We need to talk about Danny of The Mindy Project. Don’t get me wrong, he and Mindy Lahiri had a brief, good run: the charming and accomplished Mindy coaxed the grumpy, scorned-by-love Danny out of his dusty old shell. He finally stopped talking about Christina, his elusive ex on whom he blamed all bad things. I was even kind of excited when they had that big, romantic kiss on the plane.
But now he’s slated to return to The Mindy Project for the final season, and I need to get this off my chest: he positively, absolutely, most certainly sucks.
Let’s begin. First of all—and this irritated me way before Danny and Mindy were a couple—why in the hell is he constantly yelling “MA!” at his phone? It’s part of his “I’m a mega-Italian from Staten Island” schtick, but I’m having none of it. He works in an intimate setting, and that is plainly poor office etiquette. Other mannerisms of his akin to nails on a chalkboard: he always seems to be eating a sandwich, he often chews with his mouth open, and his second-from-the-top button is frequently undone. That is one. too. low.
Then Mindy and Danny start dating, and Danny gets more Danny. In season 3, episode 4, Danny switches from 4th to 5th base without asking Mindy first, and he doesn’t bat a fricken eye. His excuse? He “slipped.” As Mindy’s BFF Peter so eloquently explains later in the episode, “No man in the history of time has ever been in bed and, quote-unquote, ‘slipped’ and not been lying.”
Danny devotes the rest of season 3 to sculpting Mindy into a neat and tidy package. In episode 17, aptly named “Danny Castellano is My Nutritionist,” Danny tries to get Mindy to quit her unhealthy habits. As any diehard Mindy Lahiri fan would know, part of the reason she’s so inspirational comes from the way she loves herself, despite lacking many of the attributes celebrated by mainstream media. She eats whatever she wants, she drinks whatever she wants, she works out when she wants and she never, ever says a bad thing about herself. She owns what she loves, and part of what she loves is shitty food. Then Danny strolls in outta nowhere and asks her to change this all around, making her miserable. Good one, Dan.
At the beginning of season 4, Mindy gives birth to Leo (spoiler alert!) in what seems like the start of a new life for both parents. Mindy, who loves everything NYC has to offer the young and single (midnight street meat, bougie cocktails, etc.), seems ready for the challenge of becoming a mom. That said, the onset of parenthood means different things to each character, and this is where Danny’s archaic values become outright offensive.
It begins when Mindy doesn’t want to stop working because she’s had a baby—she thinks it’s possible for Leo to have two working parents and still grow up to be totally normal (which is so obviously true). On the flip, Danny firmly believes a mother has to be by her child’s side through every single goddamned moment. He is irate when Mindy refuses to become a stay-at-home mom, but he never once offers to stay home himself. I told you, he sucks.
Later in the series, he tries to convince Mindy another baby is a good idea, and she is hesitant—she feels stretched super thin between her work at Shulman & Associates, her company “Later, Baby” and raising a child (with little help from her partner, as you may have guessed). This is where it gets good: Danny calls Mindy selfish, and makes her feel guilty for being a working mom, saying, “Leo is out there by himself alone, playing pat-a-cake against a wall while his mom is working.” OH NO, YOU DID NOT.
In season 4, Danny gets engaged to new boo Sarah, without telling the mother of his child. When were you planning on telling her, Danny? When Leo started calling Sarah “mom”? In the season 4 finale, Danny and Mindy get stuck in the elevator overnight at Leo’s school. Despite being separated, their sexual chemistry is still very much alive and…they do the deed. Yes, Danny is still engaged to Sarah. No shocker there! Even creepier, when justifying his cheat, he says he couldn’t resist Mindy because she was “dressed like Madeline from those kids books.” Exsqueeze me?
This list could go on, and on, and on. All told, Danny is everything Mindy does not need in her life.
Disclaimer for Chris Messina: This is nothing personal. I still think you are very talented and handsome.
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