Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Mindy Project 3x06 "Road Trip" (Eddie from Fraiser) [Contributor: Anne]

"Road Trip"
Original Airdate: October 20, 2015

I am confused.

I don't know if I like this episode of The Mindy Project or not. There's that part of me that is reacting as if this were on FOX and I'd just watched it for review –– the part of me that would have my expectations tailored for a traditional three-act episode with the appropriate A- and B- plots about motherhood and work and all that jazz. That part of me is saying, "What did I just watch?" What part of The Mindy Project's fourth season hinted towards an entire 22-minute episode mostly devoted to Oklahoma? Why would that cross any writer's mind as being something that I would be interested in seeing? I don't mean that as a sleight (Mindy Lahiri has an ability to remember those, so I'd best watch myself) but I mean that as a genuine question. Where did this idea come from?

But there's another part of me, that annoying part that was chirping in your ear all last year –– the part of me that is fascinated by how TV works and the way a show can use its format to its advantage. That part of me was more impressed by the complicated, ambitious structure of "Danny and Mindy" than charmed by its romance (though that is certainly the case). That part of me craved more last season, yes, but that part of me is also the primary reason why I continue to watch and review this lovely show of mine. The trust I have in Mindy Kaling and company is years-old. Girl knows what she's doing. And that part of me is not just impressed by the ambition of this episode, but excited by it. I can't recall a television show ever doing something quite like this before.

In a way, my feelings for this episode are akin to seeing Eddie's grave from Fraiser. What's the point? At the same time, though, why not? It could be kinda cool.

Obviously, the purpose of this episode was to set up Danny to reconcile with his father. I appreciate this development because for this season, Danny's been needing some direction, some forward motion not in terms of character development (because his tattoo proves otherwise) but in terms of plot. The boy's become a dad, but the story of parenthood has been mostly Mindy's to tell, what with Danny making the wrong decision pretty much every episode. And for all the things that keep Mindy busy –– her career, her relationship with Jody –– Danny is pretty much in stasis, a compelling counterpoint but a character on hold. For this reason, the episode was important.

The other side of my brain must point out at this point, though, that Danny probably shouldn't have let a call like that go by without Mindy's notice. Wasn't (one of) their big fights in season three the fact that he okay'ed Little Danny staying in New York without informing her? How would she feel if she discovered this random son? Is he going to tell her regardless (I assume he has to, because of the lack of a car)? Did he really expect Morgan to not blab or to give up?

By the way, Morgan falls right into my feelings for this episode. On one hand, I love when he is perceptive, caring, and determined. I love when characters who are made to be silly have a real foundation for why they are acting the way they are acting. When you understand that Morgan loves/worships those who employed him three years ago, you can accept that he would know the genealogy of the Lahiri-Castellano clan, just as you could accept that he wouldn't ever take $500 for any purpose (but, I mean, thank goodness he did, right? Or Danny would have a second child?). So far, he's been doing a far better job being a more believable and reliable sage than Peter ever could be –– mostly because that foundation makes him the most suitable to give advice but his other craziness makes that fact concerning.

But on the other hand, Morgan is loud. Morgan whines and doesn't stop talking. Morgan pukes in cars. Morgan sometimes is a bit too much. He's often bearable and moves things forward, but I rarely see the point in the first place.

See? It's an Eddie from Fraiser sort of thing.

I don't know how I would grade this episode, because in many senses, it wasn't an episode at all. It had a point A and a point B (Danny is hesitant to reconcile with his father ––> Danny must now reconcile with his father), but I guess that –– like the road trip –– it hasn't been concluded at all. Gotta get to California first.

Stray Observations:
  • Did I like the episode because the biggest liar, for once, was Evelyn and not Danny? Likely.
  • Okay, Danny, do you know how expensive a vehicle is? Don't you think you should consult with your future wife about this sort of thing first?
  • I have ragged on Morgan recently, but the glasses were truly great, and Ike Barinholtz had so many good line deliveries in the episode. While the character doesn't always align with my sense of humor, I think Ike's been doing an especially good job lately, proving as much here by holding his own against Chris Messina.
  • Chris Messina, obviously, does not need to be recognized for his talent, but I recognize him here anyway. His expression after Eric tells him he's a bad dad is something else.
  • Eric –– by the way –– was not 16, unless Oklahomans grow at a faster rate than the rest of us.
  • "Of all the times I have been abandoned at a celebrity pet grave, this is the most hurtful!"
  • Speaking of ambitious, I loved the way that the show transitioned through states, and liked how the majority of the actual road trip was a silent treatment.
  • "Goddamn one percenter."
  • "C'mon, what are the chances I'd tell Dr. L? 60%, 70% tops."
  • "I have an internal compass, literally. When I was six, I swallowed a compass."
  • (See? Most of these lines are Morgan's!)
  • "Our Father, who art in heaven, Halloween thy name."
  • I honestly cannot grade this episode. I can compare it to nothing else!

1 comment:

  1. Just fyi, in this context, it is spelled "slight." I looked it up because it looked wrong to me, but I thought, "Well, maybe I'm wrong." But no. The sleight spelling is only to apply to dexterity, as in "sleight of hand." Feel free to delete this comment. Just thought you'd want to correct it. Good balanced review, tho.