GLAMOUR Season Three looks set to further explore Danny and Mindy's new relationship.
GLAMOUR
Season Three looks set to further explore Danny and Mindy’s new relationship.

★★★★☆

“The Mindy Project” is back and as good as ever with a new couple, a new character and the same funny outlook.

When we last checked in with the doctors and nurses at Shulman & Associates, Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) and Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) found themselves atop the Empire State Building and in a relationship. Peter (Adam Pally) had finally gotten a girlfriend. Dr. Reed (Ed Weeks) was skinny again. Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) and Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) were trying things out.

In the season-three opener, though, much of the focus is on Danny and Mindy’s budding relationship, ignoring some of the storylines from last season that remain less than tied up. The episode weaves the characters’ storylines together through the theme of secrets kept from lovers — and Mindy, who can’t keep any secret to herself.

New and newer characters play an enlarged role in the episode, fueling the plot. Lauren (Tracey Wigfield), who was introduced last season as Peter’s girlfriend, attempts to get the practice involved in some charity work. A new character, Lou (Rob McElhenny), Morgan’s ex-con cousin, works as the office’s IT guy:-clearly there for some easy comedic relief. While Lauren will probably be the focus of a dramatic arc for some episodes to come, Lou — at least in his current form — serves as a tertiary character, similar to the much-beloved role played by Beverly (Beth Grant) in the show’s first two seasons.

In the episode, we get our first look at how Danny and Mindy function as a couple, never having been tested before. As far as Mindy’s relationships go, this one seems pretty solid — and unexpectedly normal. They’re happy; we’re happy for them and their problems seem small compared to the issues Mindy has faced with past boyfriends. It’ll be interesting to see if the happy-couple mentality continues throughout the season. So far, it seems like their biggest problem is doing things the other person wants to do, but, as Mindy puts it, “What is a relationship if not doing things you hate in between sex sessions?”

Not to leave everyone else out, much of Mindy and Danny’s personal life gets aired out in the office — via Mindy, of course. As Mindy over-shares, she conflicts with Danny’s ideas of personal space. Then, when Mindy discovers Danny has secrets of his own, she can’t quite comprehend the concept of keeping things to herself. As she goes on a quest to find out Danny’s secrets, we learn more about Dr. Castellano, which gives his character a little more humanity in the end.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reed and Lauren work to get Shulman & Associates to do some charity work for the charity “Doctors Without Molars,” which puts orthodontists in developing countries. They have to keep their own secret from Peter and the rest of the practice. Of course, it gets around in the end, thanks to Mindy — with everyone else’s help. From the looks of it, the consequences of this are something we’ll be dealing with for at least the next few episodes.

Notably absent from the episode is Betsy (Zoe Jarman), who is no longer a series regular on the show, although some guest appearances are still possible.

Although she plays a diminished role in this episode, Tamra, who carried many episodes last season as a real comedic tour de force, is still a part of the show. As the season progresses, it would be great to see the parts of this episode that come from Tamra while she is at the party to celebrate the start of their new charity work. She refuses to stop videotaping as the conflict unfolds between the other characters.

Beverly, who was one of my favorite characters in past seasons, has outstayed her welcome a bit, and the show’s writers seem to know that: She only has a few lines in this episode. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her role continue to diminish as Lou’s character develops.

Season three’s opener was a solid episode of “The Mindy Project,” getting this season off to a good start. While not the best episode of the show to date, it worked as a plot-developing episode, creating a lot of plotlines for the show to follow over the next few episodes.

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