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Despite a small but passionate fanbase and critical support across the board, the Fox comedy Enlisted lost its Friday 9 PM time slot to Gordon Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares. And it doesn't figure at all into the network's summer schedule. There are four episodes left in the original order of 13, but when and if they'll see the light of day remains a mystery.
Despite the fact that Fox surely knew it was taking a risk on a heartfelt sitcom set at an Army base with no big names attached, Chairman Kevin Reilly pledged his support for the show. So then why in the name of the Rear D platoon would the network choose to air its episodes out of the intended order? We're stumped.
Another new Fox comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine came onto the scene with the caché of an SNL veteran lead, an Emmy-winning straight man, and the creative brains behind Parks and Recreation. Still, the series' character development and the escalating chemistry of the ensemble kept viewers engaged. Brooklyn Nine-Nine got a comfortable early renewal and a couple of Golden Globes for its troubles. Now, if the episodes had been shuffled as Enlisted's have been, would fans be as invested in the Jake/Amy relationship? What about Captain Holt's growing respect for his squad?
The Enlisted swaps confused viewers. In one episode, Derrick is dating dive bartender and single mom Erin. In the next, they don't speak. On social media, part of the show's potential audience knew of the shake-up and were vocal about waiting to be able to watch the series as the producers intended, harming the show's chances at getting a decent live tune-in crowd. (Also an issue? The way Nielsen inaccurately measures viewing in "group quarters" like, say, an army barracks.) We have to assume that Fox guessed that certain later episodes would capture viewers' attention better than the ones immediately following the pilot. But when a creative team is working to build a world and characters that an audience can connect with and follow, pulling a move like this is nothing but frustrating.
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After getting dumped by Cliff (Glenn Howerton) on a technicality, Mindy is certain she will be exonerated like "Amanda Foxy Knoxy Knox." She has been faced with the mission of winning him back after getting caught at a party with her Pastor/DJ/Shoe Designer ex on last week's The Mindy Project. But as she gets ready to head home from Los Angeles, Danny (Chris Messina) who is arguably a more substantial and slow-burning love interest, needs Mindy for support meeting his estranged father (Dan Hedaya). Conflicted with the urge to stay or go, Mindy decides to return to New York to salvage her relationship with a guy who already dumped her.
Mindy instead gets stuck in the car with Danny headed to his dad's house, while Peter (Adam Pally) and Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) are trapped back at the practice under much different circumstances. Eager to leave work and rebound with a butterface, Party Boy Peter gives himself a bathroom mirror pep talk, saying "I hope you've got your life vest on, because we're about to go motorboating." After the bathroom door breaks, it's clear that Peter's motorboat options are now limited to Morgan, who is also trapped.
Missing her flight, Mindy still supports Danny and pushes him to visit with his Dad. They quickly meet Little Danny, Danny's half sister from his father's current marriage. As Danny realizes that the man he hates is now a good father, he handles it the manliest way possible: drinking and wandering in the desert. At this point Mindy has moved on, attempting to make her way to the airport and back into Cliff's heart. But Danny continues to test their bond, drunk dialing Mindy while lost, ultimately making her miss another flight.
More potential is revealed in the seemingly superficial relationship with Cliff, when Morgan and Peter hear him in his office while stuck in the bathroom. Sharing the same building, Morgan and Peter recognize Cliff's voice through the vent. Not knowing about the break up, they call for help before hearing Cliff launch into an epic session of cry-singing Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me." They decide they'd rather be trapped forever than acknowledge hearing that. Once freed they meet Cliff in the elevator, sporting a post-cry glow, and invite him out to a boys night. Party Boy Peter even cancels on a "Wisconsin nine" for the occasion, so it's pretty serious.
The more dire issue unfolding is Mindy reaching her breaking point with Danny. His unraveling over his father goes too far, and Mindy calls him out in a way that is harsh yet telling of a loving relationship. Danny and his dad finally have a heart to heart, that seems more informative than funny until we're reminded that Danny was once a skilled ballerina ("a primo ballerino"). The heart-to-hearts hardly stop there as Danny and Mindy finally find their way onto a plane home. They apologize and Danny helps Mindy draft a letter to win back Cliff. They seem to fall back into the platonic pattern they've settled into, until Mindy gets up for a tonic water. Possibly moved by literal turbulence, Danny seizes the moment and meets Mindy for a sexual tension breaking make-out session that will change the course of this Rom Sitcom. For those who've been following their relationship, the next new episode of The Mindy Project on April 1st can't come soon enough.
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It's field trip season at Schulman and Associates, and everyone is heading to Los Angeles to learn about lip injections and vaginal rejuvenation. But Mindy (Mindy Kaling) is not about to leave town without dropping a few Entourage impressions and a bomb on her budding relationship, asking Cliff to move in with her. This all-too-soon proposition stops their chemistry instantly, as Mindy heads across the country with Danny (Chris Messina), Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) and Party Boy Peter (Adam Pally).
