The following conversation contains major spoilers for "The Mindy Project" Season 2 finale, "Danny and Mindy." Do not read ahead if you have not yet seen it!
Leigh Weingus: Okay, Liat, since we've been behind "The Mindy Project" since day one, I think we need to talk about what was -- in my opinion -- the best episode of the entire series, "Danny And Mindy." I laughed, I cried ... and I was proud of Danny for finally going "all in." It seems like these two have finally found their happy ending.
Liat Kornowski: I completely agree that it was the best episode yet, or in the wise words of Mindy Kaling's BFF B.J. Novak, "I loved the acting, writing, direction, the score." (Bruce Springsteen!) But I was far prouder of Mindy taking charge of her own heart and her own fate, more so than anything else. Turning down Danny like that? Come on. Such growth!
LW: BRUCE! Yeah, that was great. And while I agree that it refreshing to watch Mindy stand up for herself, I couldn't help but think ... why Danny? He was standing in front of her telling her he loved her, and plenty of guys have said much less to Mindy and she's fallen right into their arms. So why is it that Danny is the one person she's strong enough to push away when he's been wonderful to her? I mean, they're best friends.
LK: That's exactly why! It just emphasizes how insignificant all these other guys were -- Josh, Cliff, even Casey. She went through the heartbreak and came out the other side her fantastic, multi-colored self. But something about Danny, despite them glossing over the breakup the way they did, stuck with her. He broke her heart, big time. Not like all those other guys. So when it came to, she was too scared to put herself out there again. It is the most grown up we've ever seen her. Empowered Mindy is almost fiercer than Beyonce Pad-Thai!
LW: Okay, I see what you're saying. She was really fierce, and it was great. But she was also vulnerable. I don't think we've seen Mindy cry like that over anything or anyone. And that's where the friendship aspect comes in. Despite everything, Mindy has always been comfortable around Danny. Remember how a few episodes ago she was having a hard time breaking up with what's-his-name because she can't break up with anyone? She was finally able to be completely open and honest.
When she said "You love me until you don't. I'm not gonna do that again" ... my heart broke.
LK: OMG that bathroom scene was the scene to end all scenes. Sure, the New York montage was superb and the Empire State Building ending was the epitome of all that is rom-com, but that bathroom scene was so pure and honest and raw.
When he grabbed her face like that! And said I love you! And she said she simply cannot be "the stupidest person in the world" anymore. Man ... we've all been there. All the power to you Mindy, standing up to the guy you can barely resist. Even if I not so secretly rooted for that ending to come together.
LW: You know what I actually found to be Mindy's most powerful moment? When she told Danny that he was right when he said that "guys don't break up with girls they secretly want to be with." I think that's a concept we've all had to come to terms with at some point in our lives. Regardless of what someone says when they break up with you, they're still breaking up with you. Getting to the point where you can accept that idea is hugely empowering -- at least it was for me, not to get all personal -- and being strong enough to completely walk away feels pretty great.
Of course, when that concept is proved wrong, à la "He's Just Not That Into You" and Danny and Mindy, well, it's just beautiful.
LK: That is such a strong point. Because it's easy to see a rom-com, the basic template of which shaped this episode, obviously, but the entire premise of the series -- boy meets girls, boy and girl fall in love, something bad happen, how do they overcome it to be together forever, etc. -- as a concept that doesn't allow for real emotions, real characters, any sort of journey.
That they ended up together talking about having one boy vs. nine girls is the perfect ending, but it is so much more satisfying when they have both earned their place there.
They've both overcome their own struggles, both have come to terms of what life would be like without the other, and both have made the decision that's not where they want to be. No egos, no games. Which mirrors real life more than a 30-minute-with-commercials TV series usually allows for.
LW: So, so true. I love what you said about them having "earned their place there." They accepted that they would live their lives separately, and then came to the conclusion that neither of them wanted that. How romantic. How are we going to survive without Mindy until fall?!
LK: Umm ... by binge-watching Mindy Kaling's spectacular Twitter feed?? Cannot wait for Season 3!