When I tell the punchline wrong

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The Mindy Project – “Wiener Night”

Ugh. What in the ever-living shit was that cold open? Well, it was terrible, for one thing. Before I even watch the rest of this episode, I just need to lay out how awful and unfunny that entire sequence was. First of all, what was even the point of Kevin Smith being there? He wasn’t even playing a character! He’s just there for the show to make some of the most tired fat jokes of all time, including the absolute worst: fat people take smelly poops. (Hardy-har-har! Why is this even a joke?! Everybody poops!) There are a million different ways The Mindy Project could have introduced Ben Feldman’s character–whose name I don’t yet know and who really didn’t have any chemistry with Mindy–and they went with one that works zero percent of its running time. Okay, that’s out of my system, I’m gonna finish that episode now.

Well, I’m back, and I’m sad to say that “Wiener Night” never improved much past that cold open. If I had to pick one word to describe this episode, it’d be “unpleasant.” Ben Feldman’s character, the arts and culture editor some trendy, New York underground newspaper named Jason, is a deeply unpleasant person. He’s snooty, judgmental, willfully ignorant of all pop-culture, presumptuous, and patronizing. They go on two very unpleasant dates where he is awful, and even his “redemption,” where he sings and plays Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” on ukelele (Ugh, I just… what?), was unearned and unsatisfying.

One of those deeply unpleasant dates, unfortunately, is the messy center of “Wiener Night.” Danny’s ex-wife Christina, who is a genuine insane person, is holding a gallery opening full of nude photos of Danny. (Ugh.) Of course, the entire office must attend, including both Brendan Deslaurier (Mark Duplass) and Cliff Gilbert (Glenn Howerton). (Uugghh.) And Danny gets drunk and has a public meltdown, right before its revealed that Christina was even more insane than originally thought and made a Lynchian video about being betrayed by Danny and, what, drew on them with some kind of fluorescent marker that only shows under blacklights? (Uuuggghhh.) Meanwhile, Jason is a douche, Mindy accidentally Instagrams a picture of her boobs, and Adam Pally and Ike Barinholtz spend ~3 minutes laughing at the word “penis.” (Uuuuuggggghhhhh.) If this was the first episode of The Mindy Project I’d ever seen, I would hate all of these people immensely. I would hate this show immensely. At this point, I can’t even understand why any of this had to happen.

After what I saw as great progress last week, “Wiener Night” was a slap in the face. (Not like that, pervert.) There’s so little here worthwhile, it’s almost as dire as when Mindy and Danny went to Staten Island, and might even be a little worse. From the bizarre cold open through groan-worthy scene after groan-worthy scene, “Wiener Night” was a Mindy Project failure of pretty epic proportions, and definitely not the kind of episode the show should be airing after one of it’s very best. Or to sum it all up: Ugh ugh ugh ugh UGH UGH ugh uuuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!

Stray Observations

  • While it’s a terrible indicator of quality, the only joke in this episode I actually laughed at came from Tamra, of all people: “Rayron [I’m probably wrong about this name] took a picture of me in a bikini once, I was so mad, but then he sent it to this modeling agency, and now I’m on shampoo bottles in Japan!”
  • Cliff is actually a divorce lawyer, which was mildly amusing.
  • One last thought from the cold open: Mindy’s returning from an enemy’s wedding? What?!
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