For a show like The Mindy Project, that has put so much investment in Mindy’s relationships, to have her get married without a ‘very special wedding episode’ is close to unforgivable. That they pull it off comes from the state of her marriage in the season six premiere. As much as she loved Ben, Mindy never seemed sold on them getting married, but knowing she went through with it, when her feelings weren’t secure, is a cruddy place to begin, as the options for resolution are dour.
Ben has no regrets about his choice in life partners. He wants, more than anything, to spend time with Mindy, but this is way too early for them to be having problems. Mindy’s a social person, and will always care about her coworkers, but there’s caring and devoting all her attention to them. This is the honeymoon phase and she’s already uninvested. Divorce looks inevitable and this is the final season, so that’s a pretty bold route for the show to go.
How do you come back from the pillow test, after all? For two days Mindy didn’t realize the person sleeping next to her was a stack of pillows. This is the trick kids use in the movies to try and sneak out of their house. The success rate can’t be high and, Mindy being a mom, Leo better not catch on. Why the pillow test works so well, though, is that it’s obvious. In none of the scenes does it look like Mindy’s sleeping next to a person but you come up with explanations for why. Budget. Actor Bryan Greenberg, couldn’t come in that day. It’s clunky but never do you believe he’s actually not there, because that would be too horrible.
It’s also the truth, and Mindy may drop a joke about having had sex with the pillows but it’s not a situation you can pull humor from. It’s a deep hurt she’s inflicted on her husband, and when he gives her another chance fairly quickly, she falls asleep in the office instead. There can’t be a future where they’re together.
It’s not that marriage has to be the end game for Mindy. In fact, that’s what Mindy concluded last season and it’s in going back on that decision that she’s not in a good place, but there’s very little time for her to find someone else, and the days when a last-minute reunion with Danny would’ve been a big deal have gone with how he’s treated her since the end of their engagement.
The supporting cast, from the newest recruit in Anna (Rebecca Rittenhouse), to the people who’ve been there from the beginning (Beth Grant’s Beverly) continue to sit among the best on television. Mindy was never afraid to rewrite characters until they worked and it’s how we have a character like Jeremy (Ed Weeks), lothario of season one, closet calling his parrot on the phone in season six. I hadn’t always been a fan of Fortune Feimster’s stand-up but her comic timing as Colette is a constant bright spot, while her pairing with Garret Dillahunt’s Jody brings out a side of his character that’s not ethical (he fires Collette’s ex without cause) but unrepentant.
One of the most exciting storylines this year, because of how rarely the show’s expanded on her role, is Xosha Roquemore’s Tamra’s decision to become a single parent. It puts her in more scenes with Mindy, as a patient at Mindy’s fertility clinic, and is a storyline where she gets to be at the center (where her dating Morgan (Ike Barinholtz, whose neck cast is from a real-life injury on the movie, The Pact) was weighted towards him having a girlfriend).
On a slightly related, different note, I hope we get to see more of Mindy’s son, Leo, especially when she brings him up as a reason why she’s been distant from Ben — she’s used to life revolving around the two of them. When we don’t see Leo onscreen a lot this feels like a weaker excuse than it would anyway. Mindy Kaling has been spot-on with noting that nobody ever asks why the guy isn’t with his children, but there are long stretches where the timing of Leo’s visits with Danny coincide with episodes, and any divorce from Ben would impact him, too.
How do you feel about the quick end to Mindy and Ben, and what does that ending mean as a start to the final season?
New episodes of The Mindy Project stream Tuesdays on Hulu.