The Mindy Project Recap: Herpes Is Forever

Photo: Jordin Althaus/FOX
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
Teen Patient
Editor’s Rating

Nothing warms my heart like a great birth control lecture, and Mindy gave one for the ages this week, thanks to her adorable “glasses twin” and teen neighbor. Mindy apparently has my dream: a fun, cool teen girl neighbor who comes to her for advice. I’ve wanted one of these forever! (But only herpes is forever, as we would soon learn.) In any case, Sofia is particularly cool: She reads Franzen for fun. (Mindy reads a “novelization of the film Iron Man,” which she finds disappointing because she “thought Gwyneth Paltrow would be in it more.”) Sofia also comes to Mindy for ob-gyn appointments, and this time she wasn’t there for the HPV vaccinations Groupon. The 15-year-old was there for birth control so she could have sex with her boyfriend, Henry. (Oh, if only there really were a form of birth control in Belgium that comes in the form of a lollipop, as Mindy suggested … ) And despite Mindy’s own healthy sexual appetite, she felt protective of her young friend.

When Mindy insisted on visiting Sofia’s fancy city school to question young Henry and determine his appropriateness, we got a fine send-up of snooty private-school culture as well as adults’ feelings of alienation when surrounded by kids’ aggressive hipness. Sofia takes street-art class (for a bonus reference to Banksy, whom Mindy seems to regard with utter disdain) and History of Dub Step. The kids are into “slime” these days (in Mindy world, anyway) and Mindy has trouble staying put in unwieldy beanbag chairs. To Mindy’s credit, she refused to even try to act cool, like most adults would do; she put them in their place and insisted on the respect old-timey adults used to demand (and often get). She was also not impressed with Henry, who wants to skip college to build an app that tells you which superhero to marry. (“Obviously you would marry Captain America,” Mindy scoffed. “You don’t need an app to tell you that.”)

Of course, this judgment did not go over well with Sofia — she insisted she get to grill Mindy’s boyfriend just as Mindy had grilled hers. (I say to that: No, you do not. I am an adult, and you are not, and I am a doctor with the prescription pad, and you are not. But for plot purposes, fair enough.) Of course, this did not go well. Josh said he’d like to have kids: “I love playing catch and it’s kinda weird with two grown-up guys.” However, he flinched at the word “forever,” causing a meltdown with Mindy.

Mindy eventually realized “forever” was a long time to her, too, though it didn’t dawn on her until she was giving her awesome sex -d speech that should be played on a loop between classes in every high school in America: “You’re obsessed with forever,” she told Sofia and her volleyball teammates at practice. “It’s probably why you love those vampire movies. I’ll tell you what’s forever: herpes.” She then passed out condoms to all of the girls before being hauled off to the principal’s office by a teacher.

She admitted she had referred to “a student” (that is, Henry) as “crazy bangable,” but “that was in the service of a point.” The principal insisted that “you can’t just throw sexual paraphernalia at kids,” which seems fair, even though I support condoms in schools. But Mindy got off with a warning, Danny came to “bail her out” of “school jail,” and we got one more bonus interaction with Sofia’s fabulous gay, Ben. (Can we have more school episodes, please?) Henry and Sofia decided to wait. And Mindy and Josh made up, agreeing that forever was a long time but they were in it for the long haul. Also that Mindy should get a shower caddy: “It falls on you sometimes, but it’s worth it.” Or was that just funny in my house for specific reasons?

Yay! All was well. Okay, not exactly: Notice I didn’t mention the B-plot — the bit about Betsy anonymously complaining that Morgan was sexually harassing Shawna because she felt unsexy — and that’s for a reason: The B-plots still aren’t doing it for me on this show. (Leaving aside this plot’s massively problematic reading of sexual harassment.) It may be that Mindy’s just too damn good, and anything without her in it doesn’t shine as much as anything with her in it. But I always feel like the B-plots are killing time until I can get back to her. They always seem like standard sitcom stuff instead of the twisty ideas that flourish around Mindy — thanks, I would posit, to her singularly shameless personality. Do we need B-plots at all? Louie doesn’t do them (or anything conventional, of course). Just a thought. It’s a fine place to be in the first season — outshining your own show, in a sense. Hopefully, as Mindy told Ben, it gets better.

If you want to talk more Mindy, follow me on Twitter: @jmkarmstrong