The Mindy Project Recap: 4×03 “Leo Castellano Is My Son”

Last week, Mindy and Danny gave birth to Leo Castellano. This week, they enter their home with their new son. “Behold, one day all this will be yours,” says Mindy, continuing the whole Leo/Lion concept with what I assume is a pretty great Lion King reference. Danny quips, “I hope you like property taxes.”

But horrors confront Mindy as soon as she looks around: the bare skeletons of desks and walls that once had laptops and flat-screen TVs upon them! Danny says he baby-proofed the apartment. “More like fun-proofed,” Mindy retorts. He even disabled the wifi! But at least he didn’t find the gun, which Mindy announces with relief was in the toilet.

After credits, Danny is talking Italian to Leo, asking him how such a beautiful boy can have such a crazy mother. Mindy totally buys his fake translation that refers to her as a beautiful mother, saying she’s going to get it as a tramp stamp. They cuddle in bed, and Danny says aloud that maybe he should take paternity leave. I’m sorry, what? Danny’s not taking paternity leave?! I know he’s old-fashioned, but really?

Their cuddle time and my feminist pearl-clutching is interrupted by loud sex noises coming from next door. “I’m getting a UTI just thinking about it,” Mindy says. They usually block it out with TV, but Danny has cut out that option, so now they have to resort to direct action: knocking on her door to ask her to keep it down.

The neighbor answers hilariously, yelling offstage: “Just one sec guys. Just fool around with each other for a minute, OK?” She then calls Mindy and Danny smug breeders and an old married couple, to which Mindy takes exception: “I’m essentially a child bride,” she announces. But you can already tell Mindy has some secret sympathy for Sexually Liberated Neighbor, while Danny’s all, “Can you dial it down a couple shades of grey?”

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 11.52.51 PM

One big happy family?

The next morning Danny’s going back to work. He gets super sentimental, tearing up and calling them “mi famiglia.” Danny has gotten very Italian this week. One thing that hasn’t changed is how much medical knowledge he seems to have missed during med school. He says that the baby can’t go outside till he’s been vaccinated. I guess he’s never heard of a little thing called “antibodies in the breast milk,” although that’s still not as absurd as not knowing about how penises are not usually long enough to be visible to babies from inside the womb.

Mindy agrees to all this, which I don’t get. I see her as a very headstrong woman, and my best interpretation of her acquiescence is that she has that weird symptom of being in love where you really want to be nice to the other person and you agree to things that you never otherwise would? Still, it’s a bit creepy. Luckily, an outsider will be around to point that out…

At work, Danny is cheered by everyone. Jeremy is particularly happy, since he’s “getting it on the reg,” according to Beverly. “She… knows you’re going out, right?” says Danny, amusingly. Tamra takes advantage of Jeremy’s good mood to ask for TLC Tuesdays, otherwise known as No-Scrubs Tuesdays. She is going to take two hours off to pick out her outfit, but don’t worry, it won’t affect her work! Some nameless white doctor whose existence I had totally forgotten about takes the opportunity to quit.

Mindy calls Danny, saying there’s an emergency: she’s SO BORED. “Did you know that Leo’s not going to talk till he’s twelve months old?” demands Mindy, who was probably born talking. Danny wants to know how Mindy could not know this, being a doctor. Uh, I don’t know, Danny. Maybe she doesn’t read the New England Journal of Imaginary Facts About Vaccination And Penis Length as often as you do.

Luckily, Danny has prepared a care package for Mindy’s screen-free boredom. It’s full of… books! Mindy’s face falls. She gets excited about the use of the n-word in Huck Finn, but realizes it has a message, so it’s not exactly a Kanye song. Then she decides the Bible is a good prospect, since it’s so violent. It too turns out to be a disappointment: too few jokes for a book with so many Jews. All right, I thought that was funny. Do I have to turn in my PC card now?

Since literature has turned out to be inadequate entertainment, Mindy tries calling Morgan, who’s in the middle of failing to notice that his lonely, pretty patient is hitting on him. He is over the moon when he realizes this wasn’t a butt dial, but a social call, and shushes the poor patient when she once again tries to say she would totally date him. He is wearing amazingly nerdy glasses.

I covet this outfit so hard.

I covet this outfit so hard.

Mindy is still at home with Leo. This is when I notice that they are both wearing matching pajama sets with a super cute pineapple print. I die of cuteness. Anyway, checking the newspaper, Mindy learns two important facts: what the minimum wage is (“Nobody tell Morgan,” she mutters, shocked at how high it is) and that the Gyllenhaal siblings are doing a signing for their new cookbook. “What are the chances that Jake Gyllenhaal has rubella? Like thirty percent, max,” muses the good doctor. So she dons a fabulous teal leather jackets, adorable shades, and a sparkly headband and takes Leo out to the bookstore.

