Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

“Mindy And Nanny” highlights The Mindy Project’s considerable strengths

Illustration for article titled “Mindy And Nanny” highlights The Mindy Project’s considerable strengths

Well, this is more like it: If anything, last week’s near-Mindy-less “Road Trip” did nothing but make us appreciate Mindy all the more. This week there’s virtually no Danny and very little Morgan, and the show suffers not at all without them, as Mindy comes raging back in full force.

Rhea Perlman certainly helps this effort. As we’ve mentioned, Mindy does well with a foil, and she and her future mother-in-law have done almost nothing but battle since meeting for the first time. But it never gets old, not when Annette attacks Mindy with a vacuum cleaner and taste-tastes her breast milk.

For Mindy and Annette, there was actually a brief, fleeting moment where I didn’t think Annette was going to go after Mindy with enough force to take down a Staten Island bungalow. We know the fierce, vindictive side of Annette Castellano, but baby Leo also brings out her amazing side, a tireless loyalty to family that not only includes her adorable grandson, but his impossible mother in the bargain. This combo makes Mindy-and-Annette banter one of the show’s many highlights, especially when compared to Mindy’s perfect nanny going off the rails (“We could never be friends. You’re an old lady, like Britney Spears.”)

Mindy’s staff often gets the shaft on the B-plot, but here everyone stepped up throughout the episode, from Jeremy’s fleeting advice as he left the gauze meeting (“Don’t forget to talk about the gauze!”) to Jody using baby Leo as a human shield to prevent the fight. I know Jody’s been called out as a bad character basically for personifying sexism (even Mindy calls him a sexist this episode), but Garret Dillahunt, for me, is killing it and again, brings so much to his interplays with Mindy. Like the fact that it takes too long for him to explain anything (“No matter is so urgent there isn’t time for a little civility”). Or even the way she is flummoxed because he insists on letting her walk through a doorway first, for a twisted take on the Southern gentleman trope (you sure don’t hear the name Jefferson Davis very often). We can hardly blame Cristin Milioti for jumping on him, likely marking her end on this series, which is too bad. She completely sells this line: “I only do coke to enjoy myself after work, and work.”

Whoever’s taking care of Leo, whoever Jeremy is dating, as long as the plotlines stay within the realm of reasonable reality, it doesn’t much matter. Because what we’re really here for, in utilitarian episodes like this one, is the stream of never-ending wisecracks (see the below list for too many examples). Would Mindy’s co-workers likely understand if she brought Leo into the office for the afternoon due to the loss of her nanny? Of course. But then we wouldn’t get Leo’s performance as a fax machine, and a line like, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of your baby in a box on the floor.” I laughed out loud several times this episode just at sight gags, like Jeremy hurling a massive gauze handbook at Colette, or Beverly’s obvious boredom at the staff meeting. We’ve had a few slight speed bumps on this new Hulu speedway, but I maintain that season four is The Mindy Project at the top of its game.

Stray observations

  • I will try to not makes this bullet section just a list of hilarious lines, but there were so many great ones this episode! Written and directed by Lang Fisher, who also penned a few of my other favorites, like “Diary Of A Mad Indian Woman” and “Wedding Crushers.”
  • Annette’s low-rent attorney from Cannoli State has to serve his papers himself.
  • Even a little Tamra is better than no Tamra: “Excuse me, we were talking about something. Cast shakeups at The View! I had no opinion.” and “Don’t mind me, whistle whistle whistle.”
  • Anti-vaxxers = the worst. But Maya Kazan pulled off a head-spinning turnaround from idyllic nanny to screeching lunatic.
  • I kind of want to hear more of Jeremy’s song.
  • I always give props to the costume designer on this show, so this week, let’s hear it for the set designer: Check out the way Jody’s office is set up in stark contrast to Mindy’s, all dark wood and massive bric-a-brac and cart bar. Or Annette’s sneaky interior design stylings to Mindy and Danny’s apartment, with hanging proscuitto and pictures of Franks Sinatra and the Pope.
  • Episode MVP: Leo as the cutest, bravest human shield ever.
  • “I hit a bicyclist with a car once, does that make me a murderer? I have no idea, I drove off.”
  • How did Morgan get back to New York without Danny? I suspect Dr. C just stuck him on a plane to get rid of him. But I think Morgan in limited doses is the best Morgan: The cut to his Mrs. Doubtfire outfit legitimately cracked me up. Followed by, “Good luck with your transition!”
  • “Can you not look at my vagina?”
  • Mindy’s lunch order: Three orders of panang curry, triple cream, no veg.
  • Mindy’s best outfit: That colorful dress and coat combo she opened the episode with (above) was so stunning, I immediately tried to find it online. Some commenters wondered last week why this is the only show where I talk about the fashion so much, and it’s because I haven’t coveted a fictional character’s wardrobe like this since Lorelai Gilmore’s. (Olivia Pope’s elegant but stark black-and-white ensembles would never work for me.) Mindy even has her own style Twitter feed, run by a devoted fan, that I use to figure out where all this lovely fashion is coming from. Some of it is created just for her by stylist Sal Perez, who recently announced his launch of a line of Mindy-inspired coats. So I’m just a little obsessed.