“Mindy Lahiri Is A White Man” And She LOVES It (Kind Of) On This Week’s The Mindy Project

Credit: Hulu

We have double trouble this week for you here at 4YE.

Since we last saw you, we’ve gotten two new episodes of The Mindy Project. They are…everything you would expect from this show. Let’s do this.

Dibs

Last week’s episode was one silly thing after another for this bunch of weirdos, especially when it comes to love.

Jeremy and Jody are in full playboy mode. Subsequently, they are in competition for newly-single Anna’s attention. Even though Jeremy turned Anna away when she kissed him in a previous episode. The men put a lot of effort into wooing Anna. When Jody calls ‘dibs,’ though, all bets are off.

Since Anna and Jody have plans for dinner ‘tomorrow,’ Jeremy decides to casually drop by Mindy’s apartment, where Anna is staying. Jeremy makes himself at home bugging Anna while she is busy. He even sends a picture off to Jody, goading him. After some one-word answers from Anna, Jeremy steps up his game and shows her the gift he brought: a puzzle. Anna can’t make it any clearer with her body language how uninterested she is in Jeremy at the moment, but he keeps talking, so she snaps at him to shut up. It turns out that paperwork she is poring over is actually divorce papers.

Jeremy plays the good guy for a hot second and actually offers to help her. It is game on for Jody. He has Anna paged to the hospital for an emergency delivery. When she arrives, however, he is waiting in the operating room with a romantic picnic. Aside from how disgusting it is, it’s a pretty skeezy move, and we think/really hope Jody is better than this.

Anna, the intelligent and independent woman she is, is all business until Jody admits he lied to get here there. Then she just gets pissed and walks out on him. Who jokes about an emergency delivery?!

While this pseudo love triangle is happening, Colette and Morgan are having their own issues. Colette and her girlfriend, Karen, are in the blissful honeymoon stage of their very new relationship. The lovebirds are wreaking havoc on Morgan’s barely-there love life. Karen has moved into Colette and Morgan’s very small, shared apartment and they are literally living on top of each other (bunk beds and Karen turned Morgan’s closet into an ‘recording studio’).

To accommodate Colette and Karen’s three-week anniversary, Morgan reschedules his date. When his date is interrupted by Karen emerging from his closet, Morgan loses it. It seems like something, or rather someone, is finally threatening to come between the infamous besties. The two even duke it out in a wrestling match.

At the end of the day, though, all’s well that ends well. Anna has blown off both persistent doctors in an effort to work through her divorce. Karen apologizes to Morgan and attempts to patch up the friendship she disturbed.

Mindy Lahiri is a White Man

In the words of Mindy Kaling, the show “got woke as hell and hella handsome.” This week’s episode of The Mindy Project wasn’t afraid to get a little political while injecting some humor. Mindy finally got to experience white privilege and male privilege, and she freaking loved it.

Mindy Lahiri has a job interview. It’s not just any job interview: she is in the running to head the obstetrics department at St. Brendan’s Hospital. When the only other female interviewing is also an Asian woman. When the woman, Dr. Irene Lee, tries to befriend her, Mindy worries they’ll be viewed as an Asian clique and waves her off.

Her interview is a little chillier than the waiting room, though. The panel of six white males (surprise, surprise) ask very little about Mindy’s credentials. Instead, they focus more on the details of her being a woman, especially her being a single mother. Mindy pushes through, highlighting her education, qualifications, and plans for the department. Despite how annoying she is, she’s a damn good doctor.

Later that night, Mindy receives a call from Jody (not a butt dial, even though that was her first thought) telling her he got a second interview. He definitely called to gloat. Upon checking her email, Mindy found that she was not chosen for the second round. Frustrated, Mindy went to sleep cursing Jody and the panel of men who couldn’t see past her anatomy to give her a fair shot.

The next morning, she wakes up to her very own Freaky Friday situation and finds she has become Michael Lancaster. When she gets to work, Mindy immediately notices a difference in the way she is treated as a white man rather than an Indian woman. The group actually treats her with respect and laughs at her jokes. While skeptical, Mindy decides to ride this wave for all it’s worth.

Throughout the day, there is a significant change in behavior from Mindy’s coworkers and patients. Then, it is finally time for the interview. Of course, Michael got a second interview. In with the same panel as yesterday, Michael doesn’t even have to give his credentials. In fact, they don’t even ask him any questions; it is the epitome of a stereotypical “boys’ club.” When Michael asks why they aren’t actually interviewing him, they respond they can tell he’s “a good leader just by looking at you.” They proceed to BS the rest of the interview, and Mindy is satisfied, telling them, “It has been an honor and a privilege. A real male privilege.”

Mindy/Michael waltzes through the rest of her day on cloud nine, loving all the things she can do as a white male. Her favorites include: eating an entire rack of ribs without judgment, hailing a cab on the first try, and hooking up with attractive women.

Conscience comes into play the next morning when Mindy/Michael oversleeps and misses her delivery. Dr. Irene Lee fills in, and Mindy sees Lee do the procedure in half the time it would’ve taken her. The guilt starts seeping in and Mindy wonders why the hell Michael got a second interview and Dr. Lee didn’t.

Mindy/Michael and Tamra make it their mission to makeover Irene and get her that second interview. The transformation isn’t just physical. Sure, they upgrade her wardrobe a little. The mission is mostly to get Irene the confidence she needs and deserves to have as a leader in her field. The mission is a success and Irene gets the interview, but she comes out disappointed. She said that, like most interviews, she felt she only got it to avoid a lawsuit.

Mindy/Michael has had enough and storms into the committee’s meeting and demands more out of them and more out of the hospital. Even though the previous department head was a black woman, every one before her was a white, middle-aged man. When Michael withdraws himself from the candidate pool, they decide to give it to (you guessed it) a white, middle-aged man who may or may not have murdered his wife.

Mindy’s few days as Michael have really given her some perspective on the world, and on privilege. Even in those couple of days as a white male, she realized how easy it was to be able to help others and just not do it – not intentionally, but without realizing it “because you think life is just as easy for everyone else.” She also realized that she missed being herself, and missed being unique.

When Mindy finally returns to, well, Mindy, she seems to be much more aware of her surroundings, and hopefully she will be more mindful of the things she says and does. Her first order of business when she reaches the hospital is making a new friend, Dr. Irene Lee. And so ends the story of Mindy Lahiri as a white man.

 

I’ll be honest, I thought this episode was going to be stupid when Mindy first became Michael, but it turned out to be very well made. The writing was poignant and funny, and the actor playing Michael (Ryan Hansen) did a great job capturing Mindy’s mannerisms and personality.

Without getting too political on you all (since this is an entertainment website), this episode showcased exactly what white and male privilege look like in a normal-ish, everyday setting. Situations like the one in the episode happen all the time unfortunately, and the first step in helping to change and eliminate these behaviors is recognizing them. The Mindy Project did a fantastic job of addressing a major problem and social issue, and more importantly, having its characters do something about it while maintaining the quirky feel of the show. For that, I applaud the cast and crew.

Abby Bertrand

Abby Bertrand

Abby is new with 4YE, but super excited to be here. She is a compulsive buyer of books and movies, and doesn't care if she owns seven copies of the same book, which she definitely does. She loves her dog, pop culture, musical theater, and the White Sox.
Abby Bertrand
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