“The Bitch Is Back” & “Stay At Home MILF”
Posted by Sage
A few years ago, a friend of mine was fretting to me about not being ready to take care of her first child. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “Do you know how many idiots have raised kids and managed not to kill them? Trust me, you’re going to be fine.” Anyway: Mindy and Danny.
Little Leo has joined the family, and neither of his idiot parents are having any trouble bonding with the little guy. In “The Bitch Is Back,” Mindy is relishing the last days of her maternity leave, marathoning Dora (“Thanks for turning me on to this show, Leo.”) and looking beatific while she shames grown men into giving up cabs for her. Leo is set to meet his weird aunts and uncles who, to be clear, should never be left alone with him, during his first visit to Schulman & Associates. Over breakfast, Danny tells Mindy that she may not have to give up her time with the only person in the world she loves more than him (“And I was like ‘Danny? Who dat?'”); she can decide to be a mom full-time, and let Danny be the breadwinner for the both of them. We all saw this coming.
Leo gets a little peckish on their way into the office, so Mindy discreetly starts to breast feed him on the train. A scandalized Southern gentleman played by Raising Hope‘s Garret Dillahunt shames her for it, so unappreciative he is of a mother’s duty to care for her child and how lucky he is to be exposed to his fellow commuter’s “beautiful cans.” His reaction offends Mindy deeply, because she doesn’t fuck with the idea of strange men policing women’s bodies, but also because she’s used to doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Face it, ladies, she’d fight just as hard for her train buddy’s right to clip his toenails on a rush hour trip. This is why we love her.
The new dad may share some of Jody’s stone-age parenting ideals, but lucky for Mindy, “The Today Show and Big Bracelet” have sold Danny on the idea of the “push present.” Beverly and Tamra look on in disgust as he tries and fails to come up with an adequate thank you for what his fiance did to bring his kid into the world. Attempt #1 is a another choreographed dance, hilariously now a hackneyed blow-off gift when it comes from Danny. And attempt #2 is a “luxurious cranberry turtleneck sweater” from a mom gift guide that Mindy mistakes for trash and gives to Morgan. (“If you saw the garment, you’d understand.”) Tamra takes pity on Dr. C mainly to save her the secondhand embarrassment of his terrible ideas; she takes him jewelry shopping and learns the real purpose of the diamond baby ring he’s about to buy for Mindy. He wants her to choose to be a stay-at-home mom, but he’s subtly trying to push her into it so she’ll remember it as her idea. It makes fiscal sense, he argues. And she misses Leo when she’s not with him. Tamra is not buying it. But Danny may be buying her silence.
Mindy confronts the office with this new information; it’s an intervention that leads to her accidentally squirting breast milk into Jody’s face. Before that though, Jody gives an impassioned defense of his self-diagnosed sexism – the patronizing, man-trashing version that’s supposed to make women feel good about being considered other. Men come out worse in Dr. Kimball-Kenny’s scenario, he insists, so Mindy and her sisters should be happy not to be lumped in with them. Mindy knows that it’s condescending bullshit, but everyone else seems to buy it. (Beverly: “Do racism next!”) Jeremy demands she apologize to Jody, but Mindy Lahiri doesn’t take anything she did back except the unintentional super-soaking. She quits the practice, reasoning that she doesn’t fit in there any more. (I.E. She’s no longer the strongest personality in the room. Also Jody is most definitely a dick.)
Danny can’t help himself; he’s so thrilled that Mindy’s decided to be with their son all day, even though Mindy came to that choice under extenuating circumstances. He’s still projecting the pain of his childhood onto her. But Danny does take some of Tamra’s aggressive lecturing to heart. And he takes it quite literally. I die. And yet, I can’t help but feel cheated of the preceding scene. Danny crying about his all-consuming love for his firstborn child while a bored Brooklynite inks him? DVD extras, please.
