The Mindy Project Recap: Even Tougher Than Ma

Baby Lahiri! Photo: Beth Dubber/Hulu
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
C Is for Coward
Editor’s Rating

I love the way The Mindy Project has been sneaking up on major moments — like last week’s proposal — instead of telegraphing them so heavily that you know they’re coming and/or promoting the crap out of them. (Perhaps a benefit of being on Hulu instead of a network?) It hadn’t even occurred to me that Mindy was going to give birth, like, any day now.

It still didn’t occur to me in the first scene, in which Danny and Mindy discussed baby names in bed. It just seemed like one more baby thing they’d have to mine for mismatched-couple comedy, and, of course, particularly for Mindy-related comedy. She’s into exactly the names you’d expect: She wants a “classic movie character” name, like Indiana or Wall-E. Or a “name from history,” like O.J. (Luckily, Danny deemed this “too edgy.”) She’s also socially conscious about it, at least when being socially conscious is on trend: “We probably should pick something gender-neutral in case he’s trans.” (Danny’s not quite up to speed on this one yet, and grumbles that the baby won’t be trans. “That’s up to herm,” Mindy confidently says.)

However, Mindy would rather have sex than talk baby names. Danny’s not into it because of the nearly fully formed baby inside her. “Danny, this is my baby,” Mindy pleads. “He loves sex sounds.” Danny’s not buying it: “How would you like it if you were minding your own business and a big penis just came and hit you right in the face?” Mindy, unfazed: “Yeah, that’s my life you’re describing.” This is Mindy dialogue at its best, and it just keeps going. Mindy declares she’ll just draw her own erotica. And … scene.

Since last week’s premiere episode was so unusual, with Mindy in dream sequence and Danny in India, I wasn’t sure if there were going to be some adjustments to the office-life part of the show with the move to Hulu. Turns out it’ll be business as usual: Jeremy is begging everyone to come to dinner to meet his new girlfriend, Whitney, but no one wants to. Oh, right, that’s Cristin Milioti’s character, the angry neighbor who shut down the noisy singles’ pajama party Jeremy and the guys attended last season. Like most Jeremy story lines, that was really hard to remember — the only reason I knew was because I Googled it after hearing Jeremy so distinctly call attention to her name. Well, good for Jeremy, even if I can’t remember his life.

Mindy is also moving forward with her fertility-clinic plans — anyone else kinda want some of that hot-pink-and-turquoise Lahiri Fertility Clinic swag? She and Morgan even have what I think is a pretty clever campaign, “Later, Baby,” to encourage young professional women to freeze their eggs. Lucky for us, though, the Deslaurier midwives have just put out an amazing anti-egg-freezing ad. (Is this a good time to talk about how incredibly versatile Jay Duplass is? Even though I know he also plays the very messed-up Josh on Transparent — to such perfection that I root for him despite his douchiness — I still looked it up online just to confirm that I hadn’t dreamed the whole thing. In conclusion, the Duplass brothers are awesome.) The Deslauriers’ ad for their “Paleo Birth” program is a piece of Mindy Project parody perfection. The Deslauriers, walking through a beautiful garden with celebrity spokesperson Brooke Burke, point out that doctors wear masks. “Know who else wears masks? Bank robbers,” Brendan intones. “And ISIS,” Duncan adds. The tagline: “Paleo Birth: Stone Age health care is finally here.”

Mindy, meanwhile, reveals to Danny what her birthing plan is: to get knocked out and have a C-section in a luxurious Manhattan birthing suite that has hosted Bethenny Frankel and Tina Fey. They pump spa water through your IV, and the dad cave has a tequila list curated by Pitbull. Her “baby-removal appointment” is scheduled for the following Saturday …. Wait, what? This is where I finally realized we might be doing this baby thing, like, this episode. Which, as I mentioned, was a nice surprise. But I hope this marks the final time I’ll have to suspend disbelief to cater to a Danny/Mindy baby conflict that makes no actual sense if they are at all good at their jobs as ob-gyns. They really didn’t discuss a birthing plan until a week before she was due?

And Danny really needed to consult with a Deslaurier on “natural” ways to induce childbirth? Even I knew about the spicy foods and sex, and I cannot overstate how little experience I have with childbirth. In any case, the bit was pretty good: I never noticed how all the things you’re supposed to do to induce labor add up to a very romantic evening. Spicy food, red wine, massage, nipple stimulation. Well, startling the mother isn’t so sexy. But it’s funny when she opens the refrigerator at the end of the sequence to find that scary doll-thing. (Also good: “My body is an idiot. Have you ever seen me try to climb a ladder?” John Mayer song idea?)

Alas, Jeremy’s bid for story-line time is mostly a ploy. (Actually, I like when he’s a legit supporting character on the same level as, say, Beverly. The hints at his sad life are heartbreakingly funny, like when Danny is pondering the name Frank, and Jeremy mentions it was his brother’s name: “He used to walk me to the garden. Where the others were waiting. With sticks.”) Danny is about to go to dinner with Jeremy, Whitney, and the improv actors Jeremy hired to act like his friends (this could actually be fun to watch) when Danny gets a text from Morgan. Mindy’s water has broken on the stalled subway on the way to the fertility expo thing — naturally, while the Lahiri gang is riding in the same car as the Deslauriers. Favorite throwaway line from Morgan: “I’m starting to feel bad for messing with your birth control in the first place.”

Jeremy does play one key, very sweet part in this saga, pointing out to Danny that Mindy is probably just scared of going through childbirth. (One nice thing about Jeremy is how he does seem to be a great ob-gyn consistently.) She wants to be knocked out because she’s rightfully terrified, “like that time she stole all that Oxy because she was afraid of getting a Brazilian.” Chastened, Danny runs off to find Mindy in the subway. (Appreciate the New York detail that Morgan’s text contained specific location and train information to facilitate this.)

He apologizes, thank goodness, because I was really starting to think he was a jerk, and he does it in the best way possible: “You’re a stone-cold bitch,” he tells Mindy. “You’re even tougher than Ma.”

Next thing you know, we got a very cute newborn Castellano-Lahiri baby. Named Leo. For DiCaprio or da Vinci, depending on who you are.