Hey Sugar, What’s Shaking?
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
San Francisco Bae was one of the best episodes of The Mindy Project’s third season. It’s largely concerned about Mindy and her first flame, Xander Eakin. Xander, played by the fantastic guest star of the week in Lee Pace, first got the idea for a revolutionary new internet trend from Mindy right after they lose their virginity to each other and he went from being Xander to simply, the great Alex. Because of a simple e-mail snag, however, Mindy and Xander parted, destined not to meet until Mindy took pity on a grieving Dr. Gurgler and took him out for a drink. It’s a small scene, but it forces on to think in between laughter of all the things one misses over the course of a lifetime because of a little thing like a missed e-mail. But Mindy, who perhaps a year ago would have cried in misery over that missed opportunity, is a different person now. Danny by her independent side is more important to her than a wealthy billionaire.
The jokes as always were great, rife with all of the pop culture references one expects from Mindy Kaling, who always seems to be on top of everything everywhere. One of Mindy’s traits that is the most endearing perhaps, outside of her worshipping of pop culture in a way that’s somehow not overwhelmingly annoying, is her compassion. It’s not a trait that you see displayed often and I would argue that that is for good reason. Narratively, it packs a greater punch when Mindy stops by Dr. Gurgler’s office, taking pity on the poor man whose wife has essentially abandoned him and he’s taking all the brunt of it. Mindy doesn’t certainly have to be this kind to Dr. Gurgler, but it’s a mark of the kind person beneath all of those instant best-selling dresses.
The one thing I never hoped The Mindy Project would do was to engage in the superficial will-they-won’t-they that has proven to be so destructive for so many different shows, comedies or dramas. It’s much easier to use that narrative thread for cheap shocks and thrills, but it’s damned difficult to pull off a genuine relationship that morphs for seasons yet manages to largely feel germane the entire way through. To do it multiples times with various characters is even more so. The secondary plots on this show do suffer and certainly at times it can become quite grating, but the main reason the show succeeds is the painstaking work that the show goes through in creating relatable, palpable characters. When Peter takes care of Henry, our hearts swell with pride at how much he has grown from frat boy and into a man we can love and truly respect. Hell, even Morgan is beginning to understand the depths and realities of relationships. But the shining stars are the moments where Danny and Mindy trust one another enough to simply let each other be. When the two display so much faith in one another without saying it, it’s the mark of a show that understands relationships perhaps better than anyone else.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Beverly’s Elmo voice can beard in the town square
+“We can have a girl to girl chat.”
+“This is sadder than sad.”
+“I have no sense of professional boundaries.”
+Summer Olympics in a rainy locale…
+“San Francisco… Windy City… Sin City…”
+“Student Loan Office, I knew this day would come!”
+90 Seconds Later
+“I don’t even go to restaurants with open kitchens.”
+“It’s me, Rupert Murdoch, and the hottest Bin Laden.”
+Danny’s passwords: ThatStatenKid or Vatican1Forever
+“Bitcoin for your thoughts?”
+“Billionaire sense of entitlement…”
+“NYC, the City of Brotherly Lights…”
+There’s a Secret Hunger Games between billionaires
Title: San Francisco Bae
Written By: Chris Schleicher
Directed By: Michael Spiller
Image Courtesy: EW