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'The Mindy Project' is back, and it feels so good

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    Danny (Chris Messina) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling) address their will-they-or-won't-they relationship when "The Mindy Project" returns with new episodes at 9 p.m. April 1.

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 12:00 pm

Network comedies have been struggling this season.

NBC’s high profile “The Michael J. Fox Show” and not quite so high profile “Sean Saves the World” and “Welcome to the Family” have all been axed without completing their first seasons, alongside dreadful entries like CBS’s “We Are Men."

We can only hope Fox’s even worse “Dads” will soon join their ranks in that great TV graveyard in the sky.

The only new comedies worth watching have been Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” CBS’s “The Crazy Ones,” which has really come together after an uneven pilot, and ABC’s “Trophy Wife,” which I’ve enjoyed immensely but is unlikely to get a second season.

But, laugh for laugh, no show has entertained me more this season than Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” with ABC’s “The Middle” and “Modern Family” and NBC’s “Community,” trailing slightly behind.

(A quick aside about what used to be my favorite network comedy: I feel like a traitor saying this, but NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” has lost some of its luster this year, mostly because of how insufferable the writers made Leslie as she transitioned back to the parks department after being recalled from office).

But back to “Mindy,” which struggled midway through its first season before gelling into one of TV’s funniest comedies (if only the ratings would catch up!).

It's been on a roll ever since.

If you're looking for a highlight reel, here are some episodes to find: Season one’s “Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party;” the second-season premiere, “All My Problems Solved Forever …,” which found Mindy living in Haiti with then-fiancée Casey; “Wiener Night,” in which a horrified Danny discovers his ex-wife is holding an art exhibit full of nude photos of him; “You’ve Got Sext,” featuring Peter and Morgan posing as Mindy in a text exchange with her new crush; and “Danny Castellano is My Personal Trainer,” in which Danny helps Mindy prepare for her first weekend away with a new boyfriend.

Then, of course, there is “The Desert,” which aired back in February and featured a cliffhanger that will be addressed when the show returns next week.

On a flight back to New York from L.A. — and after two season’s worth of moments that made it clear they are a will-they-or-won’t-they couple to watch — Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina) finally kissed, a lip lock that will surely change the show moving forward.

When the show returns — with two new episodes that air at 9 and 9:30 p.m. April 1 — we see the immediate aftermath of their smooch. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but I was impressed with how the writers handled it, throwing a few wrenches into the mix without dragging the semi-resolution out for too long.  

During that first episode, we also learn that Mindy is banned from Lincoln Center “because, apparently, there is a three strikes policy for falling in the fountain there,” she says; that Danny brews his own beer, Dr. Dan’s Funky Ale; and that Mindy doesn’t know the difference between the Virgin Mary and Bloody Mary.

It also features a B story following Jeremy (Ed Weeks) and Peter (Adam Pally) as they try to poach clients from a recently closed practice.

Pally, who has been a perfect addition to the cast, is much funnier in the second half hour, during which Peter discovers an incriminating video of Mindy online and helps her race to have it taken down.

That episode also includes some great vintage angry Danny moments, plus the return of his red bifocals, which I find strangely and utterly attractive.

Mindy and her crew are back, and it feels so good.   

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