“I’m Peter Pan!”
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
“No, it’s okay, Danny. Look, I just want to be with someone who is as excited and certain as I am about our future. And if you’re not, that’s fine, just let me know. Because honestly, I’m going to be fine no matter what happens.”
What About Peter? refers to more than just Peter, it takes his inability to grow and extends it to the larger cast in one of the best episodes this show’s ever done. Chalk full of hilarious one-liners, the ending is crafted to pure perfection, leaving the audience at a critical juncture until the following week. It’s a clever juxtaposition that has our most stable characters discovering indeed, how selfish and unstable they can be in the most important arenas in their life. And our most selfish characters (as much as we love them), realize in their own right what they truly, truly want. Danny and Jeremy, for all of their respective issues, have always prided themselves on being the mature adults within Schulman & Associates who had their lives together. Yet in this episode their ersatz steadfastness slowly unpools around them as they can only fumble around, trying to garner all of the pieces before time runs out.
The chief conflict revolves around Danny’s second apartment. Peter, who lives with roommates that seem to literally belong from hell, is falling under a realization that he needs to be more of an adult. The party frat boy technique doesn’t work well when you’re in your thirties. A bit of you wants that self-respect, that stability, the pride of being an independent being capable of not only taking care of yourself, but others as well. Peter demonstrated that a few weeks back when he broke up with Alison. He choose his career over a girl who was far less serious about her life than he was. He’s ready now to pay double, triple, nay, double for Danny’s apartment so he can at the very least feel more like an adult. You see, he’s dating classier women. And classy women aren’t fond of thirty-year-old men who live in apartments with roommates that haven’t graduated from the mentality of a teenager. It’s endearing how much Danny’s second apartment means to him, a symbolic victory on the path to growing up.
Surprisingly, it isn’t just Peter who understands growing up. Morgan, who often is the butt of the joke in the office, established an endearing emotional pathos last week that counts as some of the best character development work this show has ever done. Here he primarily is pit with Jeremy, who finds out that dating single mother Lauren also means dealing with her young son named Henry. He’s terribly inept at handling a child, an odd dichotomy considering he delivers babies for a living. Morgan is the calming presence who can read Henry and understand what he truly needs. Jeremy realizes that perhaps he just wanted a girlfriend and nothing else. “Tough luck” is Morgan’s basic response and it’s accurate. If Jeremy wants Lauren, he has to love Henry, too. Peter does.
The same cannot be said for Danny. At the beginning of the episode, it truly seems like he’s ready to have a family of his own. It doesn’t raise too many eyebrows considering that he has a penchant for being serious, he’s in his thirties, and his girlfriend (as noted in her diary) is pretty serious herself (well, in regards to this at least). And despite his funnier side (that shower scene with Danny and Peter was hilarious), he’s known for his stoic maturity. It all fits together and Mindy understandably follows that same vein of thought, evicting Peter in the process (shame, considering how good of a cook he is). And then Danny drops the ball, with the reveal that the cracking of the wall was for his mother to have a place. It’s not a terrible thing, but what follows afterwards is a continued bumbling Danny who can’t wrap his head around what is possibly the best relationship he’s ever had. He’s not gung-ho about moving in together, but to appease Mindy he says that they’ll give it a shot (as a result partly due to Peter’s maturity). But Mindy isn’t having any of it. He can commit when he truly wants to, otherwise he needn’t bother. Because either way, she’s going to be okay. Amen, sister!
Mindy Kaling has avoided the romantic comedy trope of having a couple break up and then spend an entire season with “will they or won’t they?” that has drowned so many sitcoms in the past, allowing the more realistic dysfunctions of a relationship to instead come forward. The crack between her and Danny this week isn’t tantamount to a declaration of a break up. It’s a simple statement of reality that Danny can either accept or forego. Mindy’s righteous declaration at the end that she doesn’t want to move in with Danny unless he truly wants it is perhaps the most honest, mature thing she has ever said (delivered by a powerfully subtle performance from Kaling). It’s one thing to declare in hilarious one-liners that you can try to give it a shot. It’s another thing entirely to actually wholeheartedly accept it.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Danny’s reasoning: Rihanna book signing is why China is winning
+“Bush is a Kennedy”
+“I am a litigious, gun-owning woman.”
+Danny’s ridiculous apartment listing
+Interns make a comeback
+Danny and the Weather Channel
+A lawyer got lyme disease at Peter’s apartment
+Danny’s poor Borat impression
+“He intends to keep it that way.”
+“He said relaxed instead of masturbate.”
+“Rule number one with a baby, don’t use it as a human shield.”
+“Give me some of that brown butter.”
+“Oh no, it’s happening again.”
+Jeremy on Wagner: “Depressing, anti-Semitic for sure, but more fun than this.”
+“Pita, not Peter.”
+“I didn’t know we ordered food.”
+“Ray, come here.”
+“Strawberry Shortcake meets Saddam Palace sort of vibe.”
+“He likes it when you hurt yourself.”
+“There is not a single coaster in use!”
+“Look at all these basics!”
+“It’s like an ant fighting with Thumbelina.”
+“Oh that’s crazy, more money…”
+“That baby’s gotta sleep.” And then Morgan knocks a bunch of china to the ground with his bag because, well, Morgan.
Title: What About Peter?
Written By: Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen
Directed By: David Stassen
Image Courtesy: Hypable