Mindy really does head to Stanford for her fellowship in this episode, and somehow, the show still feels like The Mindy Project does when fully centered on the New York office. “Will it be like Felicity?” Mindy asks as she arrives on campus. “Who will be my Noel? … Who will be my Greg Grunberg?” Props for any Grunberg shout-out, and even better: This move to college does not suffer from Dawson’s Creek/Beverly Hills, 90210 awkwardness. Granted, this is a temporary move, but Mindy still deserves praise for the particularly smooth transition. I liked the dilemma that the Stanford fellowship posed for Danny and Mindy, but I was worried about how the episodes might go.
Mindy has typical-for-her troubles from the start. She clings to her pop-culture-tinged versions of life, wondering if she should join an a cappella group (à la Pitch Perfect) while immediately clashing with another Indian woman, Neepa, in the program. Mindy brushes off Neepa’s attempts to bond; the only thing Mindy knows about their shared culture, she says, is “how to do a kind of offensive Indian accent.” A Rosie the Riveter poster hangs over Mindy’s dorm-room bed, which seems like an empowering image until she insists it’s Taylor Swift. Oh, never mind, that’s pretty empowering, too.
The real trouble starts when Mindy makes a bad impression on her teacher, Dr. Gurglar, stumbling into his classroom for the BASH — Beginning of Academic Scholarship Hangout — in a hot-pink minidress when everyone else is in doctors’ coats. He calls her “Medically Blonde,” which I couldn’t help thinking that the inventor of Wreath Witherspoon must have taken as at least a little bit of a compliment. Danny, who hasn’t left yet after accompanying her to campus, offers to put in a good word for her with the prof, who happens to be an old med-school buddy of his. She resists his help, though she’s happy to take the envelope full of $1,000 worth of traveler’s checks he gives her.
Eventually, though, she gives in and tells Dr. Gurglar that she’s Danny’s girlfriend. “Dan always did like Hispanic girls,” he says. They set up a double-date for the next night with him and his wife, who is — hooray! — played by Ana Gasteyer. (This just makes me miss Suburgatory.) He and Ana Gasteyer have a troubled relationship. She is angry that he’s always working, though he thinks it’s fine since they don’t have kids. “We have a rabbit,” she spits. “And it’s harder. Because it can’t tell you what it wants.” (My partner and I have a dwarf hamster. I feel the same way.) The professor is definitely confused by Mindy’s personality contradictions: “She has the energy of a PR woman for an alcohol brand.”
But soon enough, Dr. Gurglar warms to Mindy, even offering to take her to see Alcatraz. (“I would love that! What is that?”) Only one problem: Ana Gasteyer, turned on by Danny’s loving ways toward Mindy, gives him foot sex under the table at dinner, which he seems to maybe allow to, um, full completion, because he thinks it’s Mindy’s foot. When Mindy finds out after dinner, she accuses him of cheating on her, and he storms off to leave for the airport earlier than planned.
Mindy sort of has a bad/good day after that, first finding out that Neepa works at a fast-food restaurant to help pay for her fellowship. (“All you second-generations care about are sex positions and nail art,” Neepa scolds her.) Then Mindy ends up telling Dr. Gurglar about the foot-sex incident, causing him to speed off on his weird recumbent-bike vehicle, only to be immediately smashed by a campus-security golf-cart vehicle. It’s reminiscent of Regina George being run over by a bus in Mean Girls, which is the highest compliment I can give anything.
The good part of the day starts when Mindy shows Dr. Gurglar how good she is at stitches by fixing him up post-collision. He asks her to step in for him on his scheduled surgery, but she does one better when she gets there: She lets Neepa do the surgery. Then she makes up with Danny, who didn’t go back to New York after all. Yay, Mindy wins again!
Meanwhile, back home, we’re having a mildly entertaining conflict involving the gynecology practice’s basketball team, which Morgan coaches and Peter agrees to join as “an excuse for me to use black slang.” During practices, it becomes clear that Tamra is into Morgan again, even though they broke up and he’s dating Julia Stiles (whom I believe we’re calling Jessica) now. The best part about this is that in a throwaway line, we learn that Tamra has been on a bunch of dates with Pitbull since the breakup, which seems perfect and absolutely a show I would like to watch.
Tamra mounts a much better opposing team to take her revenge at the IBS fund-raiser game, and the best part about that is that Lisa Simpson (that is, Yeardley Smith, the actress who does her voice) is on this fierce team. Even better show idea: Tamra, Pitbull, and Lisa Simpson. The guy who asks Tamra out after the game is pretty cute, though, too. That’s good; it’ll give us something to do in B-plot land next week.
But the question is: Will next week be like Felicity? And who will be Greg Grunberg?