Tuesday, October 6, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Mindy Project' - Mindy Returns to a Changed Work Environment in 'The Bitch Is Back'

Hulu's The Mindy Project - Episode 4.04 "The Bitch Is Back"

Mindy brings her baby to work only to discover that her newest co-worker (Garret Dillahunt) is not very baby or Mindy friendly.

The Mindy Project has been fantastic this season in showcasing the struggles of parenthood with Mindy and Danny. Leo continues to be a near perfect child. He only really acts up in one scene - but that scene is crucial to the overall story of "The Bitch Is Back." Mindy and Danny are faced with some major parenting decisions. Mindy has always been very work-oriented. She has two full time jobs waiting for her to come back. Sure, the fertility clinic hasn't taken up too much of her time. She rarely ever is shown working there. But she does have a life waiting for her to come back to if she wants. It's a very delicate subject. She used to openly mock stay-at-home moms. But now that she has experienced life with Leo for a little bit, it's a much more agonizing decision for her.

Mindy's life has changed since she gave birth. She points out that it has gotten much better. She never thought she could love anyone more than she loves Danny. Leo proved her otherwise. She enjoys spending all of her time with him. He gets her special treatment out in public and she is easily entertained by the same things that can keep him focused. She has fallen into a routine and it's one she likes a lot. The world now sees her as a mom - not as a successful and sometimes overbearing OB/GYN. That effects her as well. She has always been quick to defend herself and her actions. And now, she has to take a stand when it comes to her parenting decisions as well.

Mindy breastfeeds Leo on the subway while going to the office. It's the subway in New York City. Plenty of people do crazy things there all the time. She figures it wouldn't be too surprising for anyone to see her feed her child like that. And yet, she is quickly criticized by a man for being indecent and not empowering to the female race. He disrespects and offends her in a way that she can't believe. She wasn't harming anyone. And yet, he got the crowd on the train to cheer when she decided to put her breast away and get off at her stop. That's the kind of person this new guy is. This isn't the last time Mindy will see him though because he is Jody, part of a brother-sister team Jeremy has hired for the office.

Mindy wants things to be just like they used to be at work upon her return. Leo has dominated her maternity leave. She's looking forward to embracing work again. Everyone at the office is used to her. They've sarcastically missed the sound of her complaining and plotting about everything. And yet, the office dynamic has changed too. The audience experiences these new characters for the first time just like Mindy. But the office has already gotten to know them. Jody and Colette aren't the type of people Mindy just experienced on the subway. They've been able to win over the office with their Southern charms and values. Mindy loves being the center of attention. And yet, the office has been allowed to fall into new rhythms with her gone. It's startling to her at first. She needs to plot to expose Jody as a bad doctor in order to take back control of the workplace.

All of this does lead to a very amusing moment where Mindy does her best to call out Jody on his sexist qualities. Instead he is able to turn the conversation around to men being the worst and women being saints. He is able to flip the script on Mindy and win over the room. It's infuriating but very funny for the audience. It all leads up to the moment where Mindy shows her "class" by flashing her breast and accidentally squirting milk in Jody's face. That's a joke that never could have happened on the FOX version of the show. And yet here, it's not only capable of happening, it's also uproariously funny. It's a fantastic and ridiculous moment that shows just how crazy Mindy can be about all of this. She has to take a step back and reevaluate her priorities. She doesn't know if she can work and be a mom if this is the type of environment she is coming back to.

However, Mindy shouldn't make this crucial decision based solely on the fact that she just doesn't like Jody. Colette is actually really cool and Mindy makes friends with her very quickly and easily. In fact, Mindy reads too much into the situation and thinks Colette is hitting on her. She's not. But that doesn't create any awkward tension. Colette is able to help her think through this crucial decision. Danny would love it if Mindy stayed at home and took care of Leo. That was something he didn't have in his childhood and he desperately wants it for Leo. Danny's feelings are important. But he also jumps to conclusions based on the big outburst Mindy has at the office. Hours later, she has some doubts. She's uncertain about what she should do. That uncertainty creates a crucial decision for her. One that should be worth exploring in next week's episode.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Bitch Is Back" was written by Tracey Wigfield and directed by Michael Weaver.
  • Garret Dillahunt and Fortune Feimster were a lot of fun as Jody and Colette. I hope they stay for a long time this season. Dillahunt was funnier but Feimster fit into the world just slightly better.
  • Morgan has pretty much been running Mindy's fertility clinic by himself while she's been on maternity leave. If she leaves that job, she's going to need to find someone much more accomplished and capable of running the place. He just made a mess for her.
  • Danny's search for the perfect push present was humorous. This season may actually be giving Tamra meaningful things to do. She actually really helps him when it comes to figuring out what to get Mindy. Sure, a tattoo doesn't immediately feel like the best gift. But the emotions of that moment are sweet nevertheless.
  • It seems a little too obvious that Mindy will eventually go back to work. Otherwise how else is she going to interact with all of those characters who only really appear in those scenes?
  • Danny: "It will be good for Leo's immune system to be around Morgan."
  • Mindy: "I have never been so offended in my entire life." Jeremy: "Oh how I've missed that sound."
  • Morgan: "But you're all about work. That's why you don't give me holidays off."
  • Danny: "Can't you plot to yourself? We're still not married and I'd have to testify against you."