Season 3, Episode 12: Stanford
Posted by Sage
Pre-holiday hiatus, Mindy had decided to leave the comfort of her wackadoo practice and Danny’s cozy man-cave to accept a prestigious fellowship at Stanford. This week, she embarks on said fellowship, eagerly asking herself (and by virtue of proximity, Danny) the same question every woman of my generation did when we schlepped our cordless phones and boyfriend pillows into our dorms: “Will it be like Felicity?” (“Who will be my Greg Grunberg?” “Me, you dope. I’m all the guys.”)
In a word, no. Or at least not if Rob Gurglar has anything to say about it. Danny’s old med school buddy is leading the program and he and Mindy don’t exactly hit it off. It’s not her fault that Mindy interpreted an advertised “BASH” as an occasion for a hot pink Herve Leger bandage dress and not as a “Beginning of Academic Scholarship Hang-Out.” Because that phrase is not a thing.
I already hate Rob. I hate him because he caustically calls Mindy “Medically Blonde” like that’s an insult when everybody knows that Elle Woods got into Harvard Law on her own merit AND crushed the patriarchy at every turn AND produced the argument that won her client’s freedom AND was way fucking nicer to everyone than she needed to be to be while doing it. I also hate him because he’s twerpy and he reminds me of Josh. I want to forget that Josh ever existed. Where, oh where is Lee Pace?!
Desperate for a break, Mindy leans on nepotism to get herself back on Gurglar’s good side. She calls Danny back from the airport to double date with old pal Rob and his drunken, hateful wife. (Ana Gasteyer!!) Everything goes swimmingly for everyone: Mindy gets along with Gurglar; Rob the Man gets to hang out with Dan the Man; and Danny gets an under-the-table foot-job, which is a surprise, since Mindy’s one-track-mind is usually steadily focused on the steak in front of her.
Whoops. After Mindy retracts her talons, she has a real attack of self-doubt. She’s not sure that she can do this on her own. It’s college without the fun stuff – the stuff where people actually expected a lot of her. Again, she’s hit with this presumption that she’s a frivolous person because of the way that she looks and acts. But she got into this program on the same merits as everyone else and would do well to remember that. Maybe “Medically Blonde” is an applicable term after all. Elle Woods is a damn role model. Just like Rosie the Riveter and/or Taylor Swift.
Speaking of truth in character, I’m not crazy about Tamra’s reaction to her break-up with Morgan. There has to be a way for the writers to make it clear that Tamra really cares about Morgan without stripping her of her confidence. Where’s the girl who kept Ray Ron on his toes? The one who wooed Mandy Patinkin just by existing near him? That Tamra would never have let Jerrrzica throw her off her game. (Or turn her into Bobby Knight.) Mild character assassination aside, the basketball subplot was a serviceable way to get the rest of the ensemble together in one story. Morgan’s Best Friends gave us Jeremy’s shocking ignorance of American sports (“I’m tired. I’m tired!”), useful coaching techniques (“That was just a VHS copy of Space Jam.”), and – fair enough – a nice moment of connection between Peter and Tamra, both getting over things. They’re going to be fine.
And so are Danny and Mindy. I like that the focus of this episode wasn’t stress over a long-distance period in their relationship, but the other ways in which Mindy is meeting the challenges she’s setting up for herself. Ring or no ring, Mindy wouldn’t have gone (or she would have gone much less quietly) if she didn’t feel like their relationship was secure. For his part, Danny is the ideal boyfriend for back-to-school gal, useful both as a dad-like supplier of money belts and security toys (Brown Bear!), and as a partner for adult, twin-bed fun times. He’s all the guys.
- Addendum: I also hate Rob because of his dumb car.
- “You said dessert was weakness entering the body.”
- “I think some of those are Guardians of the Galaxy.” “AND SOME OF THEM AREN’T.”
- “Yeah, of course. I just burned 100,000 calories crushin’ it.” Thhhheeeere she is.
- “Dr. Gurglar is dead…I don’t know why I said that, I was nervous.”