“The Mindy Project” – Bunk Bed episode review 1

Betsy (Zoe Jarman) and Shauna (Amanda Setton) snoop through Danny's desk as they deal with working Saturdays

Betsy (Zoe Jarman) and Shauna (Amanda Setton) snoop through Danny’s desk as they deal with working Saturdays

★★★★☆

I shouldn’t still be surprised at the lack of creativity in these episode titles, yet every time I find out the title I just think to myself, wow I should have guessed. At least the content of this episode continued on the newly enjoyable track that last week’s episode started. There was actually screen time for everyone involved (except for Jeremy, for some reason) which allowed the ensemble part of this ensemble comedy to come through for once.

In one of the funnier cold opens, Mindy’s voiceover about horse-drawn carriage rides turns out to be part of her rambling answer to her date’s question about her favorite pizza. Their romantic date is interrupted by the horse having a heart attack and having to be put down by a cop, which sounds tragic (and would be in real life, to be fair) but the awkward and horrified looks on Mindy and her date’s faces before they split make the moment. I’m probably going to regret saying this, but I want to see more snippets of Mindy dating post-Josh. Not long, drawn-out storylines necessarily, but more snapshots of her dating life like this could be pretty funny.

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One of the Big Problems this episode is that Danny is making Shauna, Betsy, and Morgan work on a Saturday so he can add in extra patients. Ignoring the practical question of whether anyone else works in this office for the sake of enjoying the show, I actually enjoyed this plotline. Shauna, Betsy, and Morgan play off each other well and balance each other’s eccentricties out when they’re all together. Shauna and Betsey use Facebook time to undermine Danny, while Morgan tries and fails to get revenge via the old glass of water on the door prank.

The other Big Problem is that Gwen and her daughter Riley (who, I’m going to be honest, I had completely forgotten about) are coming to stay with Mindy in the city while Gwen’s husband is away, but Mindy’s plans aren’t exactly kid-friendly. The condition of their visit is that Mindy gets Riley a bunk bed for her apartment for the weekend, which seems like an excessive demand, but Mindy’s fine with it. Her interactions with Riley over the course of the episode ended up being surprisingly adorable considering Mindy has no idea how to deal with kids, and their negotiation for a bunk bed is no exception.

Mindy ends up calling Morgan to help her assemble the bunk bed, but Danny quickly figures out where he is and hauls him back to work. Danny somehow has the time between patients to help Mindy instead, however, so he rips up the instructions (like a real man, obviously) and gets to work. Although I have issues with his hypermasculinity complex, I also feel compelled to admit that I’m maybe starting to like Danny, just a little bit. Or at least I understand where the Mindy/Danny shippers are coming from, since their bonding over bunk bed construction and relative understanding of children was actually sort of cute. Also, Danny basically raised his younger brother, which is new and aww-worthy character information, so bravo writers for making him less repellent as a person.

Speaking of Danny’s character, Shauna and Betsy stumble upon a letter to his ex-wife hidden in his desk while on their quest for People magazine. The sentiments are heartfelt, and he expresses his love and his heartbreak over finding her in bed with another man. This information sends Shauna, Betsy, and Morgan (when he joins them) into a gush-fest about Danny that I’m sure was replicated by some of the audience as well. It feels a little contrived to get emotional background about him in this way, but I’m just so glad to get some after half a season that I’ll take what the writers give me at this point.

Gwen and Riley arrive to find Danny and Mindy almost-flirting by the newly constructed bunk bed. I want to hate the way they seem to be the endgame for these writers, but it’s getting harder. The top bunk ends up falling on Gwen’s arm, probably because Danny destroyed the instructions, and he takes her to the hospital while Mindy ineffectively comforts Riley about her mother leaving. Seriously, she pats her square on the face, which I find endlessly amusing. Background information about me: I never know how to interact with children either, so I feel for Mindy in this moment.

Mindy and Riley end up bonding in the apartment while Danny bonds with a girl in the emergency room. His doctor privilege gets Gwen admitted immediately, and Waiting Room Girl—injured in the eye by a pigeon in Central Park— has a bone to pick with Danny about that. She seems like his type, or at least is interested in him without being willing to put up with any BS from him, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up again. In fact, I would be willing to say she’d be a good match for him, at least in the sarcasm department. That storyline is left open-ended, however.

Morgan, in what I’m sure was a fit of good intentions, reveals that he mailed the letter they found in Danny’s desk. Shauna and Betsy appropriately freak out, and we’re treated to Ike Barinholtz physically assaulting a mailbox, which was actually pretty funny. He seems to be very good at slapstick humor, which can be great in small doses. Thankfully that’s been the case so far. He ends up making up a story about a rogue mailer on the loose who breaks into offices and mails unsent letters, though Danny never puts the pieces together. That should bite one of them in the ass soon.

Once Gwen’s arm is repaired, she, Riley, and Mindy decide to sleep in Mindy’s very large bed. Mindy and Riley have drawn up a kid-friendly itinerary for the day, and Gwen and Mindy even get some cherished girl time once Riley falls asleep. So all’s well that ends well with that plotline. I was glad to see more of Gwen; I feel like for being one of Mindy’s best friends, we don’t get to know very much about her. I know it’s still the first season and it’s early, but given her small role recently, I was happy that she got a little more screen time than usual.

Overall, another surprisingly strong episode under The Mindy Project’s belt, though I have to admit I’m curving on a sliding scale here. I don’t think The Mindy Project is as good a comedy as some of the other offerings on TV right now, but this episode and the previous one prove to me that it seems to be growing into itself a little better than the first half of the season.

 

Favorite Lines from “Bunk Bed”

Gwen: “I think this house is haunted.” Mindy: “Gwen, this house was built in 2007.”

Shauna: “This isn’t the 1900s where you can just oppress your workers until they get cholera.”

Betsey: “How ironic. The guy who hates people reads People. It’s like if I read a magazine called ‘Hot Dogs With Mustard.’”

Riley: “I miss my mommy.” Mindy: “What? She’s basically still here.”