At two weeks until the midseason finale, we are enjoying the calm of an erotic bath before a huge change or two comes to The Mindy Project. The worst: Adam Pally is leaving. The best: We could still see some major progress on the Danny-and-Mindy front, in my opinion; maybe even a proposal.
For now, though, we’re still dealing with lower-level issues, like the fact that Danny’s ma is suddenly around all the time (at least she has been since we found out she was Rhea Pearlman, which makes anyone worthy of being around all the time). Specifically, though, she’s around even when Mindy and Danny are trying to take an erotic bath together, which, according to Cosmo, is the No. 9 way to have a horny autumn. Ma does not mind barging in on Danny in the bath one bit, especially when she wants to tell him about the day’s Ellen episode: “Ellen had on those two little British girls. I mean, they’re not even that good.” To Ma’s credit, she is so right. I basically stopped DVRing Ellen because of those two little British girls, if you want to know the truth.
Right or wrong, Mindy’s not standing for all this togetherness with Ma, especially since it requires Mindy to hold her breath underwater while Ma recaps the latest Ellen. “Remember, you’re not married,” reads a note left on Danny’s bed. “It’s a sin. Love, Annette.” Ma even replies to Mindy’s sexts to Danny sometimes, and yet, Mindy says, “I will never stop sending nudies. That’s my First Amendment right.”
At the office the next day, we learn that Beverly sometimes shucks corn at her desk (excellent throwaway gag) and that Tamra dumped Morgan. (Noooo!) “What happened?” Mindy asks Tamra. “Did you see the two of you in a mirror together?” Tamra, whose character gets better every week, answers without missing a beat: “No, I just thought we were better off as friends who don’t hang out or talk.”
Ever the only physician attentive to the actual medical practice, Jeremy is kissing up to Dr. Ledreau, who is nearing retirement, in hopes of snagging his client list. (Mindy Project is cleaning up on the sitcom-history front this season: Ledreau is played by Fred Grandy, Gopher from The Love Boat and Mindy writer Charlie Grandy’s dad.) This gives Mindy what she sees as a brilliant idea: She’ll set Dr. Ledreau up with Annette to busy her potential mother-in-law with dating! Annette is worried since she hasn’t been on a date since 1974: “Have things changed? Do people still do cocaine?” She plans to wear a New England Aquarium sweatshirt (“There’s Fun to Sea”) and tan pants, but Mindy lends her an outfit from a brief period when Mindy had a parasite and lost tons of weight. “Eat your heart out, Sofia Vergara,” Annette purrs when she emerges in Mindy’s old miniskirt, thus completing a perfect commentary on pop-cultural phenomena that are the unspoken domain of ladies over 60: namely, Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara. (This explains why Danny loves NCIS so much, doesn’t it?) Danny, of course, doesn’t like finding out that Mindy is sending his mom out on a date: “If he has a heart attack,” he warns Ma, “it’s probably one of those sex pills!”
Things appear to go well; Annette reports the following day that she has another date coming up. What she doesn’t specify is that it’s not with Dr. Ledreau. Mindy figures this out only after browsing online-dating options with Morgan and running into Annette’s profile. Turns out Annette is loving dating after so many years off the market. When Mindy goes to Annette’s to confront her about this, Annette reveals that she’s “already been Twixting online” — is that some kind of Tinder reference, or something else altogether? Whatever, it’s perfect; as perfect as Dot’s random line on the phone: “The Safari Vixen collection — can white women wear that, too?” I would agitate so hard for an Annette-and-Dot spinoff if I didn’t want them to stay on this show so much.
Soon, Mindy has another of her ill-begotten weekly ideas: She will have Morgan go out with Annette to prove to Annette how terrible dating is. Instead, next thing we know, Morgan is calling her “Nettie” and playing catch with Danny in an effort to bond with his potential future stepson: “Catch is just like fetch,” he explains to Danny, “but both people are the person.” Morgan commits hard to this idea, even after Danny finds out why Morgan is acting this way: “Danny cannot have another father walk out on him,” Morgan tells Mindy with dead seriousness. Then he hugs a reluctant Danny: “I forgive you.”
Tamra, though, cannot control her jealousy at seeing Morgan fall for someone new: “I feel Bell Jar as hell right now,” she rages, before stalking off to interrupt a bad-idea “double-date” featuring Danny and Mindy and Annette and Morgan. This date is happening at a place called Café Bordieu, which I wanted to be either a real place or a reference to philosopher Pierre Bourdieu, whose work focused on “ways in which power is transferred and social order maintained within and across generations,” according to the venerated Wikipedia. I think it’s neither, but it’s fun to pretend that The Mindy Project is Lost or something. Things do not go well at this date, as you can imagine: “I have never said this in the history of my life,” Mindy says, “but I think that we should skip dinner.”
Danny takes his mom outside for a talking-to, explaining that Mindy is pushing Ma to date because she is “a sex maniac. It’s a cultural thing — the spices, the colors. Why do you think those gods have so many hands?” Anyone else eager to sign up for the History of the World According to Danny Castellano? I am. He learns, however, that Ma has resisted dating for decades because she wanted to concentrate on raising her sons. “You’re a saint, Ma,” Danny concludes. “And not the BS kind like Mother Theresa.”
In the end, Tamra attacks Morgan in the restaurant with a baguette, Danny’s mom calls Dr. Ledreau for another date, and Dr. Ledreau is so invigorated by the mere prospect of more time with Annette that he decides not to retire. A détente is also reached, it seems, among Danny, Ma, and Mindy: Mindy will accept Ma’s offer to deliver ziti to them in the bath together. Ziti is, after all, the perfect bath food.
And just to be clear: Yes, we have ended up with Carla from Cheers dating Gopher from The Love Boat.