Mindy extols the virtues of being a stay-at-home parent in this episode’s first voiceover, but she soon learns the truth: Being a stay-at-home parent is about the hardest job in the world. The worst part is, there’s absolutely no break. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The only downtime you get is when the baby is unconscious (which is why I was an absolute slave to the sleep schedule. If you’re even thinking about procreating, pick up Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. You can thank me later).

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So it’s not a surprise to learn this episode that neither Mindy or Danny have the energy or inclination for this extremely exhausting job, who does? Before she gives up, Mindy makes a stab at it with some crazy Stepford Wife-created website (complete with anti-depressant banner ads) all about being subservient to both your spouse and your child. The website’s suggestions are humorous, especially for Mindy, but hardly realistic: aprons, glamorous dresses, useless organic cleaners. Danny’s ready to give up the effort after one day, a satisfying result after he dismisses Mindy’s stay-at-home status as not really being like work.

I’m still enjoying Mindy’s exploration here, as she runs back to the practice after a week and realizes how much she misses it. But the fact that her attempt to tell Danny how she feels gets cut off by the news about Danny’s dad smacks of the worst kind of TV trope, so we’ll be trapped in this web of deceit a while longer.

I’ve been letting Danny slide because of his desire to have Mindy watch Leo to give the baby the security he never had. But pulling in his ma to help out and not letting on is just a dick move. Maybe he was trying to convince Mindy that the hardest job in the world is anything but that, but it was still a cheap ploy to pull on someone who knocked herself out all week. It could be the combination of Danny’s inability to entertain the thought of Mindy still working (although she hasn’t told him yet, he’s not psychic or anything) coupled with Jody’s inability to accept his sister’s gayness that’s rubbing me the wrong way with this episode. Mindy Kaling is a strong, powerful woman, who runs her own show that she stars in, with her name on it. So why are the women on her show getting bogged down in these stereotypical conventions? This episode posits it’s because neither Mindy or Colette are being truthful with the men in their lives. But these quandaries seem so out of date, they belong to a decades-older show.

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Namely, Three’s Company, which specialized in thwarted communications and misunderstandings. Colette’s attempt to use Morgan as a beard was supposed to be entertaining, but just smacked of something she shouldn’t have to put up with, with Morgan being his usual pathetic self. Still, Ike Barinholtz is nailing lines like, “He took me out on his boat! No one’s ever taken done that and brought me back.” His eagerness to be accepted anywhere brings a sprig of melancholy to the whole situation.

So as much as I enjoyed Garret Dillahunt’s introduction to the show last week, I’m not totally sure of the way Jody and Colette fit into the office. This antiquated Southern gentleman schtick can get old rapidly, even though in this one it led to spritely lines about duels and Tennessee Williams. I guess if Mindy needs a foil, it would have to be a non-feminist, but at least one who enjoys fine Kentucky bourbon?

As always with The Mindy Project, even in potentially problematic episodes, there are still a number of jokes that land. Like Mindy’s rationale that Colette should come out to her brother, otherwise, “What even was the point of Glee?” Tamra didn’t get to rattle off a number of zingers like she did last week, but we are piecing together more details about Beverly’s life (she fishes stuff out of the sewers, and she lives in the alley). Jeremy is reduced to an intercom joke, but at least that but offered some amusement throughout the episode (pot pie announcements, chastising about pot pie announcements) and played a key role in Colette’s lesbian announcement.

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The episode ends as Danny’s dad’s heart attack throws a wrench onto the works, so Mindy still can’t tell him how she feels. My prediction: She hires a nanny to watch Leo while Danny’s away, it works out well, so she talks him into keeping the nanny when he comes back.

All of these events appear to be unfolding rather rapidly, considering we’ve got 21 episodes left to go in the season. We could have seen Mindy wrestle longer on maternity leave, or toy with the work decision more. Because it’s never an easy one, and doesn’t get any easier. Yesterday was Columbus Day, which my kids had off but I did not, so all day our babysitter posted pics for me of the kids loving life at the zoo, eating ice cream, etc., on what was likely the last nice day in Chicago until April—a perfect afternoon that I was not a part of. Which could be why my favorite part of this episode is Mindy’s talk with Leo in the bedroom, telling him that she has to go back to work because she’s good at it, and she wants him to be proud of her. The decision of whether to work or not kind of gets made for you when the kids enter grade school, but it still splits your attention and efforts. But just like Mindy, I believe that showing that you can grow up and do what you absolutely love to do is a vital lesson for parents to teach their kids.

Stray observations

  • I really liked Mindy’s cute haircut last episode, but this week it’s long again? And with Jody and Colette’s introduction last week, it’s not like the episodes were shown out of order. What gives? Extensions?
  • Mindy’s best outfits: All the Stepford dresses with matching aprons were sweet efforts by show costume designer Sal Perez. According to his Twitter and Instagram, he made all the aprons himself in his workroom, and should consider selling them as a side project.

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