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The Mindy Project recap: Bernardo & Anita

Mindy embraces her Indian heritage

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Evans Vestal Ward/Universal Television

The Mindy Project

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz

Mindy is Indian, but not Indian enough — at least not to Neel, the guy she goes on a blind date with. He’s dismayed by her admission that she doesn’t know any Indian people or what part of the country her parents are from. “I want to say there’s like a river there? And some tigers? Don’t quote me on that,” she explains. To be fair, India is a big country.

The date seems to be going well otherwise, judging by Mindy’s later attempt to kiss him. That attempt fails because he’s not interested. He wants to be with an Indian woman who embraces her heritage, and Mindy is not that woman. Then he takes it a step further, calling her a coconut: brown on the outside and white on the inside. Rude.

This whole encounter, plus Danny’s request to take Leo on a vacation to Italy over the summer and Jody’s insistence that she acts more like a white man than an Indian woman, gets Mindy thinking: She is Indian, damn it. And she wants to prove she is, so she calls the failed date back. He agrees to let her join him in running errands later.

There, the two express their different views on immigration: Mindy loves America and thinks immigrants are supposed to assimilate while Neel’s parents made sure they lived in a town with a large Indian population. Despite their disagreement, he’s still happy to expose her to the culture she’s been missing out on, so he invites her to a dinner with Indian friends. She’s thrilled — and makes Jody go with her so she’s not “the whitest person there.” 

Maybe Jody wasn’t the best choice, though. At one point, some of their fellow diners playfully impersonate their Indian parents, accents and all. Then Jody jumps in with an impersonation of his Indian tailor which…does not go over great. Thankfully this crowd isn’t tough on him, so he’s able to recover quickly. Mindy even has a nice time, especially when she walks in on the host holding her newly bald baby. You should have a mundan, she tells Mindy, referring to a Hindu ceremony where a priest shaves off a baby’s hair to rid the child of bad traits from past lives. Expose Leo to both Danny’s Catholicism and your Hinduism and see which one he chooses, she advises. Mindy’s into it.

NEXT: Say bye to Leo’s hair