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THE MINDY PROJECT: 11 classic Rom-Com tropes in the series finale

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From day one it has been no secret that Mindy Kaling has been significantly influenced by romantic comedies and that THE MINDY PROJECT is pretty much a homage to them. So it makes sense that the series finale, aptly titled “It Had to Be You”, would be scattered with plenty of rom-com tropes. In our final MINDY PROJECT episode discussion ever * sob *, we break them down for you…

The heroine has obstacles that she needs to overcome 

Pictured: Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

Following on from the end of last week’s episode which saw the departure of Dr Jody Kimball-Kinney and his announcement that he would be pulling his equity and half of Mindy’s Later Baby practice, Mindy is trying to find a way to come up with the money to save her practice. As she narrates to the audience, “can our plucky heroine defeat the odds one more time?” We sure hope so.

A death sends a character spiraling

In rom-coms it’s not uncommon for an unexpected death to send another character spiraling. In this case, it’s the sudden death of his stern father that sends Jeremy spiraling – but not because he’s grieving but rather because he’s free and “ready to live life off the leash”. This means ditching his suits for more hip clothing items such as a puffy vest, going around sans underwear, dying his hair and talking like a college freshman. In true rom-com form, it takes a loved one – in this case, girlfriend Anna – to give him a reality check which jolts Jeremy back to hit “uptight and repressed” self again. A shame, since Mindy liked “Cool Jeremy”, while Beverly missed “Fat Jeremy”.

A Wedding 

Pictured: (l-r) Xosha Roquemore as Tamra Webb, Ike Barinholtz as Morgan Tookers — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

Who doesn’t love a good wedding in a rom-com? In the finale it’s Morgan and Tamra’s wedding (who would have thought, right?), which is ordained by Cousin Lou (welecome back!) and features Mindy giving a speech at the reception – more on that later.

The grumpy guy admits that he was wrong 

FINALLY! This is something that many of us have waiting for since Season 4 – Danny admitting that he was wrong about his beliefs regarding Mindy being a working mother. Not only is he impressed by Later Baby’s success but he later literally says the words “I was wrong” and admits that he was not only misguided in his fears that her professional goals would affect her role as a mother, but he also tells Mindy that he believes in her. Aww, you guys! ❤

There’s sage advice from an older character 

Pictured: (l-r) Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri, Jenny O’hara as Dot — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

While I wouldn’t call Dot wise, she does give Mindy some advice that may not seem like much at the time but ends up being pretty significant. As Mindy is getting ready for the wedding, Dot, who is there to watch Leo (who by the way does not make an appearance in this episode, which is a shame), tells Mindy to swap the bracelet she is wearing because she “looks like a hooker” and offers her a more simpler and classier bracelet, which also happens to be a bracelet that Danny gave Mindy that used to belong to his grandmother and has Italian engraved on it.

Guy tries to save girl

In rom-coms there is often the need for a male to play the role of the white knight to help a damsel in distress. In this case it’s Danny becoming a not-so-secret investor in Later Baby to provide Mindy with new equity. She thinks it’s a new way for him to control her and while he says he admits he can see why she may think that, he reassures her that it’s not and he genuinely wants to help save her business.

A musical number

Don’t lie – you couldn’t have sat through this episode and see the musical number put on by Morgan, Jeremy, Anna, Beverly and Colette, set to Jason Derulo’s ‘Want You to Want Me” and dedicated to Tamra, and not ended up with a smile on your face! Seriously, I dare you to defy me! I was quite impressed by Ike Barinholtz’ moves too. A lot of fans were speculating as to whether we’d ever see Chris Messina’s Danny ever dance on the show again, and while we may not have gotten on more encore performance of that, this is pretty much the next best thing. I have to say, while watching this scene, I couldn’t help but think of a similar scenario on The Office in the episode where Jim and Pam get married, which also happened to be co-written by the one and only, Mindy Kaling. Coincidence or not?

