Join me in welcoming back the lovely and talented Heather, who was kind enough to take over reviewing duties as I devoted my time and energy to all things Parks and Recreation this week!
Title Danny Castellano is My Nutritionist
Two-Sentence Summary Danny worries about the effect Mindy’s eating will have on their baby, while she is plagued with morning sickness and worries about Danny’s smoking habit. Meanwhile, the practice looks for a new doctor to replace Peter.
Favorite Line “Gandhi said ‘The British are coming.’ That’s how he got independence for India.” (Mindy)
My Thoughts I have traditionally liked episodes with titles that start with “Danny Castellano is My …” so I was looking forward to seeing how one of these episodes would play out now that Danny and Mindy are dating. Unfortunately, this episode was not the same caliber as “Danny Castellano is My Personal Trainer,” so my mixed feelings about this episode may be a result of expecting too much.
I may also have mixed feelings about the episode because an awful lot of it centered around a type of humor I don’t particularly care for. Morning sickness is a part of many pregnancy experiences, and I recognize that and may have even enjoyed a humorous look at the way pregnancy can make carrying on a day-to-day routine difficult for a woman. Instead, we got to (theoretically) laugh at all the creative and inappropriate places Mindy found to throw up, and that’s just not something I’ve ever found funny. Throwing up is unpleasant and makes you feel miserable, and I always end up feeling badly for the character instead of laughing at them like I think I’m supposed to.
It was perfectly consistent with the character Danny has been portrayed to be for him to be concerned and try to micromanage what Mindy eats during her pregnancy. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is important to him, and while he’s mostly accepted that they aren’t as important to Mindy, the fact that she’s carrying his child changes that acceptance. Danny likes to plan for things, as evidenced by the baby books, and to do things in a way that has proven to be successful in the past. It’s the way he’s lived his life, and it’s a part of his personality that isn’t going to change. However, it doesn’t make him any easier to live with when he wants things a certain way. He was looking out for Mindy in the way he thought was best for her, but he was making her miserable in the process.
The way a person approaches eating is influenced by a lot of things that may have little to do with the taste of the food itself, and sometimes that’s hard for people with differing views to reconcile. Mindy derives a mental enjoyment out of food that Danny doesn’t necessarily share. So giving up her candy and eating her white steak (a.k.a. chicken) isn’t just asking her to simply eat different food or to have more willpower. Does it take willpower to make choices that we recognize are healthier for us? Absolutely. But boiling everything down to a lack of willpower and laziness ignores all the other emotions and thought processes that go into our relationship with food and does a disservice to those struggling with the issue, and I was happy with the way this episode addressed that fact.
Just as Mindy was struggling with the eating plan Danny had her on, he was struggling to give up smoking. He recognized that it was something he needed to do in order to be healthier for the baby, but just as with Mindy, sometimes willpower just isn’t enough. It’s a finite resource and in times of stress, we revert back to the behavior we put so much effort into avoiding. I did have to chuckle at his explanation to Mindy that he was more practiced at denying something he wanted due to his Catholic upbringing. I went to a religious (though not Catholic) school until I started college, and the idea of denying your body of its sinful desires was a similarly stressed point.
At the end of the day, it took at outsider’s perspective to help Danny realize that it was okay to let go a little and not stress over the idea of being perfect. The stress wasn’t good for Mindy or the baby, and it wasn’t good for him either. Having a baby is a stressful experience for both partners, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to cut yourself and your partner a little slack. The practice’s new doctor may not be the Shonda Rhimes character Mindy pictured at the practice, but his experience proved invaluable to her and she recognized he was someone who was good at his job. I don’t know how much longer we as viewers will be seeing Shulman & Associates, but Dr. Bergdahl should provide them with a grounding force for as long as he’s around.
Yeah, puking humor is not very much fun for a lot of people… Most of the shows I hate have had major vomiting storylines which just screams lazy 14 year old boy humor to me. This episode wasn’t as bad as that of course, but I could have done without the throwing up – if she had been nauseated by things but not actually barfed it would have felt more realistic to me, and been more enjoyable to watch.
The issue of whether a woman’s body is still her own when she’s pregnant is a huge one that a comedy probably couldn’t really do more than barely touch on. And as you said, what and why we eat is so much more complicated than the “food is fuel” idea suggests. (That meal Danny served her looked disgusting!)
I thought it a little strange that an obgyn would be reading silly parenting books. I mean, they should be pretty well versed in pregnancy nutrition and things like that. I’ve forgotten what made Danny pull out his book and quote things at Mindy, but I remember thinking at the time “these people are doctors of pregnancy and birth – shouldn’t they both know this stuff?!” But I guess it had more to do with showing Danny’s over-preparing nature. It’s tricky sometimes, balancing the comedy with these people being incredibly intelligent, highly trained medical professionals. Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t dumb Mindy down so much for the sake of the laughs. (Leslie Knope has spoiled me – I want my characters to be experts at what they do)
It will be interesting to see what kind of dynamic the new doctor brings to the office.
I completely agree, I want everyone on TV to be like Leslie Knope and actually competent at their jobs! I laugh at some of the ridiculous things Mindy says but sometimes it makes it hard to believe she’s been a successful doctor for so long.
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