THE MINDY PROJECT – “The Bitch Is Back” Episode 404
Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC
I knew it would be fun to watch Mindy as a mom. Case in point, the opening scene in which she uses her mommyness to snag sweet privileges, like snaking a cab from some guy, then asking him to load her bags into the trunk for her. This is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from Mindy, and the reason I’m glad The Mindy Project went ahead with this storyline. Way more fun than being stuck in endless “will they/won’t they” with Danny. Not surprisingly, she accessorizes with her child better than anyone. Granted, he’s also extremely cute.
This episode proved the wisdom of this storyline in more substantive ways, too. Mindy’s facing the end of her maternity leave and wondering if she should go back to work—a relatable story for many new moms (as far as I can tell from my mom friends, anyway). (Side note: I appreciate the joke about how Mindy can’t remember how to pronounce Jeremy’s name—“Jermery?” A subtle nod to my common complaint that he doesn’t get to do enough.) Danny’s encouraging Mindy to continue to stay home—I love how they play with Danny’s conservative streak, even to the point of likely annoying most of the women who watch this show. I love Danny, but, ugh, he’s been hitting all my feminist nerves lately. Mindy, of course, isn’t so sure about continuing to stay home: “What would the stay-at-home moms I cyberbully on Pinterest say?” Way to boil an important issue down to its essence, Mindy.
Leave it to Mindy to also make the biggest possible subway scene out of breastfeeding in public. When she goes to feed little Leo while on the train, she’s confronted by a Southern Gentleman who doesn’t want to see that. “No man can tell me what to do with my body,” Mindy says. “Only women’s magazines can do that.” This is the kind of commentary I love most from The Mindy Project: a succinct critique of modern women’s fate in a one-joke line.
The SG leads his fellow riders in a chant of “Put them away!” Though I am mostly distracted by the glimpse of what appears to be Mindy’s lacy, purple nursing bra. Pretty fabulous. But the SG is still going. “If I wanted to see a Gauguin painting, I’d have gone to a museum,” he quips. Mindy’s rejoinder: “That joke didn’t land because I don’t know what that is.”
Back at the office, Danny is contemplating getting a “push present” for Mindy, though it’s really his way of bribing her to stay home with little Leo. I obviously don’t love this motivation, but I say whatever gets us more Danny dancing is fine! Sadly, his demonstration of his gift dance to Tamra and Beverly—yes, it appeared to be basically a hip-hop dance routine to Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown”—is cut short by their insistence that this was all wrong for a “push present.” I differ strongly with them on this issue, but I get it: plot.
Danny’s next attempt at a gift for Mindy is a “luxurious cranberry turtleneck” he found by Googling “perfect gifts for Mom.” I’m pretty sure he does this mainly so Tamra can fire off a series of perfect lines: That sweater, which Morgan comes to the office wearing because Mindy thought it was trash someone had left on her bed as a joke, is “like what you get your aunt when she graduates from court reporter school.” Not to mention: Push present? “More like based on the novel Push by Sapphire in that these gifts are an endless series of tragedies.” Beverly gets one good one, too. She’ll help him buy a gift: “Meet me in the sewers at dawn.” (I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I love how Beverly is basically just Creed from The Office.)
More importantly, Mindy does need to get back to her fertility clinic—Morgan is always mixing up the eggs! And it turns out the Southern Gentleman from the train is the practice’s latest “new doctor,” Dr. Jody. Oh hell no. (Actually, more like, of course, because Dr. Jody is played by It’s Always Sunny’s Garret Dillahunt, and they weren’t about to have him play just a train heckler.) Dr. Jody Kimball-Kinney has joined with his nurse sister, Collette Kimball-Kinney. Turns out Jeremy stayed with their family in Georgia when he was a young exchange student, and everyone else in the office loves working with the Kimball-Kinneys. Even Morgan, Mindy’s most intense fan, is #TeamCollette&Jody.
Collette actually does seem pretty sweet. She has a nice bonding moment with Mindy when Mindy catches her crying, and she admits she hates living in New York but is doing it for her brother. Back South, she was head cheerleader and captain of the football team! Here, it’s hard for her to make friends.
Still, Mindy campaigns to get Jody fired, and even uncovers more evidence of his sexism: He told one of Mindy’s patients that her husband should not be in the delivery room so that, as the patient said, “my vagina could remain a beautiful mystery for my husband.”
When Mindy confronts Jody about this in a staff meeting, he agrees: “Oh, yes, I most certainly am a sexist.” Then he gives a speech that basically summarizes the Victorian ideal of the woman as “The Angel in the House,” which with a few modern tweaks morphed into what’s known as “difference feminism.” You can’t say we don’t learn things from The Mindy Project. This is in addition to Gauguin! And wait! We’re not done! After his deeply southern-accented speech gets applause from Mindy’s colleagues, she quips, “Even Harper Lee’s health aide wouldn’t publish that.” Then she flashes her boobs at Jody and accidentally squirts milk in his face. So, learning part over. (One more good line, though, from Mindy: “At a spa that would probably cost $200.” Hey, it beats blood facials.)
With that, Mindy quits: “Honestly, there’s someone at home who loves it when I squirt breast milk in his face.” Later, she rethinks this decision; she obviously loves her work. But when Danny comes home with a “Leo” tattoo (the real, final push present) and a sincere speech about how much it means to him that she’s going to be a stay-at-home parent, something he never had as a kid … well, it’s hard for her to let him down.