The Mindy Project 4×01 ‘While I Was Sleeping’: It’s a Not-So Wonderful Life

Mindy Pajamas

Mindy and Danny are one of the best relationships on television – or the Internet (welcome Hulu!) – today. They make each other stronger, and give each other stability. Danny’s the kind, responsible man Mindy’s always been looking for, and Mindy has enough unconditional love to help Danny recover from his previous relationships. But what happens if you take it all away? You get one miserable Mindy, one depressed Danny, and one excellent season premiere.

The episode picks up where the season three finale left off: with Danny in India to introduce himself to Mindy’s parents. While Mindy, alone and pregnant, is stuck not knowing where the father of her baby is, or what state their relationship is in. No wonder she wishes she could have fallen in love with someone else.

Source: Hulu

Source: Hulu

The episode takes Mindy’s depressing wish and puts a fun twist on it, having her dream up a perfect world where she falls in love with someone just like her. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a lot of fun as Matt, her rich, supportive, Real Housewives producing, husband. Mindy barely skips a beat before going along with her dream world; her love of romantic movies allows her to understand that she’s in a spoof of Sliding Doors and It’s a Wonderful Life. Instead of freaking out, Mindy decides to have fun with it and enjoy herself. No baby? Fine, she gets to have all the food she missed. New husband? Cool, they live on Gramercy Park and he makes pancakes. In this universe, Danny hates her? Fine, she doesn’t care, her life is better off with Matt anyway.

Honestly, it’s almost surprising that Mindy doesn’t remember that the other shoe always drops in these movies. She’s in an open marriage and sleeping with Brendan Deslaurier, she’s giving up her dream of kids for a recording studio, and instead of a fertility clinic she’s going to make girdles.

The show brings up the idea that sometimes, maybe the perfect person for us is the one who challenges our ideas. While Danny supports Mindy, he also challenges her to see what she wants, and what is just a passing wish. She wants to open a fertility clinic? Okay, he supports her. She wants to have a recording studio? No way is he going to agree to that, and honestly Mindy would probably forget about the idea a few minutes later. But Matt agrees with everything she says, and what starts out as a random idea ends up putting her in way over her head.

Source: Hulu

Source: Hulu

While Mindy’s off in her “perfect” dream universe, Danny’s stuck in the real world trying to fix his mistakes. Once in India, he promptly uses every single bit of his courage to confess his situation with Mindy, only to reveal the situation to the Lahiris’ non-English speaking housekeeper, and leaving him unable to actually confess to Mindy’s parents. This turns into a bit of a problem when they enlist him to set up an arranged marriage for Mindy. It gets even worse when Morgan, sent by Mindy to find Danny, ends up in India as well.

Mindy’s parents are a perfect explanation for how Mindy grew up to be a confident, smart, and love-struck woman. A professor father and an actor mother who met on the day of their wedding, and developed a love so strong it lasted for forty years. Whereas Danny’s past was filled with struggle and bitterness, making him weary of love, Mindy’s past was filled with happy parents who constantly boosted their daughter’s self-esteem. Even Danny has hope for love just by being around them.

Danny has never been able to fully believe in marriage due to his past: his parents’ failed marriage and his own disastrous attempt with Christina scarred him for life. But Mindy – and her parents – have given him hope for love again. Mindy is the woman who made him realize he can love someone besides Christina, and her parents give him a hopeful image of how his marriage with Mindy can be a success. The fact that they do it while saying “Ex-squeeze me?” and continually talking about their love for Boston is just the icing on the cake.

Source: Hulu

Source: Hulu

Danny and Mindy both come back changed by their experiences: Danny realizes that a long-lasting, loving marriage can exist, and Mindy realizes that whatever universe she’s in, she belongs there with Danny. That’s why Danny’s proposal is so moving: it’s low-key and sweet, and even sweeter with the fact that the couple realizes that they need each other, and have a love that can last for a long, long time.

Notes and Observations

  • Welcome back to The Mindy Project reviews everyone! I’m so excited to review this show again, especially on Hulu.
  • Morgan is apparently good friends with Mindy’s parents, because of course he is.
  • Am I the only one who was surprised at just how dark Mindy and Danny’s fates were in the dream world? Mindy supposedly dies trying to convince Danny she loves him, and while we don’t see his reaction, I’m pretty sure Danny would have a lot of guilt and pain over the event.
  • I love when Morgan tries to hunt down Danny, his first place to go to is Pakistan. There is no reason why Danny would even be there, but to Morgan it’s the logical conclusion.
  • I love the weather symbolism in this episode. When Mindy goes to sleep in the beginning, it’s raining. Her dream world starts off sunny, as it’s apparently perfect, only to start to rain again once she realizes how unhappy her life is there. It’s raining the heaviest when Danny rejects Mindy and she gets hit by the bus. But when Mindy wakes up to Danny’s proposal, the sun’s out and shining.

 

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