Here’s a surprise: The Mindy Project is gaining momentum as we head into the last two episodes of this extra-long Hulu season! It feels like forever ago that Danny and Mindy were getting engaged, though that was the beginning of the fourth season. Halfway through, we were throttled by their breakup, and like Mindy herself, the show’s been struggling to get over it ever since. This episode definitely represents a step in the right direction.
The well-constructed plot begins with Mindy spotting an announcement in her copy of Showbiz Digest East magazine, which, incidentally, features the cast of Blue Bloods on the cover. (Nice attention to random detail, Mindy Project.) Mindy is thrilled to learn that her favorite daytime soap, Tides of Tomorrow, is looking to cast a biracial baby. Do you know who has a biracial baby? Mindy does! This is thrilling.
Colette is less-than-thrilled because she’s assisting Mindy instead of Jody. The situation is Colette’s own making, though: She’s fighting with Jody over her dislike of his new girlfriend, Courtney. Mindy sympathizes with Colette’s brother problems — in fact, Mindy and Rishi are not speaking because he won’t admit she’s hot. Unfortunately, Mindy is much more demanding a boss than Jody: “I have come to expect kind of a more holistic approach to how I am served,” Mindy explains. In other words, she’s used to Morgan, whom she accurately describes later in the episode as her wife. Colette’s first assignment? “Brush my hair. Two hundred strokes.” In fairness, Mindy’s hair has looked bomb lately, so whatever works.
At the baby auditions, Mindy immediately meets another mom who recommends rouge for Leo, so we already know this woman will be a problem. Nevertheless, Mindy is starstruck: “He didn’t get cast as E-Trade baby’s ethnic friend by looking all washed out.” (I so appreciate The Mindy Project’s dedication to E-Trade commercials.) Of course, Leo is one of the two babies chosen with the role — alongside E-Trade himself.
Jeremy is delighted by this development, as he, too, is a thespian. He even once appeared on Law and Order: SVU, as “fondled man.” I checked actor Ed Weeks’s IMDB page with desperate hope that he’d actually appeared in this role on that show, but alas, he did not. Still, he gives a great reading of the line, “I don’t wanna talk about it. I have a wife and kid.” Jeremy agrees to coach Leo for his star turn, while Colette is relegated to getting a cake for Leo’s celebration party.
Jeremy’s stage-mom rules for Mindy include “don’t act starstruck” and “don’t cause drama on set,” which seems like a setup for disaster. Of course, Mindy is constitutionally incapable of abiding these rules if any opportunity arises to do the opposite. As Jeremy teaches Leo to cry on cue, Mindy’s new boyfriend, Drew (a.k.a. Stan from Mad Men), says via phone that he’s not going to come over that night — seemingly because Leo is there.
The next day, Mindy and Leo arrive at the set, which is rife with historical significance: It was home to a Boston Market commercial and reshoots for Sex and the City 2. Soon enough, it will be the site of another historic moment in showbiz history. Leo is chosen as the “hero baby” — i.e., the main baby, rather than the backup baby. When we see footage from Tides of Tomorrow, it is perfect: so cheaply shot, so full of weird, fake golden light. Leo’s role is abundantly clear when the main blond actress tells the main blond actor, “I haven’t been taking Desmond Jr. to the tanning salon. He’s not your son.”
Leo is adorable in the scene because he is always adorable. But that other mom, Mrs. E-Trade Baby, steps in to totally undermine Mindy after the scene is shot. When Mindy says she can’t believe Tides of Tomorrow is doing a second boat-crash plot so close to that last boat crash, E-Trade Mom encourages her to say something to the showrunner, which we all know is against one of Jeremy’s rules, even if we’re not sure which one. It seems obvious to those of us who are not Mindy that her interaction with the head writer does not go well. “This is a boat crash,” he says. “That was a shipwreck.”
Back at the office, Tamra is not okay with Colette trying to switch jobs with her, which would put Tamra with Mindy and Colette with Jeremy. “She made me go to her high-school reunion,” Tamra says of the last time she worked for Mindy, “as her.” Because Tamra is Tamra, she’s back working for Jeremy before anyone knows it, and Colette is stuck planning a viewing party for Leo’s debut. Curiously Drew begs off on the party. And Colette makes a baked brie at Mindy’s request, only to find Mindy is over the brie idea and now wants a Mediterranean platter.
This all leads to Mindy spilling to Colette that Jody once slept with his sister-in-law. (Yeah, just go with it.) If that weren’t stressful enough, it turns out Leo was replaced with E-Trade Baby, which Mindy learns at the viewing party, which both Colette and Jody fail to attend because they’re fighting even more now. (“Now that’s a baby,” Beverly says upon seeing E-Trade Baby, making me laugh for no actual reason, except that I suddenly realize Beverly seems like someone who would have been an O.J. Simpson juror later interviewed in that amazing ESPN documentary.) Mindy doesn’t understand what went wrong: “Who wouldn’t want friendly criticism from someone outside their profession?” But it turns out Jeremy had warned her about this exact thing in one of his rules: “Stage mothers don’t have friends, they have enemies they haven’t stabbed in the back yet.”
Anyway, Colette and Jody’s brother, Forbes, show up to settle their dispute. You can feel where we’re going when Forbes obviously favors Jody over Colette, explaining, “Mother let her get away with anything, including dressing up like Shaft for Halloween,” and “Kimball-Kinney women don’t go insane until their 40s.” After Colette stalks off in a huff, Jody does the only thing he can to heal his relationship with his sister: He comes clean to Forbes about the affair with his wife.
When Jody shows up at Colette’s place later, beat up and contrite, she explains that she just wants him to end up with someone awesome, “like Jessica Rabbit or Brandi Chastain.”
Soon enough, we also learn what’s up behind all of Drew’s recent dodges: He’s just not that into Leo. He even pretends to have watched Leo’s TV debut, but he’s quickly caught in his lie. Mindy breaks up with him on the spot. Compare that to Jody, who watched despite having to sign into the network’s online portal, then having to watch the same Lipitor commercial three times. After all that, he still thinks it’s a travesty that Leo was replaced!
And Mindy finally kisses Jody! It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. We’ve got two episodes left to see where this relationship goes.