The Mindy Project: Season Two is "whip-smart and hilarious," according to the DVD cover's prominent pull-quote by Parade's Shawna Malcom. I'll make up my own mind, thank you very much.
Three DVDs later? Alas, she's right. Darn it. And much better than Season One.
Here's the general setup for this 22-episode season (if you want more details, the Season One review is here): Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling, The Office) is an idealistic but smart and successful New York OB/GYN who doesn't want to settle in love. That's tough when she bases most of her romantic interactions from what she sees in rom-coms. Her main co-workers, self-conscious commitment-phobe Danny (Chris Messina, Argo), British stress-eater and practice manager Jeremy (Ed Weeks), and the unclassifiable nurse Morgan (Ike Barinholtz, The League) all both build Mindy up and take her down, when called upon. Additionally, in an utterly brilliant move, this season brings Maria Menounos-loving Peter (Adam Pally, Happy Endings) into the practice fold.
Mild spoilers ahead, so tread accordingly.
The season begins with short-haired Mindy narrating her time in Haiti with pastor boyfriend Casey (Anders Holm, Neighbors). But of course, we need to get her back to New York with all her pals, so her gallbladder sees to that as she's flown from Haiti to NYC for emergency surgery. Makes total sense. Just before Mindy and Casey depart (and before she's under duress from pain), Casey proposes, and Mindy accepts.
But now that they're in New York, Mindy's not sure about her path. Especially when Casey decides he wants to be a DJ instead of a pastor, but then reconsiders and wants to pursue event planning. Mindy's like, ‘hey, buddy, I can't plan my life with someone who doesn't know what they want.' You go, girl. Plus, your hair is starting to "grow" back, which is good for all involved. After Casey, her love life starts to open up a little more: Cliff (Glenn Howerton, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia), a lawyer in her office building, a 40-year-old skater (Timothy Olyphant, Justified), and police officer Charlie (Tim Daly, Wings), among others.
It's clear that Danny's not happy that she's dating other guys, but although it's clear to the viewer that they're meant to be if they just stopped pretending, it really wouldn't be as fun if we didn't get to watch them both flirt and very "unflirt" (like the time Mindy stays over at Danny's place and admits to farting ... a few times). Ultimately, Mindy ends the season in a very different place than when it started: on top of the Empire State Building waiting for a special someone.
Some season highlights include:
Meeting the "Dr. L" that replaced Mindy, Dr. Paul Leotard (James Franco, Pineapple Express). Dr. Leotard has excited sperm.
The addition of Peter to the practice; throughout the season, Peter proves he's not just a good doctor, he's also a pretty good friend (but kind of a bad person ... in a good way).
When Peter and Morgan decide to use Mindy's phone to sext Cliff as Mindy (as well as their interpretation of what different texts mean). See definition of Winky Face out on the Internet.
Peter agrees to be Mindy's date to an ex's wedding and he becomes dashing Mr. Wedding--every girl wants to be with him/every guy wants to be him!
Danny gives Mindy her real Secret Santa gift: memorized choreography from the video for Aaliyah's "Try Again."
Danny visits his estranged father and gets lost in the desert. Mindy to the rescue. One of the best episodes of the season for its emotion.
Peter convinces Mindy to act more like a man, and she scores with Max Greenfield of New Girl fame, who's kind of a player. And wears a scarf. And possibly married?
Mindy traps a spider under a mug but then can't find it. Sort of.
Mindy's wine bra. Are those real?
There are really so many highlights that The Mindy Project: Season Two is perfect for binge-watching. Some of these highlights come in possibly ad-libbed quips that are there and gone in the amount of time it takes to say "french me, you idiot."
But really, what you're here for is the hilarity that ensues when good people are occasionally a little naive (except Peter, who is something else entirely). You root for Mindy and a fairytale relationship where she can fart as much as she likes. And you say, "Aww, look at Danny," who builds a gingerbread version of Monticello while wearing Mrs. Clause-like glasses. And you hope it rots some teeth.
And that, readers, is what separates us from the animals. And what separates good shows from bad shows.
Twenty two episodes, spread over three discs, all presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, consistent with their broadcast format. The detail in the shows looks very good and is replicated well on standard definition discs, along with the color palette of situation comedy and its various hues. The source material looks good and is free of artifacts or image noise, and colors are natural without saturation problems and the show is free of any lengthy bouts of edge enhancement. Solid comedic television presentation here.Audio:
The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track is okay, if not the show not really having much to do from a sonic perspective. There are occasional moments in a club or when Casey is DJing where the subwoofer engages accordingly and gives things some ‘oomph' in the low-end, but it is not an actively dynamic show. Channel panning and directional effects are present, but are hardly abundant. Dialogue is consistent in the center channel and sounds clear as can be, and overall considering the source, the show sounds perfectly acceptable.Extras:
Deleted scenes on 21 of the show's 22 episodes, totaling just over 41 minutes in total. There are some alternate takes with Bill Hader (who has a small guest role), but otherwise nothing of substance. Disc Three has a lengthy gag reel (12:01) which serves as the Barinholtz and Pally show and shows us some corpsing that is worth a few laughs.Final Thoughts:
The ensemble of The Mindy Project seems to have found more of their rhythm in this season, as my research shows (I asked several people), and Season One just wasn't good enough for some to keep tuning in. I did pick up on a few things that are Mindy Kaling-centric, such as the fact that she uses her hands a lot, kind of like a tour guide who used to work pageants, but it seems to add to whatever humor web she's spinning. Episodes also often include patients of the practice who have non-speaking roles. This is fine, but it's kind of awkward when Mindy is seeing a patient out and saying something like "Remember, it's not okay to use toy firetrucks as tampons," and the patient just sort of nods awkwardly. I'm also pseudoparaphrasing.
Neither eccentricity takes away from the warm glow that comes from knowing that Season Three of The Mindy Project is coming back to TV soon.