The Mindy Project Recap: In Morning Sickness and in Health

It's green beans, or something. Photo: Adam Taylor/FOX
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist
Editor’s Rating

When I found myself admiring Mindy’s black-and-white patterned pajamas as she puked in her and Danny’s bed, I thought: Oh my God, how much fun is it going to be when we get Mindy maternity clothes? And then I thought: I still sort of can’t believe this pregnancy story line is really happening. And then Mindy was trying to make out with Danny directly after throwing up, and I realized we do have some comedic possibilities here.

In fact, Mindy’s main problem in this episode is morning sickness that goes well beyond morning, and, well, barf humor can work sometimes, especially when it involves Mindy puking in office vases, mailboxes, and Danny’s Little League trophy cup. (“It’s only a second-place trophy, right?”) Danny reassures her that all Castellano babies cause massive morning sickness. In fact, they have a saying in their family: “First they make you puke, then they wreak havoc on your birth canal.” Luckily, Morgan shows up just in time to distract from this piece of news, bearing the perfect alliterative gift: a bedazzled barf bucket.

Despite his family history, Danny blames Mindy’s morning sickness on her terrible diet, because that makes a better plotline. He doesn’t understand why she hasn’t been reading the pregnancy book he got her, Panic Womb. After all, he’s been reading Brave New Dad. Throughout this, I believe we are meant to sort of just forget that they’re both OB/GYNs for a living and have so far appeared to be fairly competent at this. Again, better plotline, which allows Mindy to pretend she doesn’t recognize steel-cut oatmeal when she sees it and gives us sight gags like Mindy keeping candy bars stuffed up her sleeves.

To add to their couple stress, the practice is also facing its staffing crisis, what with Peter gone and Mindy still at least purporting to be leaving to start her own practice. Like the pregnancy, I can’t totally believe this is happening because of long-standing Sitcom Rules. This show has constantly broken rules, some quite successfully, and some not, but I like that it breaks shit in any case.

Mindy thinks she has the solution to their staffing problem after she runs into Dr. Phillips, one of her teachers from med school, played by Vanessa Williams. Mindy blurts out that she “had the hots” for Dr. Phillips, which totally makes sense since Dr. Phillips is not only Vanessa Williams but also dressed like Olivia Pope. Dr. Phillips, it turns out, has been bored in her retirement: “Ron’s busy with the hedge fund, the twins still aren’t talking to me … ” (I love how she’s basically playing her Ugly Betty character as a doctor. Aww, do you guys remember Ugly Betty?) Clearly Mindy and Morgan are thinking along the same lines as I am, because they describe Dr. Phillips back at the office as “someone like from the mind of Shonda Rhimes.” They are appalled that the guy from the Philadelphia suburbs, also applying for the practice’s vacant spot, doesn’t know who Shonda Rhimes is. They include Crossroads among their list of Shonda Rhimes’s prominent credits. I’m pretty sure I could totally join their practice. If only I were a doctor. And fictional.

While all this is going on, Danny is still on Mindy’s case about her eating habits, driving her to hide a candy bar in a banana peel. (Well done, Mindy.) Peter joins in on the discussion via a Skype checkup. I don’t know if this is or should be a real thing for pregnancy checkups, but it’s always nice to see Peter. (I wonder if it feels at all weird for everyone to be each other’s gynecologists like this. Do gynecology practices really operate this way? Remember that time when Danny had to give Mindy a checkup in the early days, way before they were dating?) Anyway, Mindy is complaining to Peter that Danny’s acting like Mussolini, which Danny is fine with: “Italy’s most organized leader? I’ll take that.” Peter sides with Danny, classifying Mindy’s condition as “geriatric obese pregnancy.”

I’m as bummed as Mindy is that Vanessa Williams texts to say she isn’t joining the practice. “We are a sexy office for hip tastemakers like you!” Mindy texts back. Vanessa’s final answer: “I wish I could join you, but I can’t. Because I don’t want to.” This makes Mindy’s sad lunch of chicken (“white steak”) and greens even less appealing, what with all the stress. Soon Mindy is bingeing on Tamra’s giant birthday cake and Danny’s yelling at her.

Later, as Mindy’s trying to feed the raccoon outside her office window some of her broccoli snack — “it’s like green beans, or something!” — she makes a startling discovery: She catches Danny out in the courtyard smoking. She confronts him, noting that it’s the worst health habit a person could possibly have, “and this is coming from a woman who considered eating cheese from a mousetrap this morning.” Danny promises to quit, as “we must be the change we wish to see in this world, as Gandhi said.” Mindy disagrees: “First of all, John Mayer said that. Gandhi said, ‘The British are coming.’ And that’s how he got independence for India.” Oh, Mindy; one minute she makes a Mussolini reference, the next she doesn’t know who Gandhi is.

No matter, I got a Crossroads shout-out, a John Mayer shout-out … and then a quitting-smoking montage to “Work Bitch.” Sometimes I wonder if I’m dreaming this show.

Danny clearly wants a hot body and a Bugatti, because he manages to quit for two weeks straight, as evidenced by the Xs on his “Classic Mailboxes of Suffolk County: A Wall Calendar.” In a pretty nice plot tie-up, the suburban doctor job applicant returns to the office at this moment to retrieve the windbreaker he left there, and he not only witnesses some of the stress Danny is putting Mindy through, but he also catches some of her latest barf on his daughter’s cheerleading jacket (which he’s wearing since he misplaced his own). He diagnoses Mindy’s morning sickness as stress-triggered, we learn his name is Dr. Bergdahl, and he’s hired to join the practice. I don’t love this decision nearly as much as I would have loved Vanessa Williams joining. But if Mindy’s really not sticking around the practice, we won’t have to worry about this for long. And if she is, this guy does bring a nice, normal vibe to things — he looks, as Jeremy brilliantly says, “like the guy who can’t sleep in a cold medicine commercial” — and he won’t pile onto the show’s frequent too-many-characters problem. He also taught Danny and Mindy an important lesson about cutting each other slack. 

So, in conclusion: Here’s to not knowing where the heck they’re going with this whole Mindy Project thing. Even if it doesn’t involve Vanessa Williams.