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The National’s ‘The Mindy Project’ Guest Appearance Was Actually Sweet

The National, 'The Mindy Project,' Mindy Kaling, "This Is the Last Time," "I Need My Girl"

The National’s The Mindy Project cameo was overhyped; the National’s The Mindy Project soundtrack appearance was awesome. The brooding Brooklyn art-rockers turned up in October 1’s episode of Mindy Kaling’s FOX sitcom, and the results were touching, but — as the National would probably appreciate — less for their presence physically than musically.

Sure enough, as previously announced, the National guest-starred in an episode titled “Music Festival.” It’s a long story, but basically, Mindy’s fellow doctor, the one you know she really belongs with, only attends an upstate New York hipster-hippie-EDM fest because he loves the Trouble Will Find Me creators. Toward the end of the show, their medical practice’s lovable but eccentric nurse lures the National for a personal acoustic performance of their new album’s “This Is the Last Time” — on the false premise that the doctor and nurse, both male, are getting married. (Like, say, Parks & Recreation, the humor really lies in the characters; the doctor is a Tony Danza-ish outer-borough throwback, and the nurse, well, you really have to watch.)

That’s all well and good, but what really makes the episode is the use of fellow Trouble track “I Need My Girl” at the end. Probably stop reading if you don’t want a spoiler — spoiler alert! — but it’s an effective emotional moment partly because it sneaks up so quickly as the episode hurtles to a close. What happens in this final scene, well, you know it’s the right thing, but at the same time you can’t help but feel for the characters.

It doesn’t hurt that the show’s star Kaling is a big music fan. Way back in 2009, Kaling told SPIN about her love for Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Liz Phair, Rilo Kiley, and more. The Mindy Project has previously handed screen time to Tyler, the Creator. He was promoting recycling, but he sadly didn’t perform the late-’80s classic “Recycle Rap.”

Watch the National’s proposal scene above, or check out the full episode below via Hulu.