The Mindy Project, Season 3, Episode 1, “Annette Castellano is My Nemesis”
September 23, 2014, 9:30 p.m., Fox
The dreaded “girlfriend meets mother” episode was upon us last night. So far, writers on The Mindy Project have played it smart with Mindy and Danny’s relationship. These two characters are just opposite enough that the tension remains consistent, and always stays fresh. Discussing with a colleague, television portrayals of relationships, we came to the obvious conclusion that the audience never wants to see a REAL relationship on network television, they want the fantasy. It’s half the reason they’re watching. While this could be dangerous, since Danny and Mindy were put together at the end of season 2, the story has been kept fresh with that perfect blend of comedy, sentiment, tension and fairy-tale rom-com. The Mindy Project and New Girl can both be compared to Cheers, but Mindy Project has so far used two fantastic actors from the show: Dan Hedaya, brilliantly cast as Danny’s father, and now Rhea Perlman as Danny’s mother. Easter Egg - Perlman was Hedaya’s wife on Cheers!
The tension is kept tight this episode when Danny’s mom Annette pops in for a visit and meets Mindy. Danny, obviously hasn’t told her about Mindy yet, and in a hilarious bit, she asks Mindy if she can come over Wednesday, every Wednesday, at a certain time. Mindy happily agrees thinking she’s quickly won this woman over; the audience is in on the joke with Danny - Annette thinks Mindy is Danny’s cleaning lady. In true Danny fashion, he admits he was hoping the “situation would resolve itself,” before he had to tell his mother about them. Yes, by resolve, he meant he was hoping his mother would die, or when Mindy and Danny get married, she would wear her “religious coverings,” hiding her face, prompting Mindy to ask why Danny has NO idea what religion she is or isn’t.
Mindy assures Danny that she has the fool proof set-up to win mothers over, and even when he tries to get out of it she shows up at Annette’s birthday lunch. Okay, I need to rant for a second. I love that Mindy parodies the silly Sex and the City tropes; when Mr. Big wouldn’t introduce Carrie to his mother, she stalked him, showed up at their church, introduced herself and invited herself for lunch. That shit is cray. Women everywhere, and men everywhere - if your significant other isn’t ready to introduce you to their parents, respect that. They’re really just doing you a huge favour anyway. Back to recap - Mindy shows up at lunch, and fully launches her plan to win Annette over. She agrees with everything Annette says, brings gifts for Annette and her friend. This all falls apart when she backs Danny on his decision to buy Annette a new stove. Which leads to a confrontation at a hotel where Danny’s mom decides to take a job as a maid. Mindy stands up to her and gets the seal of approval, and is told she’s not like Danny’s other girlfriends who were all “wispy and thin”.
In the side story this week, Peter is upset over his situation with Lauren, and decides to take it out on Morgan and Tamra’s relationship. Tamra’s allergic to dogs, Morgan has… FORTY?! The photo of him with all of them when they decide to host an adoption out front (do they actually even see patients at their office anymore?) Peter convinces Morgan to stand up to Tamra, that she’s faking her allergy, and it’s just a power move. When Peter shoves a dog in her face however, she’s struck with an allergic reaction, to which Peter, a doctor, doesn’t know how to respond. Morgan saves her and all is well in their world, except for Peter, who’s a sad sack.
Leaving a quarter of the cast out of this episode has proved productive. One of TMP‘s biggest problems is actually a positive, a large cast of all very talented players that it sometimes does too much with. It allowed a lot of focus on Mindy and Danny this episode, which is always a good thing. My favourite TV couple of the moment, lest Abbie and Ichabod get together on Sleepy Hollow.
- Is it just me or is Rhea Perlman’s face a little freaky now? Ladies - stop getting plastic surgery, please.
- Biggest laugh from the episode - Danny explaining how Mindy’s not like his other girlfriend’s because she doesn’t work out and steals his change
- Beverley quote of the night: “This cake is terrible!” “That’s a dog biscuit” “I know!”
The dreaded "girlfriend meets mother" episode was upon us last night, but Mindy has a fool-proof four step plan to win any mother over.