at survival giving its ratings. It’s nice to see a network rebuke the ratings for a change in favor of a show they believe in.

I do think it would be a good idea for Fox to allow “The Mindy Project” on Netflix like it does with “New Girl” to help its chances of survival for next season. I bet if the series was added to the popular streaming service that its viewers could almost double for the next season.

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