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The Mindy Project wastes a Peter visit in “Later, Baby”

Illustration for article titled The Mindy Project wastes a Peter visit in “Later, Baby”
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I didn’t know that Adam Pally was slated for a Mindy Project guest spot, so I was naturally excited to view a whole new episode with him in it, especially considering how well this show has been doing this season. But I don’t know if it’s been too long without him, but he didn’t segue as well into this episode as I had hoped. The overall effort seemed rather disjointed, written by Tracey Wigfield; as I’ve mentioned, I usually don’t enjoy her scripts as much as some of the other writers in the Mindy Project stable (this season’s “The Bitch Is Back” was my favorite of hers so far). The Mindy Project, as we’ve seen, can offer the best one-liners around, but it needs some sort of solid structural background to hold them all together. An episode focusing on Mindy struggling as a working mom, or even showing the pitfalls of starting her own business, has the potential to be valuable, but one that devolves into seemingly random co-worker in-fighting, not as much.

I’m also not sure what the point is of keeping Danny out in California, unless it’s to highlight Mindy more, to depict the perils of single motherhood, or perhaps to give Chris Messina some time off to do a play or a movie or something? The show loses a lot when Mindy and Danny’s considerable chemistry is reduced to texts and emojis, even smiley-faced sunglasses ones. This means that our supporting cast must rise to the occasion, and as much as I love how Ed Weeks attacks everything the show throws at him, this was probably the first time I looked at Garret Dillahunt’s Jody and realized, “Oh yeah, he is disgusting.” And how did he even invade the NYU campus to have sex with Maddie and her dormmates? Tamra (who always deserves better) and Colette are reduced to a plotline that involves the latter putting a rubber snake on the former’s chair. Pally’s Peter, who as we know can bring so much to this show, merely tries to referee at a dinner, where it’s revealed all-around that he’s a bad friend.


The chemistry between Pally and Kaling was always a series highlight, so again, why have Peter come back just to have Mindy not spend any time with him? Why couldn’t he have stepped up and helped her out in her time of need instead of being another thing in her busy life that she had to juggle? It was a waste of an anticipated guest spot.

So let’s move onto the good: Mindy sinking underwater, overwhelmed by her two jobs and a nanny/grandma who will ditch her baby for a sweatshirt-decorating class. It’s nice to see the unselfish side of Mindy as she puts on a brave front for Danny, even as her first fruit purchase spills all over the subway. In a clever turn, her wardrobe that I admire so much falters, so much so that even Jody calls it out as less than her usual gear, “all bright and colorful like the homosexual flag.”

As we’ve noted before in this space, parenthood can be massively overwhelming, and one of the most valuable things you can do is admit that you need help, as hard as that is for most of us. Mindy and Danny’s relationship (like everyone’s relationship) works best when the two are honest with each other, so the episode ended on an excellent note, when they actually talk on the phone. Life is not a smiley face emoji with sunglasses, and Mindy’s speech to those college students was spot-on and likely a boon for her business. (Also helpful: Morgan saving the day with an onstage flip.)

But I’m still not sure why Mindy would take on Jody as a partner (or an ob-gyn—all that vajazzle talk made me shudder) when his personal life obviously holds such potential for disaster, no matter how proficient a public speaker he is. I don’t know why Tamra and Colette are at odds when they seemed to be pals just a few weeks ago. or why Peter left town in a blaze of glory, in love with Lauren and her baby, and is now reduced to not being able to participate in his fantasy football league in his own home. But the fact that Pally showed up once hopefully means he can show up again, in an episode that makes better use of his chemistry with the rest of the cast.


Stray observations

  • “No, no Leo! The drill is for Mommy!”
  • Peter unsurprisingly smells like Hooters body spray.
  • Like how Mindy quickly slides into Mommy mode with Peter, giving him chocolate milk and coloring.
  • Tamra likes smart comedy that says something about society. Don’t we all?
  • Could part of Mindy’s fertility clinic problem be those extremely posh Manhattan digs she has for a business that’s not even solvent yet?
  • Morgan’s best line-reading: “Is the rapture here? Thank God, because this business is going under.”
  • Tamra’s best line-reading: “You don’t leave a delicate British man alone in Texas!”
  • Jeremy’s best line-reading: “You expecting someone, Roger?”
  • Mindy’s sarcastic whenever she compliments a woman. She should check out this Amy Schumer sketch.
  • Something tells me this AnnMarie business is going to draw Jody and Colette back to Georgia eventually, which may not be a bad thing. At any rate, I’m sure she’ll show up at some point.
  • Mindy’s best outfit: In Mindy’s new dressed-down look, I still would welcome that blue sweater with the yellow stripes on the sleeves or that purple nightgown from the episode’s last scene into my closet.
  • “Ladies, bean your nose.”

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