The Mindy Project Season 4 Episode 8: Everyone's Just Pretending

Photo: Evans Vestal Ward/Hulu.
If this week's episode of The Mindy Project were an episode of Sesame Street, it would have had a very clear theme: pretending. Not the fun, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe type of pretending — this week's Mindy Project is about the covering up and faking it we all do sometimes to get through the day, hiding our true feelings and problems, pretending that everything is all right. Nearly everyone on the show has been doing this, from Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Jody (Garret Dillahunt) to Jeremy (Ed Weeks) and Peter (nice to see you, Adam Pally).

Over in the A-story, Mindy is just barely holding it together as a single mother. Danny (Chris Messina) is still in California taking care of his father, who is experiencing setback after setback. Mindy feels bad complaining about anything that happens with Leo, which seems to pale in comparison. Still, she's having a lot of trouble taking care of the baby and herself (she has yet to get her episiotomy stitches removed), going to work, and dealing with her fertility practice — which, it turns out, does not run itself and is rapidly losing money. When Peter shows up on her doorstep for a visit (which, in Peter's mind, means binge drinking like a bunch of dudes in a Seth Rogen movie), Mindy simply has to pass him off to Jeremy.

Back to that failing fertility practice, though, which I've actually been wondering about. We've gone a few episodes without a mention of it, so I figured Mindy had actually put her fertility practice on the back burner while Danny was taking care of his father. Nope, it's been a thing this whole time, only Mindy and Morgan (her business partner with zero equity) haven't devoted any time or effort to keeping the practice solvent.

Jody goes all Shark Tank on Mindy, though, and suggests an untapped market of potential egg freezers: college students. Just like on Shark Tank, however, he'd like his ideas to come with an equity stake in the business. Mindy thinks this plan is genius: Why not tap into college students' fears that their fertility is declining and they'll never meet someone who wants to procreate with them by the time they're 25? Of course, she'll never tell Jody this; she'll just steal his idea.

Mindy schedules a presentation at NYU, and Jody finds out about it. This turns out to be a good thing because Mindy oversleeps on the day of the big event, and Jody has to give the presentation for her. He's a much better speaker, but he hasn't actually told Mindy about how he came up with the idea of pitching egg freezing to college students in the first place: He's been sleeping with many of the residents in an NYU dorm. Why is he doing this? Jody is deeply in love with his sister-in-law. He's having meaningless sex with coeds to mask his pain.

The women of NYU are deeply upset that they've all been sleeping with the same older man, and it's up to Mindy to step in and save the day with what I think is supposed to be an inspiring speech about all the uncertainties in a woman's life and the fact that most men are complete garbage (her words, not mine). "Your body and your eggs just keep getting older," Mindy tells an audience of 19- and 20-year-olds. "Which is why freezing them is actually a pretty smart idea. It gives you a little more time so that you can try to find that one diamond in that crap heap of American men."

I'm sorry — I just can't get on board with trying to freak out college students about their declining fertility and how hard it is to find a man (Mindy's speech also assumes that all the people in the room are heterosexual and looking for life partners). If someone had approached me about egg freezing, a process that costs anywhere between $10,000 to $150,000, plus annual storage fees, when I was in college and doing everything I could not to get pregnant, I would have laughed in their face. I realize this is a sitcom, but can we be a little more sensitive here to the impressionable target demographic of The Mindy Project? Many viewers are probably around same age as the NYU students Mindy is scaring about their declining fertility on the show. I'm here to watch a lighthearted comedy, not to be reminded that my baby-making years are slip-sliding away.

Back to the show, though. Jody admits to Mindy that he's sleeping with college students to fill the hole in his heart, and that he's only pretending to be a devilish lothario. He's actually quite nice, and he demonstrates this by removing Mindy's episiotomy stitches and agreeing to be her gynecologist. Mindy says she's been pretending that everything is fine to Danny, but she's actually having trouble taking care of Leo, keeping her fertility practice afloat, and tending to her own needs. She promises Jody that she'll open up to Danny that night, and she does.

There's also some major pretending going on in Peter-and-Jeremy-land. Once upon a time, the two were friends. After Peter got married and moved to Austin, however, he started acting more and more aloof toward Jeremy. When the latter came to visit, Peter barely spent any time with him. Jeremy was highly offended.

It takes an escalating prank war between Colette (Fortune Feimster) and Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) for Peter to admit that he's been avoiding Jeremy because he doesn't want Jeremy to realize that he's not the super-cool frat guy that he once was. Peter is now a married dad, and he still wants to pretend that he's his former self to Jeremy. Colette has only been playing pranks on Tamra to avoid dealing with how lonely she is in New York City without friends. Pretending: We're all doing it.

In the end, everyone's walls come down, and they agree to stop hiding their true feelings from one another. Sometimes this involves Dixie Chicks songs, and I'm okay with that. Adulthood is always easier with the Dixie Chicks — until they get political, that is.
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