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TV Boyfriend Smackdown: Dr. Danny Castellano vs. Cliff Gilbert, Esq. from 'The Mindy Project'


Welcome back to the TV Boyfriend Smackdown! We pit two (or three) of television’s most eligible (and fictional) bachelors against one another, and discuss their merits with regard to three major categories: attractiveness, personality, and potential for capital-D Drama. Based on our spirited debate, we’ll declare a winner, but fear not: you’ll have a chance to weigh in as well.

This week, in honor of The Mindy Project’s return on Tuesday night, we’re pairing up Mindy’s latest suitors: Danny Castellano and Cliff Gilbert. If you're not fully caught up to date on the shenanigans of our favorite OBGYNs (and nurses and lawyers, etc), beware of spoilers here — if we’re going to judge thoroughly, we’re going to judge on everything that’s happened so far and we can’t be held responsible for your inability to Hulu or Netflix in a timely manner. Let the smackdown begin!

Dr. Danny Castellano

Lindsay's Take:
Oh, Danny. I really identify with Dr. Danny because I, too, am a lovable curmudgeon (get off my lawn). I also have really, really great dance moves. But do Danny’s super-cute reading glasses and miniature detailing skills (Monticello, anyone?) add up to being a great boyfriend for Mindy or, well, me (or anyone)? Let’s see.

  • Attractiveness: Danny is a.dor.a.ble. Though perhaps a little on the shorter side, he has a full head of hair, swarthy good looks, and, um, AMAZING DANCING SKILLS. Seriously. A guy could look like the Phantom of the Opera minus the mask and be able to dance like that, and he could get it. No lies.
  • Personality: Like I said, he’s a bit of a crank, but I think that’s okay. Dr. Danny doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Behind that hard candy exterior lies a man with a heart filled with gooey caramel. Examples: He loves his brother more than anything, he eventually lets his father into his life, and he’s a really great friend and colleague to Mindy. Sure they make fun of each other a lot, but he helped train her that one time (yes, one time) she wanted to go to the gym, and Danny talks her through all of the guy issues in her life. Tough yet sensitive? Sign me up.
  • Possible Drama: Danny sometimes gets in his own way: he can be a bit stubborn for his own good. Like all the stuff with his dad? His dad, well, wasn’t so great in his youth, but he’s straightened himself out with a new family and wants to be a part of Danny and his brother’s life. Thanks to Mindy’s cajoling, Danny eventually obliges, but he was really too stuck in being angry at his dad to see the forest from the trees and the mea culpa from his dad’s mouth. If Danny lightened up just a bit, he’d perfect.

Jess' Take:

  • Attractiveness: If I were one to use emojis (and if emojis were useable here), I would totally use little flames or whatever to show you all, visually, how I feel about Danny’s attractiveness. Too cute for words, but to spell it out: Danny is on fire. Also: THE DANCING (I feel like this falls under “attractiveness” even though it’s really more about “skills” than “looks” because hot damn, it’s attractive).
  • Personality: Okay, yes, Danny can be a wee bit cranky. But you know (because he eventually shows it) that behind all of those barbs and complaining is a sensitive soul who’s just teasing in the name of good fun. It’s all about building a rapport, you know? And Danny’s got rapport for days. He’s also super sweet: remember when he was helping his buddy from Staten with painkillers/stitches? Sure, that was technically illegal, but it came from a good, loyal place.
  • Possible Drama: I agree with Lindsay, the stubbornness could be a problem. So can the "my way is the right way" 'tude. But you can almost always wear Danny down. His wife came back after jilting him and he gave her another chance, and he’s giving his dad another chance, too. The real drama with Danny will occur if you wear a Mellencamp t-shirt to a Springsteen show.

Cliff Gilbert, Esq.

Jess' Take: Cliff’s one of the most recent of Mindy’s suitors, and seemed to be one of the most compatible for a minute there (until the dumping her for running into her ex thing and the getting dumped for Danny thing). How does he rate as a potential boyfriend?
  • Attractiveness: Look, we’ve known Glenn Howerton for a while now, as sociopathic narcissist Dennis Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Here’s the kicker: Dennis Reynolds? Objectively attractive but also somehow creepy-looking. Cliff Gilbert? Freakin’ adorable. How is that possible? Blame it on the personality differences and the fact that Dennis has dead eyes because he is soulless, while Cliff’s eyes are full of life. Even though they are technically the same person. So yes, Cliff’s very attractive.
  • Personality: Well, he’s a wee bit judgmental right off the bat (he and Mindy didn’t exactly hit it off at first), and even though he seems like a nice guy most of the time, he’s also easily persuaded by the green-eyed monster we call jealousy. Too much jealousy does not a good boyfriend make. When he’s in, he’s all in, but at the drop of the hat, he’s out again. And then he’s crying about it to Jewel — to each his own, man — and flip-flopping back to “in” again. Seems unstable. Bonus points for organizing his sweaters in ROYGBIV order, though.
  • Possible Drama: Like I said: in, out, jealous, not jealous; make up your mind, Gilbert. Also, don’t just hook up and start seriously dating the closest female just because the object of your affection isn’t around and her two co-workers tricked you into thinking you were sexting her all night, mmkay? Cute and charming and weirdly organized as he may be, I’m just not convinced Cliff Gilbert is a man you can count on.

Lindsay's Take:

  • Attractiveness: As a big Glenn Howerton fan (and a proponent of the D.E.N.N.I.S. system), I was really wondering how this would work out with Mindy. But, Dennis problems aside, Cliff is very cute. He has this boyish, impish grin that really speaks to me (and, like Jess said, he’s not dead behind the eyes like Dennis).
  • Personality: Cliff is super full of himself, and, though he’s a lawyer, he’s really not that bright. He seemingly can’t tell that Mindy is into him at first? Let’s face is, Mindy Lahiri is not at all a subtle person, so Cliff either expected that she would be into him (and is therefore an arrogant jerk), or literally had no idea (which would make him the least observant person ever). Either way, not great. 
  • Possible Drama: Jess is right about this one. Cliff is also a man that gets in his own way. He needs to chill out and stop being so jealous. After all, he forbids Mindy to see a man that she almost married, and Mindy ain’t got time for that. She’s her own woman. Cliff would be the total package if he could dial back the crazy. To top it off, under all that drama he creates, he’s kind of boring. Minus.

Winner: Dr. Danny Castellano

Danny was always going to win, let’s be honest. He’s cute, he’s charming, he’s accomplished but not too cocky, and oh my, those dance moves! No one could beat Dr. Danny Castellano in the battle for our hearts. No one.

Disagree with our outcome? Well, you have a say, too! Just vote for your preferred winner in this round of the TV Boyfriend Smackdown below, and we’ll see you in two weeks for our next match-up!

Poll: Cliff or Danny?
Click to vote:
  • Cliff
  • Danny

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