A romantic gesture

Pictured: (l-r) Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri, Ike Barinholtz as Morgan Tookers — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

You can’t have a rom-com without a big romantic gesture and it’s mid-speech at the reception when she’s talking about how people change without you even realizing (and also learning the Italian word engraved on the bracelet means “run”) that Mindy realizes that she needs to leave and go to Danny. In a nice throwback to the pilot, she borrows Morgan’s bike and pedals her way through the city. She even encounters a pool and like she said in her speech, “That’s the funny thing about changing; it happens so slowly you don’t realize a person has changed until you look at them and they’re not the person you thought they were.”  and this time knows better to avoid the pool and eventually ends up running through the streets of Manhattan (also a nice little nod to Danny’s own romantic gesture in the Season 2 finale).

Unspoken truths and miscommunication

Of course the course of true love never did run smooth and Mindy finally finds Danny at the hospital, where his ma has just had a mastectomy, and just as she’s ready to be real with him and share her feelings, he notices that she’s wearing his grandmother’s bracelet and remarks that his grandfather gave it to his grandmother to tell her to run because she weighed 400 pounds. Disheartened, Mindy keeps her feelings to herself and pretends that she’s there for Annette.

The sidekicks provide a reality check

Pictured: (l-r) Chris Messina as Danny Castellano, Rhea Perlman as Annette Castellano, Max Minghella as Richie Castellano — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

Even before Mindy leaves, Mama knows best and Annette can tell that Mindy is not here for her and tries to give Danny some looks hinting but he doesn’t take the bait – if anything, he puts his foot in it more. Oh Danny! Anyway, once Mindy leaves after “making sure Annette was okay”, his mom and brother (yay Richie! We didn’t get nearly enough of him throughout the series. I did always have secret hopes for a spin-off series with Mindy and Danny’s younger brothers, Rishi and Richie – it would have been so entertaining!) immediately turn to him and call Danny an idiot. It takes a while for Danny to clue in with Annette lamenting that she thought she raised her son to be more aware and Richie yelling at him that Mindy arriving at the hospital was a romantic gesture. Aha! There goes the lightbulb inside Danny’s head.

The final moments are the big reunion

Pictured: Chris Messina as Danny Castellano — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

Reminiscent of my favorite episode of THE MINDY PROJECT ever, we see Danny rushing through the hospital trying to find Mindy and finally finding her in a breakroom with her arm stuck in a vending machine in true Mindy fashion. The look of relief on Danny’s face after he realizes that he’s not too late also transports me back to May 2014. After some slight hesitance, these two finally lay it on the line with Danny admitting, “It was dumb, I thought you were going to say you love me again. That you want to try  and make things work“, with this fangirl screaming at her screen, “She doesn’t love you again, she never stopped loving you!” and low and behold, what do you know? Mindy admits, “I wasn’t going to say that I love you again; I was going to say I never stopped loving you and I don’t think I ever will.” Booyah! They kiss, there’s a bit of banter, they kiss again and a bit more banter before in a nice throwback to the end of the pilot episode, they decide to sit and watch some TV in the lounge because hey, they “have the rest of their lives to argue“. Say what you want about the ballad of Mindy and Danny – hell there have been moments where I’ve questioned them, but this ending gave me joy and set my fangirl heart aglow. Like Mindy said, people change and these two changed, which is what needed to happen for these two to ever have any hope of trying again. I’m happy with the way things ended and in my mind they live happily ever after – snarky quips included.

 

RELATED LINKS:

THE MINDY PROJECT: Favorite 25 episodes EVER
THE MINDY PROJECT: Four key revelations from “Doctors Without Boundaries”
THE MINDY PROJECT: The many pop culture references from “Girl Gone Wild”
THE MINDY PROJECT announces sixth and final season
THE MINDY PROJECT Recap: Pilot

Ange is the Girl from Oz who travelled the States. Teen dramas, rom-comedies and superhero shows are her weakness. She also loves a good crime and medical drama and probably watches more TV than she can handle…
You can contact her at ange@nicegirlstv.com.

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