Annette Meets The Parents In This Week’s The Mindy Project

Credit: Hulu
Credit: Hulu

In the spirit of celebration (Thanksgiving for those of us in the United States), we have an engagement party in this week’s episode of Mindy. We also have some pretty great guest stars this week, including Rhea Perlman as Annette, and Utkarsh Abudkar, Ajay Mehta, and Sakina Jaffrey as Mindy’s brother and parents. The love and family interactions in this episode will have you feeling all warm and fuzzy in no time.

If you’ve read any of my recent recaps of the show, you’ll know I have mixed feelings toward this season. That feeling has not necessarily changed, but I think I sense a change in the right direction for the show and for Mindy Lahiri. The episode felt a little like a rollercoaster, but as a longtime fan of the show, I feel cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season—if it’s going where I think it’s going. Is that vague enough for you? Let me explain…

Mindy and Danny belatedly celebrate their engagement now that Danny has decided it is okay to set a date for their wedding. There are so many things wrong with that sentence; I don’t know where to begin. However, the in-laws are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to plan a wedding. Annette and her BFF, Dot, take Mindy dress shopping and design invitations for the pairl; it is almost as if Annette likes Mindy.

In no time flat, Mindy’s parents fly into New York to surprise her and Danny with a beautiful engagement party. Mindy’s mother, Sonu, is overjoyed with the prospect of planning her daughter’s wedding, and it seems that Mindy is on board with the whole thing. While she wants to include both her mother and Annette, Danny is hesitant to invite his mother along, claiming that she would be too jealous of the Lahiris.

A miscommunication leads to a surprise visit from “Ma,” bringing her face to face with Mindy’s parents. Danny’s face screams disaster, but it is a mostly pleasant interaction until she finds out her son has been lying to her. The group manages to smooth things over, and the parents are more than happy to celebrate their children’s engagement to each other.

By the time the party rolls around, everyone seems to be OK—except for Dr. Jody, who wants to hold Mindy to a commitment she made to give a “Later, Baby!” presentation with him in Georgia. There’s just one problem: Danny doesn’t really know that Mindy has returned to work full time. Oh, and also that she opened another new business, taking on a third job.

Just as Dr. Jody is trying to talk Mindy into going on the business trip, even going so far as to choose her clothes for her, Annette blows a gasket when Sonu and Tarun announce that they are going to pay for Mindy and Danny’s entire wedding. In Boston. For Annette, who has never been financially stable and is a true New Yorker, the news is just too much. A blowup ensues when both mothers find that Mindy has been trying to please them both in different ways throughout the wedding planning process. Whoops.

Danny interrupts Mindy and Dr. Jody’s confrontation and demands to know what the hell is going on. When Dr. Jody forces Mindy into admitting the truth about their business, Danny doesn’t take it well. She is supposed to be a stay at home mom; that’s what they’d agreed on, right? Well, no, not really. That’s what Danny agreed on, without really hearing Mindy out on her thoughts and feelings.

Mindy finally stands up for herself, and tells Danny that she isn’t sure what she wants, but she loves the work she is doing through her fertility clinic and Later, Baby. She can still be a wonderful mother and wife while working her buns off to help others. Through a lot of back-and-forth, Mindy realizes what a bully Danny is being and calls him out on his behavior, which he vehemently denies. Mindy won’t back down, though, nor should she.

The next morning, Annette convinces Mindy that she needs to go on her business trip. In Annette’s words, Mindy is doing everything so many women never could. “I had to work crappy jobs to support my family. But you’re working to make your dreams come true. And it sucks for me; for you, I couldn’t be happier.”

The advice is enough for Mindy to get on a plane to Georgia. Danny, on the other hand, receives a warning from Tarun that if he forces Mindy into giving up her career, she will resent him for the next thirty years. In turn, Danny also hops a plane to Georgia, offering Mindy an apology.

After watching Dr. Jody and Mindy’s presentation, Danny has a little change of heart. And, I mean little. He congratulates Mindy; giving his approval that she can do both, she should be very proud of herself, and Later, Baby will make a wonderful hobby for her while she is a stay at home mom.

Um, I’m sorry. What? Danny pushes all of his plans on Mindy, informing her that they will also have another child soon, which is why he wants to set a wedding date. He goes on and on and on, and all the while, the light in Mindy’s eyes fades to something resembling melancholy. Of course, Mr. Oblivious keeps going with the idea, taking Mindy’s silence for approval.

Danny’s behavior as of late has, quite frankly, pissed me off. I haven’t really liked Mindy and him as a couple, and I can see the reason so clearly now. As problematic as the Mindy/Danny relationship is, it seems that Mindy is finally rediscovering her voice and independence. The scene in the bedroom where she yells at him for being a bully made my heart hurt for poor Mindy. Why can’t a girl have two dreams, Danny?

Abby Bertrand