The Mindy Project Recap: Jersey Dreams

Ike Barinholtz as Morgan, Mindy Kaling as Mindy.
Ike Barinholtz as Morgan, Mindy Kaling as Mindy. Photo: Vivian Zink/Hulu
The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project

Mindy Lahiri Is a Misogynist Season 5 Episode 4
Editor's Rating 4 stars

As this week’s episode begins, Jeremy’s getting around on an electric scooter to recover from his heart surgery, which is both funny and a nod to plot consistency. He also wants to hire another doctor to reduce his workload, which sets off a nice way for The Mindy Project to address another longstanding criticism: Why have there been so many male doctors, and no other female doctors besides Mindy? Well, in the show’s fifth season, we shall finally hire another woman associate at Shulman and Associates.

Jeremy wants to consider only female candidates: “This way,” he tells Mindy, “You’ll have a gal pal to watch Bravo with.” So much for Jeremy being some kind of feminist. But it won’t be so easy: Mindy, of all people, seems to be against the idea. Even the female candidate who delivered a baby on Everest isn’t good enough for her, nor is the one with an M.D. and a Ph.D. (Though in fairness, the latter’s Ph.D. is in theater, and she makes a terrible joke that her degree will come in handy “only if our pauses are pregnant.”)

Mindy rejects at least four female candidates before suggesting they consider men as well: “This is serious, guys. These people will be in our Oscar pool.” It turns out that Mindy stumbled across a résumé on (is that still a thing?) while she was “checking to see if I had gotten any voice-over work, as I do.” Enter Robert, a doctor — or at least a “doctor” — who worked aboard an Atlantic Fantasy cruise ship and graduated from the Universidad del Juárez, El Chapo, campus. Robert asks about the “time limit” on the bathroom and farts uncontrollably through the interview, but Mindy thinks he’s swell. This leads Jeremy to the obvious conclusion: “You’re kind of a misogynist.”

Meanwhile, things are moving ahead with Mindy and Ben, who’s happy to go on park visits with Mindy and Leo but would also like her to come to New Jersey, where he lives, once in awhile. After all, Ben argues, Jersey has given the world Chris Christie, Tony Soprano, Kevin Smith — “really all of your male husky celebrities.” Alas, Mindy refuses to concede the Statue of Liberty to partial Jersey ownership. (“The Statue of Liberty is a hot, green, Manhattan bitch.”) Despite Mindy’s Manhattan pride, Leo does find a bloody fishnet stocking in the park, which is not an argument in the city’s favor and makes me wonder, for the first time, whether Mindy is going to end up out in the ’burbs with Ben, where Leo can attend a pleasant, safe, non-Quaker public school.

Mindy mentions this whole woman-problem to Ben, and instead of dropping some tough love — okay, fine, they haven’t known each other that long — he suggests she game the system by bringing in a female candidate her co-workers will hate. Hey, how about the woman who made Page Six for slapping a fellow doctor? Mindy soon produces Anna Ziev (Rebecca Rittenhouse) for an interview with her colleagues, declaring, “Would a misogynist bring a straight-up human female in for an interview?” Anna then promptly explains that she slapped the guy for calling her “sweetheart,” presents her impeccable qualifications, and finds herself hired on the spot. We have a slightly problematic moment when Jody calls her a string of similarly condescending terms and Anna tells him, “That’s fine, because you’re not ugly.” Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Meanwhile, Mindy skips Anna’s “welcome drinks” for her New Jersey date with Ben. Turns out Ben has a whole house, complete with a backyard where they can eat grilled corn on the cob. I’m starting to suspect Ben could be the One, despite my initial resistance. He’s different from anyone else Mindy has dated. He’s a dad, he has a house in the suburbs, and this is often how the One in real life looks — no big dramas in getting together, no will-they-won’t-they, just surprising comfort. Perhaps it all depends on whether Hulu picks up another season of the show. In any case, Mindy is surprised to find how much she likes it in Jersey, and things seem to be going well …

… until she gets on the wrong train in the morning. When she proudly explains to the conductor that she’s going home to Tribeca, he quips, “Nice to meet you, Melania. But this is the express train to Philadelphia.” For a city person, nothing is worse than navigating the complexities of suburban public transportation. Mindy’s late for work and misses her first patient of the day — but, never fear, as Beverly says, “the new American doctor took her.” That patient happens to be Mindy’s favorite, so she’s seething. When she goes to Anna’s office to confront her, she finds the fabulous Nate Berkus decorating the place. During the ensuing argument, Anna defends herself as “the youngest non-Asian to get an M.D. from Harvard” and points out that Mindy was, in fact, an hour and 32 minutes late for work. (Sorry, Mindy, but Anna’s right here.) Mindy fires Anna on the spot, explaining later that “we’re all entitled to one emotional firing.” The guys balk, accusing Mindy of not liking Anna because she’s pretty. (She is really, really pretty.) They demand Mindy hire her back and apologize.

So Mindy is already worked up when Ben stops by at the office to bring the shoe and phone that she left behind. She snaps that she won’t go to Jersey anymore, since it cost her a patient and got her into this Anna mess. “I’m sorry I’m not some rich prick who lives in Tribeca like every other coked-up Chad you’ve ever dated,” Ben snaps back, showing both a temper and a Chad-related humorous streak we’ve yet to see from him. Mindy’s response: “Coked-up Chad would have kicked me out first thing in the morning when the stock market opened, told me he was married, and given me a coconut water. But I would have gotten to work on time.” It’s a fun fight, even if we’ve never seen her date a coked-up Chad stockbroker. Maybe the closest we got was that dream-sequence Joseph Gordon-Levitt character?

But not to worry: The Mindy Project is great at reconciling couple fights, a skill obviously honed with Danny and Mindy. Mindy discovers that Ben brought her a plant and left it on her fire escape so she’d have a little piece of the Garden State. When she goes looking for Ben in the hospital, she encounters a preteen girl in the waiting room who offers her Sour Worms and comfort: “Do you wanna talk?” Soon the girl offers her good advice about the Anna situation: “This actually reminds me of a thing that happened to me last year in the sixth grade!” She advises Mindy to set aside her differences with Anna, and, of course, the next thing we know, we find out this girl is Ben’s daughter!

And so, Mindy apologizes to Anna: “I was taught to believe that men can only handle one woman at a time.” We learn an important feminist lesson and Mindy heads to Jersey to try apologizing again to Ben. Things are on track for Mindy to have maybe, possibly, finally find the One.