The Mindy Project
So, like, anyone notice how fast little Leo is aging? He’s sitting up already, and in day care/preschool/whatever it is that has Sriracha and Gratitude as his classmates?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled about this. First of all, as I’m sure Mindy would agree, new babies are boring. Second, this allows The Mindy Project to skewer fancy preschool culture, and the show is at its best when it’s skewering. It valiantly tries to be a lot of things, but it works best as a parody of privilege. Case in point: Sriracha and Gratitude’s moms. When Mindy says she’s sending Leo to public school, one of the moms asks, “Is Leo’s father a politician trying to seem less white?” Turns out, the only place to send your kid to preschool is Little Doorways Academy for Ethical Children. I mean, it’s the only one with a study0abroad program. Cue celebrity joke: “Let’s just say the wait list is Jay Z’s hundredth problem.” Mindy’s response: “Whoa. I love exclusive things.”
Mindy tells the gang at the office about this new wrinkle in child-rearing. “Doesn’t Danny want Leo to go to the Immaculate Academy of the Sacred Meatball or whatever?” Tamra wisely asks. Mindy: “You’ve heard what those priests do. They take a vow of poverty. I don’t want my son exposed to that.” With that, Mindy decides to get Leo into Little Doorways one way or another. One way being that she’ll “play the race card.” She shows up for her parent interview in gorgeous traditional Indian garb, doing an Indian accent, which I was kinda into. Though she drops the accent a few seconds in, when the admissions officer calls her on having sounded different on the phone. Speaking of the admissions officer: Welcome, excellent character actress Carolyn Hennesy, who specializes in these snarky, icy types. (I loved her as Courteney Cox’s “fellow cougar” in the early days of Cougar Town.) The admissions woman is suspicious of Mindy’s pleas that her husband is out of town and can’t attend the next day’s open house. After all, one of the other fathers is a prisoner of ISIS, and he’s coming. See what I mean about the parody being spot-on? I don’t care if the stories don’t line up when they’re throwing out lines like this.
You know where we’ve got to go next with this: a fake husband! Mindy asks Jeremy, who is an expert in exclusive schools, thanks to his own sad boyhood. (One of his former schools’ fight songs was “Cry Not for Mother, Books Are Your Parents Now.”) Alas, Jeremy cannot go to Little Doorways with Mindy because his alma mater, Essex School for Unloved Boys, is Little Doorways’ staunch rival. (Side note: Beverly had a particularly good throwaway line this episode. Upon taking a swig from her flask: “Dammit, back to Step 1.”) The only logical solution is for Jody to be Mindy’s fake husband, and, coincidentally, she can be his fake girlfriend at dinner with the sister-in-law with whom he’s been having an affair, Anne-Marie.
The open house is as perfect as you want it to be. The admissions officer says things like, “Trigger warning to zheveryone.” She mentions that Marina Abramovic is naked in the art room. Jody is surprisingly/unsurprisingly great at the open house, charming the admissions officer into fast-tracking Leo’s application. She will be by the next morning for a home visit! What could possibly go wrong?
Then it’s off to dinner with Anne-Marie, where he introduces Mindy as his girlfriend (and also as “this little dollop of brownie mix”). He has obviously brought Mindy to try to make Anne-Marie so jealous that she’ll sleep with him again. But Mindy soon forces him into telling the truth, mainly by telling crazy stories about how they got together, and then gives him a nice speech about how he deserves better than to sleep with his brother’s wife. Then Mindy leaves with the breadbasket, and Anne-Marie agrees that they have to stop having sex: “It can never happen again, like a sitcom with all white characters.” (Nice work, Mindy Project.)
This whole thing dovetails rather nicely when Jody shows up at Mindy’s the next morning for the home visit — and he’s totally wasted. Mindy’s obviously flustered by this because, among other things, she still has to “learn all of current events” before the admissions officer shows up in a few minutes. She only has time to get Jody into bed and beg him to stay there, pretending to be sick.
The admissions officer is obviously suspicious of many things when she arrives, not the least of which is all of the photos of some other man in the apartment: “And who is this little Italian man? Is he a marionette?” Naturally, Jody comes stumbling out of the bedroom, obviously drunk, and Mindy drags him into a bathroom for a spray-down with the shower and a talking-to. She confronts him about whether he even loves Anne-Marie, or if he just wants her because she’s his brother’s wife. “We are soul mates,” he protests. “I think the jewelry she makes is very interesting!” They both soon realize they’re trying to get something they don’t even want just because it’s hard to get.
Mindy goes back out to the living room and tells the admissions woman that she doesn’t want Leo to go to Little Doorways after all. The woman can’t believe it: Kelly Ripa once offered her a night of passion with Mark Consuelos just to get her kid in! And she took it! Of course, it also turns out that it costs $70,000 a year to send your child to Little Doorways, and even Mindy has her limits on exclusivity: “If I had $70,000 to blow, I’d have a new face!” If we’re lucky, she’ll consider that one of these days. I’d love to see The Mindy Project take on plastic surgery.