Season 3, Episode 7: We Need to Talk about Annette
Season 3, Episode 8: Diary of a Mad Indian Woman
Posted by Sage
Welcome to a very special two-for-one The Mindy Project recap! Let’s pretend that this was the plan the whole time and that I wasn’t forced into this by my own over-scheduling. It’s not the end of the world; “We Need to Talk about Annette” and “Diary of a Mad Indian Woman” make a nice little set of TMP episodes, being as they are about Danny and Mindy’s ongoing efforts to fit the puzzle pieces of their lives together.
The former dealt with the places where Mindy and Danny’s codes of ethics just don’t add up. Mindy has the same outlook towards little white crimes as I do (“It’s not against the law if everybody does it.”), while Danny is – to no one’s surprise – more rigid. (“We go dancing, I make sure the club has a valid cabaret license.”) They have to reconcile these two views when Mindy takes Annette shopping and Danny’s Maverick dream of a bomber jacket walks out the door with them.
Special shout-out to Annette and Dot, the Golden Girls of Staten. I hate that we’re neglecting Mindy’s coworkers this season, but I can’t hold that against these ladies. I wish I were 35 years older, so I could tag along with them to Synchronized Seniors Aqua Disco and Passion of the Christ movie nights. (“This is my favorite part – Judas is getting his coins.”) It also makes sense to have Annette be witness to, if not always the source, of Danny and Mindy’s conflicts.
Mindy has no issue with “victimless” crimes like movie torrents and anime pornography. Her honor code comes into play when Danny might get hurt. He’s delighted that his “two best girls” are getting along, then Mindy is forced to decide whether or not to tell Danny that the new crown jewel of his wardrobe is hot. “Hot” like stolen, I mean. But also “hot” like let’s lock the door and put on “Take My Breath Away” and see what happens.
The Annette/Danny/Mindy dynamic doesn’t feel old yet, because the alliances shift. Sometimes, Annette is solidly on Mindy’s side. (“I used to listen in on his confessions – so boring…I’m glad he’s with someone who pushes his buttons.”) But she also counts on the endlessly forgiving, look-the-other-way nature of her “little Blue Angel.” The struggle of dating a mama’s boy is real. After Mindy uncomfortably broaches the shoplifting topic with Danny (“I just wanna say that your mom’s keepin’ her body real tight.”), he invites her to a Catholic shame dinner, to reap the guilt that her inaccurate though not entirely baseless accusation over Tamra’s missing charm bracelet deserves. (“Mindy doesn’t understand social mores – she’s from Boston.”)
She brought up the thing even though Jeremy warned her not to bring up the thing. (Jeremy, from the motherland of not mentioning the thing until everyone who knows about the thing is dead.) But even Danny can’t hold up his mother’s side of the story when the blue security tag on his bomber jacket blows. Bolstered by old-world righteousness, he marches his girls back to the store. But first, he apologizes to Mindy for doubting her. He should know that she’d never make up a story like that without cause, because it certainly didn’t earn her any points with either Castellano. Despite being somewhat abused the whole episode, Mindy saves the day at the store. When it’s clear that the management is taking the theft a little more serious than they expected, Mindy challenges Danny and the “do the crime, do the time” philosophy he internalized early through mass and Dragnet reruns. Annette is family. The rules don’t apply to her, or to Danny and Mindy’s drunk trust fund kid, who’ll need occasional rescuing from the White Party.
“This will not be one of those situations where I learn more from you,” Meatball tells her interns. She’s seen every inspiring classroom movie there is and that’s not what’s happening here. Instead, Mindy starts a rivalry between grade A suck-up T.J. and meek Candace. Convinced that he’s being ignored because of his gender, T.J. lodges a sexism complaint about Mindy. (“Is it possible he said ‘sexy’?”) As it turns out, Mindy did accidentally teach a lesson to herself and her wee students. She sees herself in T.J., not in Candace, which is why she made an effort to train him into taking a step back sometimes. Whatever her faults, the show never wants us to think of Mindy as anything other than a good doctor. And good doctors know know how to temper their own egos and get along with their peers. Even Jean, once voted the nicest lesbian of her former hospital, is impressed. Though she does what she can to temper Mindy’s self-satisfaction. (“Too late. I’ll never remember the wrong things and I’ll always remember the right things.”)
The Mindy Project likes to mess with us a little bit, knowing how hard we root for Dandy but also that we wouldn’t be this invested if the show were a straight up rom com with no bite. Danny gets down on one knee not to pop the question but to shame Mindy for voting De Blasio. (As if she actually voted, Dr. C.) And all of her anxieties about the uneven distribution of their relationship trickle down into that one symbol of heavy commitment. I don’t want a Dandy proposal next week or during February sweeps or even at the end of this season. I’m happy where we’re at, and I think Mindy could be too. This is why we’d all go crazy if we were privy to the most private thoughts of people we love and/or sleep with. (“Everyone knows diaries are just full of crap.”) Who knows if Mindy is still as serious about her time limit as she seemed in that entry? Her insecurities about Danny wanting into her life as much as she wants into his were running rampant that day. And good for her for telling him what she needed. A lonely three seconds outside her apartment door were enough for Danny to get over his own fear. I don’t expect a ring any time soon (pleaaase no ring anytime soon), but I do expect to see Danny more all in from this point on…and keeping a safe distance from the goody drawer.
Random Thoughts and B-Stories
- Peter’s Mindy-like rave outfit just backs up my reading of him as Mindy’s male parallel.
- “Oh, I don’t need any. I’m always wet.” – Morgan on getting Danny’s hand-me-down moisturizers.
- “Requesting permission to fly by your office, Mindy.”
- “It’s like Twilight, but here’s the twist: I’m the girl.”
- “That’s fierce as hell, no shade. I could be paraphrasing.”
- “Yeah, you’re dancing like an undercover cop.”
- “Sorry, LABOR.”
- “Here he is, man of the hour.” I need to talk about the thing Peter’s face does when he brings life into the world.
- “Danny, she gone. And I think Ben Affleck did it.”
- “It’s like yin and yang. Hey. I’m the white half.”
- “You’re like, in my ear. You’re inside of my ear.”
- “When i got my calligrapher’s license, I swore I would only use it for good…It’ll be the Falklands all over again.” Jeremy was on fire in “Diary.” Maybe some day he’ll get a storyline of his very own.
- “The list where she ranks the races? I know. Chilling.”
- “Most real lesbians are in their ’40s, right? Something I’ve noticed.” “Settle.”
I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Adam Pally is leaving the show early next year to develop some of his projects. You know that we’re huge Peter and Pally fans over here, and we’re wishing him nothing but the best in whatever comes next. (Pssst…Adam: Snowpants series with Ben and Gil?) Expect a post In Appreciation of Peter Prentice – Mindy’s bro-bestie – before his final episode.