Morning TV Round-Up: 'New Girl' & 'The Mindy Project'
It's morning round-up time, with quick thoughts on last night's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as I put a nickel, a big toe or a golf pencil in there for reference...
"New Girl" episodes in general tend to have a lot of moving parts, but "Bachelorette Party" seemed to have more than most, as both of the parties were working multiple running gags at once, including Nick's dad pass, Winston taking the kidnapping idea too seriously,(*) the return of Cece's horrible model pals and pregnant Sadie, the penis photographing quest, etc. And on top of that, we had the subplot of Schmidt trying to get a woman to be his plus-one to the wedding. Because the episode was so busy, not all of the individual pieces really worked, but Jess and Cece's screaming match was terrific (especially followed by the sheepish departure of Alfredo the stripper), and I am in favor of anything that puts Merritt Wever, one of the funniest women on television, onto one of the very best comedies on television. Fat Schmidt, like Fat Monica on "Friends," has never been my favorite "New Girl" gag — putting an attractive, slim actor into a fat suit isn't inherently funny — but the idea that there are things that Schmidt and the people who like him miss about his big guy days has promise, particularly if it keeps Wever (who'll be back on "Nurse Jackie" on Sunday) around for a bit.
(*) On the one hand, I appreciate that the "New Girl" writers are sticking with a bit of Winston characterization over multiple episodes. On the other, Winston taking every imagined scenario to the point of violence is just too over-the-top.
"Bachelorette Party" for the most part tabled the recent Nick/Jess tension (other than her delight at realizing whose penis she had just seen a picture of), which allowed "The Mindy Project" to take up the banner of pushing its mismatched lead characters towards each other. As I used to feel about Nick and Jess, I'm ambivalent about the inevitable Danny/Mindy coupling. On the one hand, they're the two strongest and most well-rounded characters on the show and Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina work well together. On the other, I think the show has actually done a very good job with Mindy's temporary boyfriends like Josh ("You sound really pretty, like you've lost weight") and now Casey ("God wouldn't do me like that"), and I'd rather the show try to see one of those relationships through for as long as possible, rather than shuttling each guy off stage because she's destined to wind up with Dr. Danny. That's obviously not happening yet with the healthy state of Mindy and Casey's relationship, and now the return of Danny's ex-wife,(**) but it really feels like the show wants to keep reminding us that this is where it's going, no matter what. Then again, if they can handle this as well as "New Girl" has handled Nick and Jess of late, more power to them.
(**) As the end credits rolled, I noticed Chloe Sevigny's name in the guest credits and began scratching my head about what kind of disguise she could have been wearing to keep me from recognizing her earlier in the episode. As I was on the verge of asking a friend, out she popped as Danny's ex. A shame they couldn't have timed that final scene better so we saw her face before we saw her name; would've been a very nice surprise.
Overall, I thought "Santa Fe" featured a nice mix of witty dialogue (the opening scene with Casey, or Mindy declaring, "He was Johnny Cash; I was Reese Witherspoon Cash!") and slapstick (Mindy struggling with the suitcase, Morgan and Jeremy's post-sweat lodge meltdown). I was largely viewing the Jeremy/Morgan subplot as an unnecessary distraction, but their complete meltdown during the presentation was just a laugh-out-loud set piece, among the funniest moments the show's done so far. I'll forgive a somewhat labored set-up if it pays off that well.
What did everybody else think?