The Mindy Project Season 4 Episode 5: Stay-At-Home MILF

Photo: John P. Fleenor/Hulu.
Last week, the blogosphere blew up over an essay published on BuzzFeed Ideas. In it, author Katherine Myers writes about the difficulty of "coming out as Christian among America's godless, coastal elite" (that was also the original headline of the piece before too many commenters protested and BuzzFeed changed it to the current title, "Dating While Christian"). Myers compares having to tell her liberal, usually atheist or agnostic friends that she's a church-attending Christian with the process of coming out as gay. Many readers took umbrage with this comparison, arguing that religion is a choice, while sexual orientation is not.

The reason I bring this essay up in a recap of The Mindy Project is because episode 5, "Stay at Home MILF," contains a similar situation. Mindy (Mindy Kaling) is struggling with being a stay-at-home mom. She finds it monotonous and not what she thinks she's best at (being a doctor). Mindy desperately wants to tell Danny (Chris Messina) that she should go back to work. They'll work out the details of who should stay home with Leo at a later date, I guess.

Anyway, Mindy is afraid to "come out" about wanting to go back to work to Danny, a man she loves. Over in the B-story, Collette (Fortune Feimster) is also struggling to come out to a man she loves, but in the more classic sense of coming out. She's hidden her sexuality from her brother Jody (Garret Dillahunt) for years because she thinks he won't be able to handle the fact that his baby sister is gay. Mindy is quick to compare her situation to Collette's when she's advising Collette to come out to her brother. It's a lightbulb moment for Mindy. She needs to come out, too, she realizes.

Yes, this is a sitcom, but if Katherine Myers got that much commenter scorn for writing about what she feels is her personal experience in an essay on BuzzFeed, maybe The Mindy Project shouldn't be so quick to compare Collete's fear of coming out as gay to Mindy's fear of coming out about wanting to go back to work. It's really trivializing the years of self-doubt and anxiety someone in Collette's position has lived through in order to keep her beloved sibling, who she didn't think would be able to handle the truth about her sexuality, due to his old-fashioned beliefs, in the dark.

Additionally, this is yet another episode where The Mindy Project has essentially turned into a mom blog, and it even addressed this fact by having Mindy try to follow the directions for being a perfect stay-at-home MILF (her preferred term for stay-at-home mom) that she found on a fictional blog. The episode doesn't even resolve the issue of her "coming out" about wanting to go back to work to Danny. Instead, his dad conveniently has a heart attack (there's something I never thought I'd say), and he goes to California to tend to him, meaning Mindy will continue to go into work for at least the immediate future.

This whole "Is she going back to work or isn't she?" storyline isn't that interesting, so I hope it gets resolved soon. Especially because in the case of Mindy Lahiri, "I don't know how she does it" equates to "She and her fiancé have the same job and work at the same office, so they can basically switch off going into work whenever they want." Or if they both want to work, they should just get a nanny and call it a day. I'm pretty sure two New York City OB/GYNs can afford it. Why are we having this plotline conversation? The Mindy Project can turn the whole nanny interview process into an episode, like Friends did (remember Freddie Prinze, Jr., as Sandy, the dreamy male nanny?). There, free episode idea.

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