Tamra's belt top

Tamra’s belt top

Meanwhile, Tamra is texting her friend Sheena. This is where I earn my PC card back – I found this scene a little too close to various stereotypes about black girls’ names and voices. Mostly with Sheena. Tamra is still hilarious. She is going to wear one of Mindy’s belts as a top for TLC Tuesday.

Morgan is being invited to lunch by Whitney and Jeremy. Maybe, he concedes, despite their gross level of PDA, since he only makes two dollars an hour. But when Whitney goes off to take a phone call, Tamra, who’s hiding behind Mindy’s closet doors, hears a very suspicious conversation. Whitney’s all, “No, he has no idea,” and “He’s an idiot,” and planning to meet someone tonight. Oh no. Poor Jeremy!

Mindy arrives home with Leo’s stroller and about a thousand shopping bags in tow. Of course she pushes Leo inside and then accidentally locks herself out when trying to pick up her shopping bags in the hall. Panicked, she also sees a text from Danny that he’s coming home for lunch because he misses them. So she has to knock on the door of her Sexually Liberated Neighbor. “Back for more slut shaming?” the neighbor, whose name is Chelsea apparently, asks sarcastically. Mindy explains the situation, and Chelsea points out that it sounds like Danny is holding her hostage. THANK YOU, Chelsea. You are the coolest. “You know, I banged a cop last night, we could wake him up.” We’ll call that Plan B, Mindy says.

Mindy's balcony hop

Mindy’s balcony hop

And Chelsea proves that she is in fact the coolest by helping Mindy climb over the wall of her balcony and over onto Mindy’s own balcony. “Oh God, my episiotomy stitches,” Mindy yells while straddling the two balconies in terror and discomfort. Then she falls over, luckily landing on her own balcony. “Saw that coming,” Chelsea says drily before nimbly hopping over, herself.

Mindy yells for Chelsea to hide the junk food, but the hiding spot under the floorboards is already filled with candy. Just as Danny arrives home, Chelsea hides; he finds Mindy angelically cradling Leo on the bed. She lies and says she knocked over his photo frame while reading one of his Hardy Boy mysteries; in fact, she turned it upside down out of guilt when she was packing up for the signing. Anyway, Mindy gets rid of Danny pretty quick, saying she wants the little one to see his work ethic. After lots of I-love-yous and kisses, Danny leaves and Chelsea pops up from the crib. “Ugh, the yapper on that guy, huh?”

When we next see the ladies, they’re snacking on the couch and having a good chat. I love this new friendship already. It turns out they actually totally get each other: “Before I had a baby, I loved listening to you banging randos,” Mindy confesses. “And I loved falling asleep listening to you munch on peanut brittle,” Chelsea says. (Danny has now banned peanuts until the allergy tests. Is he actually even a doctor? Like did he pass the boards? It is starting to seem unlikely. Plot suggestion for season 5: Danny has to Billy Madison his way through med school to save the practice.)

Chelsea points out that Danny’s pretty strict, even if the ring is huge. She confesses she’d like to date someone, and would settle for ugly and poor as long as the guy was nice. “I thought you were slutty for modern female empowerment reasons, not old-fashioned sad ones,” Mindy says hilariously. And if you think it seems likely that Chelsea doesn’t actually want to settle that badly, your suspicion is about to be tested. Because Mindy has a fabulous idea. Poor and not that hot, you say? She just may know someone of that description who’s looking!

Morgan is yelling yes on the phone before Mindy can even get out her question. “He’ll pick you up at seven,” Mindy says, cheerfully hanging up on Morgan before he can finish hollering that he doesn’t have a car.

Tamra is nervous about telling Jeremy what she overheard Whitney say, because she’s afraid to lose TLC Tuesdays—but, being the nice person that she is (since no one else gives a flying fuck about poor Jeremy, as we learned in the season premiere), she eventually womans up and does it… by text. Jeremy’s horrified. Tamra says, “All I know for sure is she’s meeting a man behind your back and thinks you’re an idiot!” Jeremy hatches a very brave plan to walk right up to them and… look at the man from behind a plant. That was my favorite joke of the episode, although there were a lot of contenders—I would have loved to recap the episode by just reproducing every single joke on the page.

Morgan’s getting ready for his date, which for Morgan entails borrowing Danny’s stapler to replace a button that popped, and accidentally stapling himself. He coincidentally discovers that Dr. C has a nanny cam trained on Dr. L!

Mindy and Danny are now sleeping like the old married couple they are, Danny wearing a cross necklace and a sleeveless white tee, and Mindy in yet another set of adorable pajamas. Mindy pretends to be shocked when they hear Morgan’s voice through Chelsea’s wall, but Morgan outs her as the one who introduced them—quickly followed by Chelsea outing Mindy for the book signing. Mindy’s defense is pretty good: his care package was all package and no care. I don’t think that’s a penis joke, but with Mindy you can never be sure. Luckily for her she’s off the hook after five seconds, or at least Danny is equally on the hook, when Morgan reveals there’s a nanny cam trained on her.

