Sep 18 2013 8:53am

Live, Laugh, Love: New Girl and The Mindy Project Season Premiere Recaps

The cast of New Girl Season 3When last we saw the heroines of New Girl and The Mindy Project, both were headed off for romance and adventure. Where did they go from there? As the season premieres show us, it’s in two very different, but equally entertaining directions.

***NOTE: This post contains SPOILERS for New Girl 3.01, “All In,” as well as The Mindy Project 2.01, “All My Problems Solved Forever.”***

New Girl: After deciding to take a chance on each other and making a grand exit from CeCe’s would-have-been wedding, Nick and Jess find themselves faced with an important question: where do they go from here?

Home seems like the obvious choice, but outside the door, the newly-minted couple hesitates. They’ve only been dating for thirty minutes and they’re already living together. Back to the car it is, and Nick nods off. When he wakes, he notices things look more than a little different. Jess kept on driving…all the way to Mexico. Remember when they lived in that loft and had all those problems? Whole new world here.

Nick can work with that. He’ll be Paradise Nick, and tosses his phone into the ocean…which is going to mightily annoy some Mexican fish, as Schmidt is frantically trying to call his friend for some important advice on the ladies. Schmidt couldn’t break up with CeCe or Elizabeth, telling each he’d dumped the other, but he’ll have to rely on Winston, because Paradise Nick is so chill that he convinces Jess they should sneak into a fancy resort hotel. All fun and games until Nick gets hauled off by the police, and Jess hauls, um, herself back home, demanding all the cash Schmidt and Winston have, along with Nick’s passport.

Winston and Schmidt’s bromance is on the rocks, but Jess doesn’t have time for their problems. Nick is rotting in Mexican jail, fresh meat for the seasoned inmates. When the boys consider that Nick could be a bitch, Jess retorts, in a most adorkable pique, that Nick is her bitch. The gang runs out of money and ideas quickly, but all’s well. Nick was only in resort jail, and refuses to let anything jeopardize his future with Jess when he’s only just got her. He’s going to stay in Mexico and make this work, even if that takes shredding his passport, while a still-squabbling Winston and Schmidt try to save the document.

Jess stops the madness. They’re all family, and they can’t choose who they love. There’s no Nick and Jess without Schmidt and Winston. She’s all in, she declares, as Nick’s passport slips through the shredder. Thanks to Winston’s questionable puzzle skills (and color blindness) the gang presents a reconstructed passport at customs and finds themselves once more at that fateful door, only to find out Nick doesn’t carry a key…but he will, for Jess.

Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling as Danny and Mindy in The Mindy Project 2x01The Mindy Project: Running off to Haiti with minister boyfriend Casey seemed like a good idea at the time, and when Casey proposes to Mindy in the glow of a Haitian sunrise, Mindy accepts. The betrothed pair’s intimate celebration is cut short, however, when Mindy experiences abdominal pains…and wakes up in NY, in the tender care of nurse Morgan, who explains she was airlifted for emergency gallbladder surgery.

Though Danny’s making a go of therapy with his ex, courtesy of the oddly named Dr. Leotard, he races right to Mindy’s bedside as soon as he hears. Mindy tells him she’s changed, with pictures to prove it, and of course this is the cue for Casey to enter the room and ask Mindy to tell her friends their good news. Morgan flips out, but Danny has trouble taking it in.

James Franco and Mindy Kaling as Dr. Leotard and Dr. Lahiri in The Mindy Project Season 2Later, Mindy and Casey mull over introducing her extended family from India to his racist family from Pasadena. Ever since going to Haiti with Casey, Mindy doesn’t need what she used to need; all she needs is him. They’ll marry this week…though that doesn’t stop her from ogling Dr. Leotard when they encounter each other at the practice. Danny suggests that getting married this quickly isn’t the best idea, and Mindy returns the advice when she learns Danny is considering proposing to his ex as well.

On the day of the wedding, Mindy startles Casey while they’re sharing the bathroom, resulting in Casey accidentally peeing on Mindy’s wedding dress. Mindy retreats to the fire escape, and it’s there that Danny comes out to join her. He’s not going to propose after all. Mindy answers that she doesn’t want to return to Haiti. She hasn’t changed after all, only learned to pretend. Danny, of course, knew that all along. As long as she’s not pretending to love Casey, she should go get married. The soiled dress? Not an issue. Danny always thought she looked great in scrubs, so that’s what she wears down the aisle.

Well, most of the way. Casey doesn’t want to marry her like this. This small, homey wedding isn’t Mindy. She should have a giant extravaganza, and he can’t provide that. Casey will return to Haiti, and Mindy should stay in NY. Maybe somewhere down the line, things will be different. Mindy sees Casey off at the airport, with wistful smiles for what might have been. Maybe work can be her solace, though she’ll have to vie with Dr. Leotard for her place in the practice.

What’s next for our intrepid heroines and their beaus? Stay tuned.


Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I watched the Mindy Project last night, and I think it maintained its exuberance brilliance of the first season. I loved the Casey solution, and how Danny's face changes when he thinks about or looks at Mindy, and how oblivious she seems to be about him. I like the new assistant ("No, I think her name is Glob"), and James Franco's cameo was delightful. Very excited for this season.
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
@MFrampton, "Glob" had me laughing, the Casey solution was the right amount of poignant and practical, and oh those looks from Danny. How can someone as smart as Mindy miss something like that? Can't wait to see what's next.
Jennifer Proffitt
3. JenniferProffitt
New Girl became too cutesy for me and the shenanigans too over the top. I do still watch the show but I find Schmidt far more compelling and likable than our adorkable heroine. However, I do still want to steal all of her clothes. And the boyfriend she had before Nick. He was yummy.

As for The Mindy Project: I have a deep and abiding love for Mindy Kaling and I love this show. I think it's a toned down, more mature version of New Girl and while it still has plenty of wild shenanigans, I can tolerate (and enjoy) them much more than in New Girl! And they have great guest stars--I'm waiting for Timothy Olyphant!
Anna Bowling
4. AnnaBowling
@JenniferProffitt, Schmidt happens, and we are all the better for it. Ah, him. What's not to love? Can't wait to see how he handles things this season.

Definitely agree that The Mindy Project comes across as a more mature New Girl. It's like hanging out with cool big and little sisters each week.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
I enjoy New Girl (I actually think Winston is my favorite part over Nick/Jess -- his puzzle stuff cracked me up last night), but Mindy Project is easily my favorite of the two. Kaling's sense of humor just really suits me, I guess. Also, I admit it, I ship Mindy/Danny, though I don't want them to get together for a long time.
Anna Bowling
6. AnnaBowling
@redline_, Winston is a treasure. The puzzle/colorblindness stuff last night was priceless. Upside down pieces, an almond, and if he thinks those green shoes are brown, the what color does he think he is, himself?

Shipping Mindy/Danny here, too, though I only want them to get together at the very end.
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