'The Mindy Project' recap: 'Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist'
Convinced that Mindy's morning sickness is the result of her bad eating habits, Danny becomes her nutritionist to help her through her pregnancy.
As this week’s episode title would suggest, Danny becomes Mindy’s nutritionist. You’ll recall, Danny is the guy who thinks half a cup of orange juice is dessert, and Mindy can, in all likelihood, count the number of times she’s been to the gym. This can’t end well, and it doesn’t. But first, Mindy has to get through a bad bout of morning sickness, and I mean really bad.
“Morning sickness teaches you how to make all of New York your personal barf bag,” Mindy says, over a montage of her doing just that. (Mailboxes, trophies… yeah, they’re fair game.) Seeing how much pain Mindy is in, the office rallies together and makes her a pink, decorated puke bucket, which she promptly puts to use, and uses throughout the entire episode. (If you’re one of those people who can’t deal with vomit on screen, this episode is not for you.) Touched, Mindy says the puke bucket is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her since Danny took her to Bruno Mars.
Danny is convinced that Mindy’s diet is playing a factor in her morning sickness, and dishes up some oatmeal to get her healthy eating started. “I have been eating for two my entire life, and now I actually have an excuse,” Mindy says. “I’m not going to waste it on steel cut oats. Look, pregnancy is hard enough as it is. I am also starting my own fertility clinic. I had to completely put my modeling career on hold. I need these simple pleasures. By the way, you should talk. Don’t think I don’t know about your little cigarette smoking habit.” Danny maintains, however, that he quit smoking, cold turkey, when news of the baby came. Then, he literally serves her cold turkey. The pressure is on for Mindy to fix her diet, but she’s not exactly conceding, yet.
At the office, Jeremy holds a meeting where he announces that between Peter’s departure, and Mindy starting up her own clinic, they’ll need a new doctor. Cut to: Mindy runs into an old doctor friend, Dr. Phillips (Vanessa Williams), whom she really, really admires, to the point of obsession. They get to talking and Dr. Phillips tells Mindy that she’s bored with retirement. Boredom, be gone! Mindy’s solution is for Dr. Phillips to work at her practice, but first, she wants her to meet Jeremy and Danny.
[Can I just take a moment to point out the slew of kick-ass guest stars the show has had recently? Last week, there was John Cho. This week, there’s Vanessa Williams. Up ahead, there’s Laverne Cox and Stephen Colbert. Hot damn.]
Thinking that Dr. Phillips is a done deal, Mindy tells all the doctors who came in to interview for the position to leave, but not before she can criticize one of them, Adrian Bergdahl (Dan Bakkedahl), for not knowing who Shonda Rhimes is. (Seriously, Adrian? Do you exist on the planet Earth?!) This won’t be the last we see of him.
[I wonder if Shonda Rhimes, who previously guest starred on the show as herself, will come back to call Adrian out. He’s credited with two more episodes on IMDb, but hey, there could me more… Commenters, what do you think are the odds?]
Back to Mindy’s health: Mindy and Danny video chat with Peter, Mindy’s doctor, for a check up. The chat brings bad news all around. Peter is not doing so well romantically with Lauren. (Upside: Perhaps the writers are trying to leave him coming back as an option? Or, is that just wishful thinking on my part? I love Peter, so please be the prior.) What’s more, Peter tells Mindy that because of her age and weight, technically she qualifies as a geriatric, obese pregnant person. Mindy is pissed, but ultimately, the conversation ends with Peter appointing Danny as her nutritionist.
Dr. Phillips comes to the office to meet with Jeremy, Mindy, and Danny about the opening, but it doesn’t go so well—and that’s putting it lightly. Jeremy and Danny talk of how much work is involved, Mindy puts her sex life on the table, and Morgan is, well, Morgan. Dr. Phillips texts Mindy and tells her she can’t take the job because “everyone was either starving, exhausted, or insane,” and also, she just doesn’t want to take it.
Mindy is totally stressed because she turned all other applicants away, thinking Dr. Phillips was the one. Like a college student who never went to class, and is now stuck cramming for finals, she turns to stress eating, and dives face-first into Tamra’s birthday cake. Danny is extremely disappointed and tells Mindy she has no willpower, but it turns out he’s not one to talk.