The secret parenting campaign continues in “Stay At Home MILF,” and even with two episodes devoted to this debate, there’s still a plot hole the size of a house-parent’s to-do list. Mindy’s business venture was a significant plot point last season; it represented a feasible reason for Mindy to stay in New York with other cities offering new professional opportunities. But in these episodes, “going back to work” is all about going back to work at S&A. There’s just one mention of the fertility practice, which is miraculously still afloat after months of being run by zero doctors and one Morgan Tookers. If I were Mindy, I’d take a break from S&A and work solely at my own business where I could set my own hours. Who am I kidding? If I were Mindy, I too would be pantsless and covered in empty potato chip bags, teaching my newborn son how to work an iPhone and designing a poster board of “Baby First Enemies.” (“Louis Tomlinson’s future child” is on there, so low-key confirmed that Mindy is a Larrie, amirite?)
This won’t do for Danny, who has a June Cleaver concept of a stay-at-home-mom that includes regular piano tuning and “maintaining a positive attitude that sets the tone for the rest of the household.” Mindy takes on the challenge, confident that she can succeed in this line of work the same way she succeeded in medicine. (“You’re up early. Is miss piggy co-hosting The Today Show?”) She just has to apply herself. And follow every last bit of smug instruction from the pastel nightmare of a blog, Modern Mominista. (“You can tell it’s a really classy site because all the banner ads are for anti-depressants.”)
“Take pride in your appearance” is step 1, and Mindy’s technicolor family sitcom housewife wardrobe is on point. But as soon as she’s decked out in her Lily-Pulitzer-meets-Lucille-Ball house dress, her fascist virtual jailer demands she get on her hands and knees and “scrub the floor with all organic products.” The lifestyle this blog is selling is at minimum 50% about moms maintaining an illusion of perfection for the benefit of their family. It’s a prestige mommy no-no to let the cracks show. That’s not Mindy’s jam. When Danny brings home take-out and rejects her (to be fair) 5th consecutive dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup, she snaps. (“Your job is fun.” “If you think this is so easy, Danny, why don’t you try it?”) Yay. I love a good trading places second act.
Both of these women need to tell their men the truth, even if those men aren’t ready to hear it. Because it’s not their job to protect them. When Collette comes out, she comes out hard – over Jeremy’s intercom. (“I’m a lesbian. Over and out.”) Jody is used to his own version of reality being catered to, and that needs to change. (“Really? every halloween I went as John Elway.”) He insists that any reluctancy he has to accepting this fact has nothing to do with homophobia and everything to do with the dream of a future family life that he’s been carrying around since he and Collette were kids. (Uhhh, same thing? Possibly same thing.) He won’t have a brother-in-law to drink on the porch with as they both grow old and grey. He’s been looking forward to having that person in his life. (MAYBE THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU, JODY.) But Collette adores her old-fashioned brother, and assures him that she is that person, already. She’s enough, and now that she’s not hiding this massive part of herself from him, Jody and Collette can really be as close as Jody always thought they were.
After losing both of his freshly baked pies and several clean shirts to parenting mishaps, Danny should be primed to hear some truths too. Instead, he carries on the charade of glossy, error-free child-rearing that he kicked off that morning. (With some help. Annette does a mean hospital corner.) Mindy comes home fresh from a day back in her element, where she was good enough to impress her new work nemesis, Jody. Even her “Monster Mash” hysterectomy playlist couldn’t dissuade him from giving her a slug of his post-surgery craft whiskey. Mindy doesn’t know what she’s doing as a mom, but she’s going to feel it out. And fuck it up sometimes. She does know what she’s doing at work, and losing the part of her life where she feels most confident and in control isn’t going to be good for her or her family. Danny gets caught out in the lie when Mindy finds an overkill towel swan (“You said origami is disrespectful to Pearl Harbor vets.”) and can at last admit that he’s never done anything as hard as this. (“By the way, we’re switching to those diapers that are bad for the environment.”)
Random Thoughts & B-Stories:
- “Your maternity leave has been hell for me.” “As it should be.”
- “For your information, Jewish is fine.”
- Jeremy’s Mr. Belding intercom can stay.
- Mindy: *makes Tennessee Williams reference* “Whoa, am I smart?”
- “This coming out is becoming less touching.”
Do you think Danny’s dad is going to survive this, fam? How are you feeling about the Kimball-Kinney’s so far? Who’s your celeb baby nemesis? Let me know in the comments.