In the season four midseason finale, “Will They or Won’t They?”, The Mindy Project did something unique for a sitcom. When it became clear that Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina) were just not compatible romantic partners, they made the decision to separate and parent their son, Leo, apart. While Messina didn’t leave the show, he’s been scarce in the back half of season four, seemingly to work on other projects. Without Danny in the picture, constantly pining for Mindy or as an ever present roadblock to her new romantic endeavors (although he does make a hypocritically impassioned plea to a potential paramour following a particularly moving love letter), Mindy was free to explore some new territory. Except this territory began to look increasingly familiar.
For the back half of season four, the show has constantly flirted with the idea of Mindy coupling up with her coworker, Jody (Garrett Dillahunt). However, this potential pairing made it look like Mindy was just falling into old patterns, falling for another conservative, hyper-masculine co-worker that constantly belittles her abilities. Instead of short and Italian, she went tall and Southern, but the core dynamic remains the same. While Jody at least respects her enough to go into business with her (which Danny was vehemently against), it still feels like more of the same. Danny used to think she was a good doctor, too, but the days of red reading glasses and Diamond Dan are long over. Until they’re not.
In the season four finale, “Homewrecker,” the fallout from a Mindy/Jody kiss comes to a head. After being swept away with the romance of Jody caring about her kid (an admittedly kind gesture), Mindy impulsively jumps head first into a potential relationship. However, after becoming aware of complications with his girlfriend and the fact that he lied about an STD, Mindy put on the brakes. All new romantic entanglements are put on hold, though, when she reunites with Danny to attend a meeting at Leo’s pre-preschool to deal with a recent penchant for biting the other children.