After a plane ride long enough to learn that Mindy is terrible at napping and Danny still has daddy issues, they arrive. Mindy and Peter pair up for the longest time since crushing a wedding earlier this season. Their bromance was more than worth the wait. It's almost harmonious how they're both equal parts girly girl and frat boy, as if they cancel out how annoying each other could be. On a sentimental level Mindy and Peter connect in their hopeless romanticism (and their love for Maria Menounos), adding depth to their hilarity.
Not long into a shopping spree for naked lady shoes, Mindy runs into her ex-fiance Casey. It initially looked like the Pastor/D.J. had pathetically moved on to retail, but Casey owns the trendy store "Dope Feet" where they sell shoes that are "ugly, but on purpose." Both boasting about their post break-up lives, Mindy shares she has a boyfriend while Casey just had an "adult onset growth spurt." Before parting Casey invites Mindy to a celebrity pool party, which she declines.
Mindy tells Cliff about running into Casey and he asks her not to go out with him. But as she consoles Peter about a broken heart, Mindy convinces herself she's going to the party for her friend's sake. Intentionally avoiding Casey, Mindy gets cornered in a recurring bit with Kevin Smith, where he addresses her as his overweight equal ("I'm like an ant hill and you're like a volcano."). Finally they reunite in the pool, where Mindy can't avoid Casey without ruining her hair and makeup underwater. Casey mistakes this for a "pool sex vibe," driving Mindy out of the party back to her hotel.
Meanwhile Morgan is getting Danny out of his hotel to face the fear of seeing his estranged father. This was brought up earlier in the season when Danny's brother visited New York. Just as Danny starts to have fun in Old West Town, Morgan confesses plans to reunite him with his dad. Danny storms off, stealing Morgan's room at the YMCA to drunk-dial the man in question. This secondary storyline was not resolved and is likely setting up a second episode in L.A., where we finally meet Danny's father.
Mindy's Los Angeles story seems to be heating up for a continued episode as well. Cliff breaks up with Mindy after seeing a picture of her and Casey on the Internet, leaving her single in a city with the man she thought she'd marry. Casey is charming enough to make Mindy and the audience miss him, yet with the kind of hubris that makes us want him to eventually go away. While they wont get back together, revisiting Mindy's feelings for Casey may make for some hilarious and heartbreaking moments next week, perfect for this rom-sitcom.
Since leaving The Mindy Project over the holidays, this week's episode picked up where it left off with Mindy and Cliff's budding relationship. Facing typical new relationship "firsts," Mindy finds out that slipping off satin sheets is nothing compared to getting in a bikini. But after Cliff suggests a romantic getaway featuring a jacuzzi, Mindy is left to do just that with her winter body ("Over the holiday I had five hams and a goose, like I am a wolf in a children's story!"). Though she and Cliff have reached a "UTI" level of intimacy, Mindy reveals that through a series of illusions she can have sex without being seen naked. ("I pretend that I'm really into blindfolds.") Tasked with getting in shape and prying her hand out of a coffee cake, Mindy briefly employs Morgan before upgrading to Danny as her personal trainer, setting the primary plot line in motion. There were only a few cheesy Tinder jokes along the way. ("I'm on Timber, that's an app for loggers looking for trouble.")
Meanwhile Dr. Reed has fallen ill with, as we find out later, a case of the threesomes. Dr. Party Boy Peter Prentice takes over as managing partner at the practice, raising the classic question, "What could possibly go wrong?" Well, besides everything, Dr. Prentice finds that being in charge comes with challenges that broing out can't solve. Between conflicts with Morgan and Tamara and a cameo from Owlie the owl, his work is more than cut out for him. But while Mindy and Danny are off doing sit ups in Fat Steps, this secondary storyline is setting up Dr. Prentice and Dr. Reed to gain a greater understanding of each other as characters. It only took a million rubber gloves to do it.
Mindy sums up her motives for getting fit best, saying "I want to be so hot that Cliff would date me even if I had a bad personality." This inspires Danny more than anything to treat her like the weight loss equivalent of a "Marine movie where a guy kills himself during basic." As these two have danced around each other for nearly two seasons, their relationship makes us question if Danny is a romantic interest or just a facilitator of romantic interests for Mindy. Their platonic dynamic during this episode suggests that Danny is the only one who understands Mindy enough to motivate her ("Michael Fassbender is trapped in a well!"). Their familiar and misguided sexual tension returns with a slightly forced yet enjoyable steam room scene, where Danny not only sees Mindy naked, but gets stuck to her that way.
Mindy endures a leg injury and an offer of constructive criticism from Danny about her body, before they return to a practice full of new Prentice-induced problems. The primary and secondary storylines meet when Mindy strips down in front of the mirror in her office, exposing herself to Owlie as Danny walks in. Misunderstanding his suggestion as criticism about her body, a fully-clothed Mindy unloads her insecurities on Danny ("I know that I have a scar on my back that looks like a swastika!") and fires him as her trainer. Danny clarifies and concludes the episode, only suggesting that she should not suck in her stomach so much. He offers further hope for a slow burn romance with Mindy, telling her she's got a body like a woman and should not change that.