Mindy embraces her Indian heritage
Credit: Evans Vestal Ward/Universal Television
The Mindy Project - Season 5

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

So she ends up having a mundan ceremony, though Leo starts crying hysterically as soon as the priest brings the electric razor to his head. Morgan freaks out, Jody (more discretely) freaks out, and Mindy freaks out — so much so that she makes the priest stop and cancels the ceremony. After a sweet talk with her parents, though, she realizes it’s okay for him to cry during it. After all, she apparently was so distressed by her brother’s reaction during his own ceremony that she bit the priest as revenge, and they both survived that.

While Mindy’s trying out that tradition, Morgan and Jody are trying to respect their new love interests: Ashley is saving herself until marriage, something that sends Jody running after their first date and that sends Morgan sleeping with Chelsea (again) after multiple dates. Jody makes Morgan come clean to Ashley about what he did, and that move alone puts him back in her good graces. (This should go without saying, but Morgan’s out of the picture by this point.) Maybe it’s for the best that Mindy never got that letter from Jody? Although, let’s be real: Jody loves sex. This can’t possibly last long… Can it?

Back at Mindy’s, she’s decided to go ahead and shave Leo’s head. This is the most The Mindy Project has ever acknowledged Mindy’s Indian background, and the way they chose to do it is entertaining, refreshing, and so perfectly in line with the character. It makes sense that Mindy would be separated from her family’s culture, and it also makes sense that she would dive headfirst into it after realizing what she’s missing out on.

By the end of the episode, Jody tells Mindy he’s stopped thinking of her as a white man and now thinks of her as an Indian man. A step up. Also by the end of the episode, Mindy and Danny have a productive, thoughtful discussion about how it’s important to expose baby Leo to both his parents’ cultures. Danny is surprisingly receptive and agrees with Mindy. Maybe he’s not so bad these days, after all! Plus, seeing the former couple easily come to an agreement about how to raise their child is pretty sweet. If Mindy and Danny can’t be together, at least they can still have moments like this.

Best lines:

“Honestly, I think of you as a white man. Largely because of your entitlement.” —Jody after Mindy asks if he sees her as Indian

Morgan: I’m not an animal.

Jody: But you eat out of the trash.

Morgan: Sometimes I see food in the trash that I want to eat, and I take it out, and I put it on the table and eat it. Or I’ll put it on the floor.

Jody: Like an animal.

Mordan: How many animals do you know that wear scrubs?

Jody: One.

“The last time I was the only white person in a room was the theater where I saw Madea’s Family Reunion. That is a very talented actress.” —Jody

Danny: Where the hell is Leo’s hair? Where did it go?

Mindy: Well, if we’re going to go down that path, where the hell is his foreskin?

Danny: It’s in a locket around Ma’s neck with mine. You know that.

By the numbers:

Outfits: 8

Number of garlic knots Mindy eats on her date: 5

Morgan’s proposed date length: 10 minutes

Episode Recaps

The Mindy Project - Season 5
The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.

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