Season 3, Episode 20
“What to Expect When You’re Expanding”
Posted by Sage
In January, my friend Brittany invited a group of ladies (including me) into a health and fitness support group. Not the kind of support group with burnt coffee and a moderator named Milton who has a pre-teen’s wispy mustache and alimony issues, this one takes place mostly over e-mail and a lifestyle tracking app. It’s a built-in cheering section and resource center for a handful of busy humans who are just trying to handle things. And unlike those humiliating public weigh-ins that serve as a front for pushing so many Weight Watchers branded plastic snacks, this group approach doesn’t feel like our punishment for being born women.
Like Mindy Lahiri, so many of us (women in general) can’t remember a time when we weren’t planning on losing a little weight. We put our lives on pause until we can hit a goal that we never reach. We’ll start running or reconnect with that high school friend or go on a beach vacation or start dating only when we’re perfect, and not a second before. What this does is set us up for a never-ending cycle of disappointment and, at the end of our days, a bucket list with nary a check on it. THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE.
Mindy’s confidence has inspired me from the get-go with TMP; I love how loud and unapologetic it is. Mindy Kaling is fucking gorgeous. Dr. L’s wardrobe is to die for. There’s no reason for her swag not to shine like the damn sun, except for the long-standing television rule that female characters who don’t fit into the size spectrum of a Limited Too store must be ashamed of their bodies and constantly bitching about the “last ten pounds.” A woman who doesn’t hate herself shouldn’t be a sitcom revelation, but she is.
In this episode, Mindy’s self-love is addressed head-on when she pregs right out of her normal person clothes and quite nearly loses it. None of her fabulous frocks fit and she’s already had it with the bullshit maternity compliments. (“If one more person calls me frickin’ radiant, I’m gonna kill someone.”) Worst of all, she’s not in the mood to “take the D-train into Seduction Junction”, aka have sex with her matinee idol of a boyfriend. (Guys, she’s broken.) In fact, Danny’s good looks aren’t doing him any favors at the moment. His George Clooney-style advancing sexiness is reminding Mindy of her Rosemary Clooney-style expansion. And not even “Mambo Italiano,” known sonic aphrodisiac, is of use when Mindy feels so damn unpretty. (“That is a hot song, babe. Want me to put it on?”)
Enter Tamra’s oft-mentioned cousin Sheena, to get both Danny and Mindy’s minds right. I haven’t watched Orange Is The New Black – I haven’t forgiven Jenji Kohan the slow, sad deterioration of Weeds – and so my life has a serious Laverne Cox deficit. Thank you to Mindy K for casting her, and especially for casting her as an actual transperson. (So very believable that Mindy – or anyone – would be too dazzled by her beauty to notice.)
Which brings me back to my little group of motivators. Women crap out at losing weight for a lot of reasons, and none of those have anything to do with willpower or strength of character. It’s because we’re doing it for our husbands or our moms or the judgey ladies at our book group instead of us, or because we’re so very terrible at forgiving our humanity that any one setback can lead to an emotional implosion. We save our most cruel judgements for ourselves. And that’s why we need our Sheenas. With my team of Sheenas on call, hiccups that would have sent me straight down the barrel of a sleeve of Thin Mints were quickly rationalized and forgotten.
The show took this opportunity to shine a light on the bizarre way we rank weight problems among the vast canon of personal issues one can collect. Morgan’s girlfriend Jessica has no problem dumping him for putting on some poundage, irregardless of the fact that she basically lives in squalor and yet Morgan still would like for the two of them to eventually become “two skeletons holding hands in a couples grave.” He’s the disgusting one; he’s the one with an embarrassing lack of self-control. With all the daily humiliations we face without flinching, why are we SO THREATENED by people who are overweight?
Mindy takes up Morgan’s cause in solidarity only to realize that their situations are actually quite different. So, Danny needs some training in how to make his pregnant girlfriend believe that she’s beautiful. (Rule #1: Do not laugh at Slutty Spider-man.) The important thing is that he really does find her beautiful, and Mindy knows it. He just has to learn how to say it, in a way that doesn’t make Mindy feel like a vagina without a face. (Starring Mel Gibson.)
Sheena to the rescue again. She’s multi-talented: she can build you up, tear you down, and make Chris Christie cry. “How dare you laugh at your beautiful, pregnant girlfriend?” she demands, dwarfing him, hilariously. She makes Danny cry too, but also gives him the best advice of his life.
- I would like 800% more of Danny Castellano pressing paninis in a cable knit sweater.
- I know we’ll go to the wedding and that’s great, but DO NOT DO IT, PETER.
- I’m so glad that Rishi is staying and that his entreprenurial spirit told him that it would be appropriate to sell his single, “Hoe, It Ain’t Mine” at the reception desk of a fertility clinic.
- “In a sense, I’ve always been here.” I believe it.
- “Tough luck, King’s Speech.”
- Tamra on men not laughing at women: “I don’t care if he’s at a Monique show. He better politely smile and nod.”
- “I didn’t call you ‘sister,’ I said you look like Sister Joyce from church.”
- “If I didn’t fire you for kissing that baby before it was fully out, I’m not gonna fire you now.”
- Ed Weeks has been slaying lately, and I totally ship Jeremy with Cristin Milioti’s character, who is nothing like a stevedore.
- “Oh, don’t give me the ‘Bye, Felicia.'”
What did you think of “What to Expect…”, readers? Are you okay with Peter’s impending nuptials? Do you agree that Tamra and Morgan are totally getting back together? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll see you back here for the season finale!