Ben, Mindy, and some pizza (Photo: Hulu)

If last week, The Mindy Project was flirting with giving Dr. Mindy Lahiri a new love interest, this week it’s downright Frenching the idea.

As we enter this week’s episode, the nurses are still on strike, though that hasn’t stopped Mindy from phoning handsome pediatric nurse Ben for help every time her unseen baby Leo gets something stuck up his nose or in his ear. This eventually ends in a kiss, because of course it does, and by the end of the episode, they’re romantically entangled on Mindy’s stoop, our heroine’s insistence that she wanted to be single be damned. What the heck? Know thy single self, Mindy.

This stinks for a number or reasons, not the least of which is that this means that Jody, her loyal coworker and recent paramour is getting the shaft. As Jody points out during the episode, it’s pretty shitty that she told him she couldn’t be with him because she needed to be single only to jump into non-medical mouth-to-mouth with a nurse what seems to be mere days or weeks later. While in this episode the plot is more concerned with the burgeoning love match and the nurses’ strike than with Jody’s emotions, let’s hope that Mindy’s big shirk is something that will play out over future weeks. Garrett Dillahunt is simply too talented and his Jody Kimball-Kinney too insane to be passed over like that.

The Ben vs. Jody slight feels especially sad after all the build up last season where it seemed like, by loving Mindy, Jody could become a better, less self-centered and self-righteous person, and now, one waylaid love nest later, he’s pretty much back to his old backwoods self, no questions asked. I get that deep character development isn’t exactly hilarious, but it’ll be a bummer if what happened there—and what’s happening now—just disappears into the Mindy ether.

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It’s worth noting that I liked the way Mindy used Ed Weeks as Jeremy this, er… week. Jeremy’s stress-induced alopecia and pre-existing English frailty were hilarious plot points, and I especially enjoyed when the high-strung doctor’s eyebrow fell off. Alopecia is terrible and everything, but physical comedy still rules when it works, and this worked. Also, the joke that he bought his hot pipe room weed in New York’s “Little Colorado” was A-plus.

Slapstick aside, maybe Weeks’ performance stuck out to me this week because the love storyline just fell so flat. Mindy is at its best when it’s making smart jokes and smart decisions. That the show is seemingly falling back onto easy tropes is still just rubbing me the wrong way, though I will admit that I hold Mindy to higher standards than I would to, say, Kevin Can Wait. Mindy is like my friend. I want the show to push more, to stand out, and to be as smart as I know it can be. I’ve seen The Mindy Project at its best, and, unfortunately, “Margaret Thatcher” wasn’t it.

Stray Observations

  • As always, I’m a sucker for anyone walking a ton of dogs in anything, be it in real life or in fiction, and thus I loved Morgan’s hijinks this week. One inside baseball thing I’m wondering, though: Why were all the dogs light brown? Do they just show up better on camera, especially in night shoots?
  • Mindy, after being egged by striking nurses outside her office: “This strike is getting real old. I’ve got more eggs on me than in me.”
  • I loved the two random people that somehow still work at Schulman & Associates, and I appreciate that the show called them out. Who in the world is Troy, and where did he come from? What is he, their billing manager?
  • Jody, emphatically defending the office’s Guns & Ammo subscription: “I believe the right to bear arms begins at conception.”
  • Morgan calls two health care professionals getting together “knocking Crocs,” and that’s amazing.
  • The idea that Jody curls Colette’s hair is adorable.
  • As longtime fans of Garrett Dillahunt know, this is not the first time the character actor has played someone who’s sported a cowboy hat and some western duds. It is certainly, however, the first time one of his characters has essentially dressed like Woody from Toy Story.

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