The Mindy Project has been giving an awful lot of attention to social dating app Tinder as of late. Not only have profiles for the show's characters showed up on the app, but last night's show included a noticeable, if relatively seamless, bit of Tinder-related in-show discussion.
In last night's episode, following Mindy's realization that her boyfriend will have to see her naked, she explains to her coworkers that she has tried to get a personal trainer on the social network. Apparently no one takes her request very seriously because all her photos are of her "eating meat pies." That's when bro-y doctor Peter Prentice chimes in: "Tinder's for dating and mating and gyrating." Mindy insists that it's not just for hooking up, and that it's also for "finding cool people." There's then a bit about Mindy using a picture of Rihanna on her profile, and Nurse Beverly says she uses "Timber," which is an "app for loggers looking for trouble."
It would all seem innocent enough, if The Mindy Project weren't specifically using Tinder to advertise. Last week, Sam Biddle at Valleywag reported that Tinder users were coming across profiles for Mindy Project characters Mindy and Danny. Users were perturbed by the native advertising. "Seeing Mindy-bot in your familiar dating-app dive bar was too much like that awesome Twilight Zone episode where diner patrons try to figure out who the Martian is, smart though it may be," Tess Lynch wrote at Grantland. Perhaps, though, the Tinder product placement on the show wasn't as bad as it could have been. Back in November, Nitasha Tiku noticed that Tinder director of marketing Whitney Wolfe posted a photo of the cast with the caption: "Mindy project cast rehearsing their lines for January's Tinder episode." (Fox did confirm that an episode featuring Tinder was happening. We've reached out to both Fox and Tinder for more on the relationship.)