A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
By far the best episode of the season, Caramel Princess Time was original titled Late, Actually. The latter title is a lot cleverer and apt than the official one, but ah well. The episode delivered on every front and that’s what ultimately counts. Every storyline struck gold and for once, the central storyline on an episode of The Mindy Project doesn’t snuff out everything else or vice versa and they intersect naturally. From ethnically inappropriate jokes to appropriately awkward romantic comedy moments to emotional catharsis, it was all there in this scrumptious half hour and my only complaint is that it feels oddly truncated and ends sort of abruptly. Yet in spite of that feeling of abruptness, this half-hour episode made me feel a verisimilitude of emotions that all felt incredible germane and genuine.
The episode begins with a quick scene of Danny waiting for Mindy outside of a special showing of The Godfather: Part II, which Danny finds to a masterpiece and Mindy has never heard of (I concur with Danny on this one). As usual, Mindy is late and Danny begins to lay down the law about her being late to essentially everything. In fairness to Mindy, 9:18 is practically 9:15, which is practically 9, which practically means that she is, in fact, early. Mindy’s tardiness, which has been established constantly throughout the three seasons, becomes the focus point not just for her storyline, but for Danny’s as well. It’s a logical move and the episode paces that parallel structure throughout beautifully.
For Danny, that thread revolves around his quick spring to anger that comes to Dr. Fisher’s attention after the whole “I’m going to commit suicide” routine. She places him in anger management counseling with his friend Paul and most hilariously, Morgan. To cap the entire madness off pitch perfectly, Deslaurier is put in charge of the session because of his zen nature. Naturally the two clash tremendously before Danny slowly starts to come to the realization of why he’s truly so angry at every instance where Mindy is late. It’s his father who was never there on time. Chris Messina plays that scene like an ace, the realization crawling over his face as if a calm awakening.
For Mindy that comes in the form of taking Danny’s mother and her friend Dot out for their Saturday shopping and chores. As it turns out, Annette and Dot have absolutely no consideration for anyone’s time, either (sound familiar?). An already irritated Mindy calms herself down and takes the two of them to the beauty salon, coming out seemingly hours later with a hairdo she finds to be absolutely hideous. By the time they come to the a doctor’s office to get Annette a mammogram, her anger is at Cloud 9. Citing Jenny McCarthy’s “medical advice” that she gave on The View (side note: no one should ever follow medical advice from people who are not medical professionals; Jenny McCarthy is not a medical professional), Annette and Dot come to the conclusion that mammograms give one cancer. Mindy snaps angrily and justly so screams her indignation at their thoughtlessness before the two elderly women break into tears. Mindy Kaling is pitch perfect throughout the entire sequence, giving her best performance as angry Mindy in the mammogram clinic and her body language was comedic gold.
This week in The Mindy Project’s famed guest stars is Alison Tolman as Tamara’s spiritual sister Abby. Tamara and Morgan set up Peter on a date with her and he blows it based on how she looks. It’s extremely uncomfortable to watch before the two send him back again. Peter realizes how much of an ass he was and then at a book signing for Abby, he begins to read her romance novels and falls in love with them. Rightfully she calls him a jerk and waves him off. And then he comes back in earnest with a terribly written romance to make up. It works and in all honesty it’s a lot sweeter and endearing than it had any right to be. In all earnestness, the best thing about The Mindy Project is how it takes the cheesy and expected norms of romance and makes them endearing. Even though the beginning of the season has been a bit unremarkable, it’s as Mindy Kaling promised, eschewed the conventional rom com trait of introducing a break-up as soon as a relationship begins. For now, The Mindy Project is content to let its central romance truly develop while giving its supporting players solid romantic material of their own and that’s fine. When towards the end of the episode Danny and Mindy realize how much they mean to each other, there’s a broad smile on my visage and I just can’t shake off that feeling of exuberance the episode left me with.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“I’m giving you the silent treatment, by the way. That’s why I walked right by you and didn’t respond.”
+“She’s the complete package. Heads, shoulders, knees, toes, knees and toes.”
+“Natalie Portman would throw up if she saw you.”
+“Why would you keep them waiting?”
+“There must be a priest.”
+“My mental health is perfect and I do have an outlet. His name is Father Francis, he’s 97, and he only speaks Latin.”
+“You know what. I will leave, but I will never hike.”
+“So I have to apologize to a girl, which is something I’ve literally never done. Is Danny in?”
+Danny: “I like you on a Staten Island porch.”
Mindy: “I would rather die.”
Title: Caramel Princess Time
Written By: Charlie Grandy & Mindy Kaling
Directed By: Beth McCarthy-Miller
Image Courtesy: Un Reality TV