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The Mindy Project: “Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist”

Illustration for article titled The Mindy Project: “Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist”
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“Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist” marks a turning point in this now-trifecta of episodes. In season one’s “Danny Castellano Is My Gynecologist,” Danny was so adamant that he and Mindy had absolutely no connection or relationship, he could even be her doctor. By season two’s “Danny Castellano Is My Personal Trainer,” he’s helping her work out (so that she can get in shape for a weekend getaway with Cliff, but still). They accidentally see each other naked, and he thinks she looks great. Season three, and now Mindy and Danny are having a baby.

I am really surprised that Mindy Kaling co-wrote this episode, because I usually like her stuff better than this. Some of this is personal on my part: I am not a fan of gross-out humor. I do not want to see someone throwing up for a half-hour, even into a sparkly bucket, or on someone, or have to look at the vomity remains on someone’s pink jacket. Nope, could live without all of that.

I know Mindy’s ignorance is part of the schtick, but her cluelessness hasn’t spread out into her medicine career before (in fact, just the opposite is true, considering her success at Stanford). But there are so many possible options for morning sickness, it transcends all semblance of credulity (yes, that sometimes happens even on this show) that Mindy, an ob-gyn, is not familiar enough to come up with a possible cure for herself (to all present and future morning-sickness sufferers, I’ve got one word for you: acupuncture).

Also in the leaps of logic department: The belief that Danny Castellano, a man that, as we have seen recently, considers a glass of juice a dessert, would still smoke. As a doctor, he knows the horrific health effects of smoking, and it’s incongruous that he would continue to do this to his body. Helpfully, this does set up the nice parallel between Danny and Mindy and the willpower required to fix what is wrong in their health patterns. Mindy can be so cartoony, hanging out with raccoons and whatnot, I’m always surprised (but at this point, I should no longer be) when she hits a scene out of the park, as she does when Danny comes in to boast about his smoking cessation, and tearfully notes that it’s not as easy for her to “fix” herself.

As a non-pregnant person, Danny should be cutting Mindy a bit more slack, especially now that she’s eating for two. There’s a reason weird clichés about pregnancy cravings exist. Danny’s hard on Mindy like he’s hard on himself and everyone else. You would think the pregnancy would give him more reason to lay into her, as he does in the scene in the staff room when she lunges toward the cake (“My favorite kind of cake. Gigantic!”) and chides her about his baby cooking inside of her. But of course, her pregnancy requires Danny to give her a lot more leeway, not less. As the weird new doctor points out, there will come a time when the stress of the baby will probably cause Danny to smoke again, and he’ll probably get some slack from Mindy in return.

Besides all the barfing, my other least favorite development this episode is the new doctor (Dan Bakkedahl from Community and Veep). Okay, he has some nice advice for Danny in his last scene. But I just don’t see how you replace Adam Pally with the guy who looks like the guy who can’t sleep in a cold commercial. I’m not even sure what the point of Vanessa Williams’ guest spot was, except to show how hard up Shulman And Associates was for a new associate? They’ve been having trouble hiring people since episode two. Everyone who works at Shulman And Associates has pretty much gotten there by default.


I have never been one of those people who complains about Mindy’s tendency to surround herself with male co-stars on the show, but I can’t help but notice that this would have been a decent opportunity to get a female doctor in there that Mindy could actually confide in, as she hasn’t really had a female friend in New York since Gwen left in season one (maybe Neepa would come join her from Stanford). This guy is going to commute to the Philly suburbs every day? And what, exactly, does his blandness add to the mix? Danny and Jeremy may be sold, but I am not yet.

The best part of Mindy and Danny’s pregnancy is that it heightens all of their relationship awareness about each other, and makes all of their problems more consequential. You can be pissed at your boyfriend for smoking, but if you’re having a baby with him, you actually need him to be around. Which is why, as usual, Mindy and Danny salvage themselves in their final scene of the episode, with Danny realizing that he can’t expect Mindy to have willpower during pregnancy, and Mindy telling him that of course she knew this baby was going to be okay with Danny as the dad. Puking aside, the pregnancy has continued to deepen their relationship, but next time, we don’t need to see everything that comes with it.


Stray observations:

  • There was some nice use of the supporting cast this episode: Morgan’s vomit-inducing red fedora, Jeremy taking charge at the staff meeting, Tamra and her BB gun.
  • I also did not miss a convoluted B-plot at all. In fact, it looks like there were some major scenes deleted even from the A-plot. All the promo photos showed shots of Mindy and Danny at the grocery store, a scene that didn’t make it into the final episode.
  • Excellent fake childrearing book names: Panic Womb and Brave New Dad.
  • I totally forgot that Shonda Rhimes wrote the Britney Spears movie Crossroads.
  • I like that Danny tries to distract Mindy from wanting dessert with Yogi Berra quotes.
  • “May this lunch be the beginning of a lifetime of healthy eating.”
  • Hooray for the return of Pepe the raccoon!
  • “Gandhi said, ‘The British are coming,’ and that’s why we have independence for India.”
  • I don’t understand why it is that Peter is stalking Lauren now. They kissed goodbye at the airport, right?
  • Mindy’s best outfit: red and black floral print dress in the smoking apology scene.
Illustration for article titled The Mindy Project: “Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist”