Thursday, July 7, 2016

I Just Love Television So Much (#3) - Falling Out Of Love With 'The Mindy Project'

For its first two seasons, The Mindy Project represented everything I wanted from a show. It had a great cast, a kickass and opinionated and successful female lead, great jokes and most importantly, a storyline that made watching it feel like I was watching a very long and very good romantic comedy. As someone who loves the kind of relationships that turn from dislike/arguments to love (think Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail) I absolutely ate up the relationship between Mindy and Danny. I wrote fanfiction about the two, made photo edits, fangirled on Tumblr in the middle of the night with fans of the show and was determined that what I was watching was going to be one of those shows I would embrace for the rest of my life.

As an example of my obsession, here are some of the edits I made:

Now that I have finished with season 4, I almost wish I would have ended up watching it the moment the story of Mindy and Danny reached the conclusion to which a romantic comedy would have ended. There is a happy ending, and then it is up for the viewer to make the conclusions about what is going to happen to the relationship. I could have embraced the witty conversations and slow burning passion between the two for years to come, but now...  I continued watching the series while I had a hunch that things would not stay the way I liked them for a very long time.

Life is not perfect and relationships are not perfect. I know that. But for me, The Mindy Project was one of those escapist shows that allowed me to exist reality for about 30 minutes at the time through engagement in Mindy's somewhat glamorous world in New York. I am not really a relationship person myself and I don't believe that there necessarily has to be a great love story in everyone's life, but I love romantic comedies because they offer me an escape. Romantic comedies are often predictable, but there is also something extremely comforting in predictability at times when you just want to relax for a while and know that things are going to get a good outcome (maybe that is why I love Hallmark movies so much - you always know things are going to end well!) In our current world where escaping the reality is coming harder and harder, it is important to have something for self-care, something that hopefully gives you a little moment of peace or happiness once in a while. Obviously, The Mindy Project was not made for me to be used for my well-being, but I do feel like I lost something when I fell out of love with the show.

People have asked me why I still keep watching The Mindy Project even though I have said that I have not enjoyed the recent episodes at all. I don't really even know how to answer that question - the only thing I can say is that there is still a little hope in my pessimistic heart about the fact that the show could go back to what it was. I was hoping that would happen with the introduction of Jody, who arguably would have provided a quite similar love interest for Mindy than Danny is, but as I was looking for the romantic comedy elements, I would not have minded that too much. But Jody did not prove to be the Souther gentleman I wanted to be and as I kept watching, I started to dislike some of the characters I used to love more and more. I am mainly talking about Danny.

Ever since the beginning, Danny has been kind of conservative and very old fashioned in some ways. He is grumpy, thinks he is always right and drives Mindy crazy. He also drove me crazy many a time, but there was also something so attractive about him, especially as he started to get closer to Mindy. There is that one legendary episode in which he performs a dance for Mindy that kind of finalized everything for me - I thought he was the perfect fictional man ever created. But then, when things started to get more serious between him and Mindy, the show started to focus on sides of him that I couldn't go blindly with. During the fourth season, he changes into a completely different person and does things that are very uncharacteristic of him. The way he sees his future with Mindy - him working and Mindy at home - and the way he seems to lack any sort of respect for Mindy's ambitions just doesn't rub off well on me. And without spoiling the latter part of the fourth season for you, I want to say that he makes some decisions that just drove me off the wall. He does not make them alone, but he is the only one who knows what a shitty thing he is actually committing. After finishing with the season 4 finale I have two words to describe him: "dick" and "coward". 

Will I keep watching The Mindy Project once it continues after the season break? Most likely. The fourth season ends on a cliffhanger I have a hope will go a way that distances Mindy from Danny (of course they can never be fully distanced due to Leo, but no romantic involvement is needed) and the show introduces a new romantic interest to Mindy's life. The way the season finale ended gives hints that it could be Jody, but he in his own right so oh so problematic that I wouldn't wish a man like him for any of my friends - what he thinks is funny and sweet is just kind of stalkerish, and while I usually like the whole Southern gentleman thing, Jody's actions don't make him much of a gentleman. Mindy deserves someone who is loving and kind, not someone who is a complete douche (which is what the guys in season four pretty much all were). And before someone asks why Mindy even needs and love interest and can't a woman be happy without a man, I want to say that A WOMAN CAN DEFINITELY BE HAPPY WITHOUT A MAN - AT LEAST I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS! The Mindy Project just seems to have established itself as a kind of "dating show" that focuses on how Mindy balances her professional and social/romantic life, and it would just seem like an odd move for the show to have Mindy decide not to date for an extended period of time. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see Mindy embracing her life as a single mother without interest in dating, but I just don't see that happening. 

If you haven't watched The Mindy Project yet but think it is a show for you, I recommend you stop watching after the season 2 finale, especially if you are looking for a show that captures the essence of romantic comedies. I am so disappointed I had to write this, but I felt like I had to. This show used to mean so much to me, and how I am feeling about it right now feels like I have lost something special. 

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