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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

An unusual exploration of childbirth results in another hilarious Mindy Project

Illustration for article titled An unusual exploration of childbirth results in another hilarious Mindy Project
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By focusing on Mindy’s labor and delivery, The Mindy Project just offered one of the most welcome broadcast births in what has been a television staple since the days of I Love Lucy. The show grabbed an inspired opportunity to poke fun at the alpha and omegas of childbirth: from the home birth to the C-section (somewhere in the middle lies an epidural).

If any of this seems far-fetched, trust me, it’s not, from the Paleo birthing technique all the way to the deluxe “child-removal service.” Every pregnant person has (unsurprisingly) a very strong idea about her own birth plan, even if the dad in question shrugs and wonders what a birth plan is. But by taking both to the extreme, The Mindy Project again offers a spot-on, hilarious send-up of the elaborate takes on what should be the most natural thing in the world.

(Forgive me an aside: I had big labor dreams too, and they involved a giant birthing tub. Then I had a condition that required me to get a C-section, so that’s what I had. A friend who had a similar issue told me she cried when she realized that she wasn’t going to give birth naturally. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. I have friends who swear by their lovely homebirths—Jeannie Gaffigan had her five kids in her Manhattan bathtub—while that possibility would never even occur to me. So I guess I’m closer to Mindy‘s end of the scale after all.)

The absurdist level here is that Mindy Lahiri is an ob-gyn and so should ostensibly be pushing for the method that will be the safest for her baby, which doesn’t involve a five-day deluxe knockout (picturing Betty Draper wandering the halls now in that rare Mad Men low point, “The Fog”). And everything about that deluxe birthing suite is so delightfully over-the-top, from the spa water in the IV to the Pitbull-curated tequila in the dad cave.

Leave it to the Deslauriers, though, to make the other side just as much of a spectacle. I love the Duplass brothers, especially in shows like Transparent and Togetherness, which is perhaps why I always enjoy their takes on The Mindy Project so much, as they pull off these new age hijinks as the midwives. That video was indeed, “hella compelling,” as the brothers proudly announce the return of stone-age birth. Kudos to you, Brooke Burke: “My baby’s first sight wasn’t a hospital gown; it was a butterfly.” Even Mindy and Morgan’s Later, Baby! egg-freezing campaign taps into the new technological advances in fertility (or “big fertility,” which made me howl).

So when Mindy’s water does break on a stuck subway car, I was delighted that the Deslauriers were there to help, even though their “techniques are designed for younger and more athletic women”: Mindy’s eyeroll there was epic. Also, “I have an idea, I’m just going to raise this baby inside me, and he can see through my mouth” was both hysterical and perfect. Again, there is this horrible, claustrophobic moment when you’re in labor when you realize there’s no way out of it; where the pain almost negates the wonderful ending of this whole process. It’s truly one of the most frightening moments you can ever imagine, and Kaling nailed it here. We all crack up over Mindy’s scripts and humorous line delivery, but I have to point out how effectively she sold the terror of being in labor on the subway, especially when she started crying while everyone sang. As always, Danny runs majestically to reach her, and this imperfect couple again proves why they’re perfect together (loved Danny’s look behind him as he whispered to Mindy that she’s even tougher than his Ma; Moms are everywhere).


So two episodes in, two big life events. What’s in episode three, the wedding? Even if that would seem like a huge leap, I am loving this new season of Mindy so much, I will trust wherever she wants to take us.

Stray observations

  • Birth of the baby means that Mindy’s delightful parents are bound to come for a visit, right?
  • In classic TV birth mode, that baby was ginormous, and Mindy’s baby bump too tiny (especially for such a ginormous kid).
  • Also standard: the ludicrous fear that the baby will be affected by his parents having sex (see also: Nine Months). But it was kind of worth it for this exchange: “How would you like it if you were just minding your own business and a penis came along and smacked you in the face?” “That’s my life you’re describing!”
  • Speaking of Hugh Grant: I also wish the show would decide what to do with Jeremy. Remember when he was like a Hugh Grant knockoff? And now he’s so desperate for friends he has to pay people to have dinner with him? Ed Weeks is game enough to tackle whatever the show throws at him, but he deserves better.
  • Glad to see Beverly and Tamra, but totally forgot Adrian existed.
  • So much this: “My body is an idiot, have you ever seen me try to climb a ladder?”
  • Sorry, I don’t find the jokes about Danny possibly being a molestation victim funny at all, and wish the show would desist. Not out of any misguided loyalty to the Catholic Church or anything, just that that particular subject is nothing to joke about.
  • Also, that tooth story was really gross.
  • Mindy’s best outfit: She had a lot of cute maternity clothes, naturally. I loved the pink print dinner dress and the red dress and jacket combo that I guess are now ruined because she gave birth in them.