They have the fight you would expect: Danny doesn’t trust her, but she has sinned greatly by stepping out of the house, because Danny is basically the Taliban. He also doesn’t trust Jake Gyllenhaal’s germs because he didn’t like Brokeback Mountain. There’s an amusing touch where he flexes as he says it just wasn’t his kind of movie, emphasizing his non-gay masculinity the way incredibly insecure men do.

Morgan knocks to tell them he can’t maintain an erection what with all their screaming. Luckily, this helps Chelsea to her senses, and she says they’d better call it a night. She leaves Morgan in her pink striped bathrobe in the hallway. (Can you believe she didn’t want to tap that?!) Meanwhile, Mindy decides to go get herself a well-deserved drink.

Next up, Jeremy and Tamra confront Whitney, who they find in a bar with a man. Jeremy passionately declares himself “the face of devastation,” but when the man introduces himself Jeremy calms down and responds very politely, which is amusing. Then he goes back to his wild accusations, and Whitney has to explain that she’s been planning a surprise engagement party for the very man who’s sitting with her, Gerald. She swings open a door to reveal a giant party. Gerald’s about to be touched when Tamra demands what she meant when she said, “He has no idea” and “He’s an idiot.” Then poor Gerald (I learned from Mindy’s first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which I read last week, that she adores Amy Poehler, so I feel like she must have named this sad, nice schlub after Amy Poehler’s sad, nice, schlubby Jerry from Parks and Rec) says he’s just going to go home.

Mindy, at the bar, orders “your finest body shot.” Heh. Behind her, she can hear two douchey suits celebrating having escaped their wives and kids for the night. She yells at them, telling them, “As a mother, you disgust me.” One of them points out the hypocrisy of this. The other one wants to basically admit her into their boys’ club, saying her kid probably exhausted her and they should give her a break. She says, “Actually my baby is an angel and his father is a saint,” declares them creeps, and leaves.

Tamra texts Sheena again, saying she realizes now she should mind her own business. Immediately she catches sight of Whitney very clearly finishing up a line of coke. Nope! she decides, she’s going to mind her own business. Way to raise the stakes there! I love it.

Mindy comes home to Danny feeding Leo a bottle on the couch. She brought him a sandwich the way he likes it, with “all the leaves inside it.” Lettuce, Danny interprets sweetly. He apologizes for using the nanny cam and says that he trusts her. Mindy is like, well, if I’d have known I’d have done a sexy striptease (hopefully with knees pressed close together, so as not to aggravate that episiotomy scar!), and I wouldn’t have picked that scab. Heh. She says she’s happy and lucky that the father wants to be in their lives, but that he has to let her be a mother the way she knows how. This moment of compromise is, inevitably, interrupted by Mindy catching sight of Morgan—and, uh, little Morgan—standing in her kitchen in the absurd bathrobe.

All right, so. Moral of the story: Women should forgive men for bossing them within an inch of their lives because they’re lucky to have co-parents at all?

I mean, no. I realize that’s not what Mindy Kaling is actually trying to say here. I really appreciate the point that even men who exist in a socioeconomic class where they are automatically expected to conceive within wedlock and devote the bulk of their income to their children’s college funds, like the finance douches in this episode, are able to walk out the door and shed their obligations to be real co-parents with very little protest from society; they can refer to their wives and children as burdens with no guilt and no censure; and they DO actually receive praise just for being the primary caretaker for two hours a week while their wives go to Yogilates. Whereas Danny sees his role in parenting as essential, as primary. That is unusual, and society needs that. But oh, Mindy Lahiri! Chelsea will back me up on this, I’m sure: You don’t need to be so grateful for his basic co-parenting decency that you forget to stand up for yourself! Get mad! Fight back! Screw the man!

…Wait! Not that way! Get back here!

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One Comment

  1. […] Mindy barges into the staff meeting and demands to fire Jody for being sexist. He owns it and declares he is a sexist, that he believes in traditional gender roles, and that it’s totally cool guys because that just means he thinks men are dirty and disgusting! He tells a long, terrifying story about setting frogs and baby skunks on fire (“He had to go back to the therapist,” Colette chimes in at the end of this) and announces that the whole apple thing wasn’t Eve’s fault, but the male serpent’s. By the time he sits down everyone is cheering [Janes: Even Tamra, who was being such a good feminist one scene ago!], and Mindy can’t believe it. “Even Harper Lee’s health aide wouldn’t publish that!” Another contender for best line. I guess Mindy’s learned a lot about literature since last week. […]

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