Monday, October 19, 2015

The Mindy Project 4x05 "Stay At Home MILF" (The Leo Project) [Contributor: Anne]

"Stay At Home MILF"
Original Airdate: October 13, 2015

What does it mean that a baby is now a part of this show?

In many ways, it means that nothing has changed and most things remain very similar. Every episode is a push-pull between Mindy and Danny, often ending with Danny in the wrong. The baby is just another thing for them to fight about –– another opportunity for them to argue, and another opportunity for their personalities to be revealed (as they are when, say, Mindy watches Dora the Explorer with Leo).

So what makes it different? I think that so far, having a baby has required The Mindy Project to have heart on a more consistent basis. This show has always had heart –– it's still inherently more romantic comedy than it is a workplace comedy –– but with a baby, Mindy and Danny are both developing at an accelerated rate. They have someone that holds them accountable for their actions, someone they want to make proud, someone that they want to be there for. It's been surprisingly fruitful to watch Mindy and Danny argue while, at the same time, argue over something that they care about more than anything else.

This unconditional love for Leo has led to some of the better scenes of the series, such as Danny's tattoo and Mindy's speech to Leo in this episode. And so far, Leo's appearance in the show has not led to anything too trite –– these arguments are more related to Mindy and Danny's professional careers more than they are related to their ability to parent. This is welcoming to me because a big criticism of having babies on a TV show is that they suck up plot time. "The baby keeps me up all night!" "I don't know how to change a diaper!" and other issues like these are so boring to watch, and they don't teach us anything about someone's character. In contrast, a professional conflict (how does Mindy tell Danny about her desire to work?) is pretty set in one's self. That the baby teaches us more about who we already know is the ideal way to handle an often difficult addition.

This all said, I was pretty frustrated with the ending of the episode, where Mindy is thwarted yet again in her attempt to tell Danny about wanting to stay at home. This is a preliminary complaint. Right now, it's frustrating because it's an external plot point –– it's something not based in character. It's not even based in Leo. It's just a "gotcha!" ending meant to delay the inevitable.

Where this ending can be redeemed is if Danny doesn't get angry for Mindy's hesitation. If he does, we, as an audience, know how close she's been to telling him, and that the fault doesn't lie with her. If he does, then their big conflict will be for naught, based off of circumstances they couldn't control. I don't know what the point of the heart attack was, but I hope its purpose is greater than as a distraction for Danny and a way to make Ma the Lahiri nanny. (I don't miss Ma at all, by the way!)

As far as the B-plot goes, it was okay. It didn't add that much new to what other sitcoms have done, and in fact was sort of close-minded in its approach ("I don't hate that you're gay, it's just this isn't the life I envisioned for me –– I mean, you!"). That being said, I love Colette, I love Jody (love, love, love), and I loved that the biggest sage of all? Mindy. Looks like motherhood's made her the best version of herself, after all.

Stray Observations:
  • I AM SO SORRY FOR THE DELAY. At least this will make the episode fresh for you before the new one airs?
  • I loved the discussion between Mindy and Danny about Leo's mannerisms. So cute, and a great scene.
  • Chris Messina did a great job acting out the otherwise contrived ending scene.
  • "With really big breasts." "The biggest." "This coming out is getting less touching."
  • "If you are not living your most authentic self, what even was the point of Glee?"
  • "You cannot keep a Southern family's gay secret for personal gain."
  • I loved Jody and Mindy drinking from a flask after their successful surgery, and her confession that her flask was confiscated at the American Girl store. This is the kind of humor only The Mindy Project could pull off, and I'm so grateful for it.
  • I love Tracey Wigfield, but she's been on the show for an extended period, in two separate roles! Please find another extra female voice besides her, please,


Post a Comment