The Mindy Project, after two episodes, had left me with mixed feelings. The pilot was fantastic, but the second episode disappointed with a lack of character development and laughs. Luckily, the show bounced back with “In the Club”, a great episode with only a few minor flaws.
In this episode, Mindy convinces her friends to go on a work-friends night out, and they all go out to a club, something that Mindy hasn’t done in years. This is another great example of highlighting the insecurities of Mindy’s character; she is constantly doubting herself, in this case her age.
This episode, unlike the last one, packs in a lot of good characterization. Several characters have important revelations in this episode, and others reveal some interesting secrets about themselves. One particularly strong, if brief, side-plot in this episode is Jeremy’s struggle with his one-and-done hookup lifestyle. If anything, the side characters in this episode are developed far more than any of the main characters, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Another great example of characterization in this episode is the development of Shauna. I honestly didn’t know who Shauna was until this episode, and now she seems like a well-developed member of the cast of characters with her own motivations and aspirations.
And of course, we cannot forget Danny. Danny is one of my favorite characters in this show, and this episode, we learn some interesting secrets about him that don’t come out until their night at the club. Let’s just say that his night at the club only tangentially connects to his traditional manly, rugged, do-it-yourself attitude he generally projects.
One flaw in this episode was that several moments of it seemed ripped from an episode of Parks and Recreation, and many of the pokes at club life and culture seem a bit contrived. For such an original show, it was a little disappointing to see some pretty unoriginal comedy mixed in with this mostly-great episode. The only other flaw I can think of is that the love interest from the last episode was totally ignored in this one, as if he had never existed. And by the time the episode ends, it seems as though this loose end has been essentially erased, and we’re being asked to forget it ever existed.
Ultimately, the best parts of this episode were not from Mindy, but from the side characters. Characters like Jeremy, Morgan, Danny, Shauna, and Betsy, all became much more fleshed out and interesting. But, this show is called The Mindy Project, and three episodes in, Mindy’s self-improvement efforts have yet to go anywhere. But I am hopeful for this show, as its first three episodes have been pretty strong as a whole.