The Mindy Project Recap: I Left My Tech Nerd in San Francisco

Photo: Fox
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
San Francisco Bae
Editor’s Rating

As we open this week, Mindy is having trouble opening her Nutella jar on her own, but that, as it turns out, is the least of her problems (even when the Nutella ends up exploding on her dorm-room wall). She’s spending more of her time worrying that every woman in Manhattan probably wants to jump Danny’s bones back at home, and, let’s face it, she’s probably right. Single, available men don’t stay that way for long in New York City if they don’t want to. She solves this problem by calling him incessantly and having Morgan film Danny, at least periodically: “I miss you so much,” as she says to Danny during what seems to be a routine phone call, “and you look so cute in that gray sweater.”

Danny, however, is getting tired of the attention, and suggests Mindy enjoy her Bay Area surroundings more: “Would you go to Las Vegas,” he asks, “and not visit historic Lake Mead?” Somehow I not only hoped, but expected, he would say something about seeing Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood. This makes no sense apart from the fact that I am me, and I was not thinking about Danny in the least.

Back home in Manhattan, not only is Tamra making notes for the memoir I would totally read — she owes Random House a draft, like, last week — but Danny and Morgan are also making plans to hang out together. They will, in fact, hang out while Mindy is hanging with the newly single Dr. Gurgler for a night on the town in San Francisco. What could simultaneously, and yet thematically resonantly, go wrong on these two concurrent outings?

Well, for starters, Danny and Morgan see Jeremy’s girlfriend Lauren going into Peter’s apartment down the hall from Danny. Danny insists they should not pry into co-workers’ lives outside the office. “Did I hear Beverly’s voice come out of an Elmo in Times Square?” he asks. “Maybe. But it’s none of our business.”

On the opposite coast, at a bar called the Foggy Glass, Mindy runs into Lee Pace, who was on Pushing Daisies but is not from the student-loan office, as Mindy initially fears. Instead, he is playing Alex, a man who once lost his virginity to Mindy. At the time, she knew him as Xander. It was 2004, a time when “America was still able to enjoy the music of R. Kelly without guilt.” “Hollaback Girl” played, and Mindy wore boot-cut jeans, cowl-neck sweaters, bangs, and blue contacts. She lost her virginity to him back then, too.

Anyway, now he goes by Alex and is a “tech legend.” Turns out, Mindy was his inspiration: In a wonderfully Social Network–like flashback, we learn that Xander made his fortune because he listened to Mindy a decade ago: She wanted to be able to post to his Monty Python video sharing site, but only anonymously. Video Dumpster was born, and Xander became a zillionaire or whatever because of it. Mindy took his virginity and changed his professional life, while he simply took her virginity, even if it was only technical. (“Medically,” she explains, “I actually lost my virginity in a trampoline accident.”)

In the course of this episode, we learn that Xander/Alex has tried to email Mindy since their encounter, but she never got his messages. He even invited her to People’s "Most Beautiful Billionaires Gala," where he was being honored along with Rupert Murdoch and “the hottest bin Laden.” Despite all of this hyperbole, Mindy manages to exaggerate further, claiming, “Without me, there’d be no internet right now.”

Naturally, a lot of overly complicated things happen to bring all of this to a conclusion. Dr. Gurgler forwards the lost Xander email to Danny. Mindy finds this out and asks Peter to delete this email for her. That brings Peter to Danny’s apartment, which unites the two New York story lines with the West Coast happenings. We also learn that Peter wasn’t cheating with Lauren, he was merely watching her kid. Jeremy was off at the opera wearing a cape. The cape is great. There is no mistaking that. The next time I go to the opera, I am wearing a cape.

Xander/Alex briefly tempts Mindy into cheating on Danny, complete with the line, “Bitcoin for your thoughts?” (This makes me wish there could be a Mindy Project–Silicon Valley crossover episode. The Silicon Valley dudes would love her, I think.) Gurgler and Xander fight for reasons hardly relevant in the grand scheme of things. Mindy admits to Xander that she has a boyfriend. Xander: “Is it Richard Branson? The Dalai Lama?” Mindy: “It’s just a local ethnic man named Danny Castellano.”

Turns out Xander/Alex has a girlfriend, too, and she’s played by supermodel/John Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen. So there. Back in New York, Peter kisses Lauren instead of agreeing to watch her kid again while Jeremy has a flute recital.

Anyone else suddenly want to watch separate shows about Tamra, Jeremy, and Xander?