Late at night, Mindy tries to give a local raccoon named Pepe the green beans Danny is forcing her to eat. She approaches the window, and he scurries away. (I’m with you, Pepe. Green beans are totally disgusting.) Earlier in the episode, Tamra announced her concern over a homeless person who had taken over the office patio. Mindy’s attention turns toward who she believes to be “the bum” smoking on said patio, but it’s none other than Danny!
Mindy calls him a hypocrite, which was well-deserved. Real talk: Mindy does need to eat better. She’s carrying a child for crying out loud! That said, Danny can’t get all high and mighty when he hasn’t quit smoking, even though he said he had.
Resentment from the confrontation lingers on the next day. Mindy, who is flanked by a giant container of cheesy puffs, tells Danny that she’ll eat better when he quits smoking. Never one to shy from competition, Danny accepts the challenge. Cue montage—perfectly set to Britney Spears’ “Work B**ch”—of Danny resisting temptation and crossing his smoke-free days off his calendar. He goes two weeks without smoking, and tells Mindy it’s her turn.
Getting her to do so, though, is another story because changing her lifestyle isn’t as easy for her. Danny sort of snaps and tells Mindy that he doesn’t want to be the only parent in the relationship. Ouch. Mindy, clearly emotional, tells Danny that she’s at a loss. She’s an OB-GYN and is supposed to tell her patients what to do to get them through their pregnancy, yet she has no idea what to do herself.
This snafu all comes together when Adrian returns, looking for his jacket. He’s blocking the entrance and Mindy, who is still experiencing terrible morning sickness, tries to get through, but he won’t move. It happens. She barfs on his bright pink windbreaker, which he borrowed from his daughter, in the absence of his jacket… But Adrian is a doctor, and is totally unfazed. In fact, he examines the vomit, and determines that Mindy’s morning sickness isn’t diet-triggered from all the crap Mindy eats, like Danny thought. Rather, it’s stress-triggered.
Adrian and Danny talk alone. The source of this stress, Adrian concludes, is Danny. He’s been pressuring Mindy to eat better, and has turned their respective self-improvement into a competition. Adrian tells Danny he needs to be easier on Mindy because he’ll inevitably turn to his vice—smoking—when that baby comes, and will want Mindy to be understanding.
The pow wow gives Danny a brilliant idea: Hire Adrian as the new doctor! Jeremy agrees, provided that it’s on a trial basis. What’s more, Danny tells Mindy he’s been hard on her because he doesn’t know what to do when the baby comes, and he needs her to be around. Mindy echoes, saying she’s been hard on him for smoking for the same reason. “The kid will be fine because you’re the dad,” she says, concluding another heartfelt Danny-Mindy parenting moment.
“We have a saying in my family: First they make you puke, then they wreak havoc on your birth canal.” —Danny, on Castellano babies, who have been notoriously bad
“The Melvins have already camped out in the conference room. It’s very inconvenient. That’s where I lock myself when I need to be racist.” —Beverly, on the doctors, a.k.a. “the Melvins,” applying for the available position
“How’s my favorite MILF and DILF?” —Peter, while checking in with Mindy and Danny via video chat
“It’s my favorite kind of cake… gigantic.” —Mindy, struggling to eat well when Tamra brings her birthday cake into the room
“I tried painting, but I kept painting my tombstone, and the teacher told me I was bumming everyone out.” —Danny on how nothing relaxes him quite the way smoking does
“Before you say it, Dr. Dre is not a doctor.” —Jeremy to Mindy, predicting that she’ll want to hire Dr. Dre as their new doctor
“He looks like the guy who can’t sleep in a cold medicine commercial.” —Jeremy on their new hire
“I don’t know, because I’m Hindu, and on some level I feel like I’ll have another shot at it.” —Mindy, on why she struggles with willpower
By the numbers:
Mindy’s outfits: 8+
Decorated puke buckets: 1
Star Wars impressions: 3
Raccoon named Pepe: 1
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.