Title Fertility Bites
Two-Sentence Summary Mindy’s new clinic is struggling to find its footing, which leads to drastic measures and a big misunderstanding about Danny’s fertility. Meanwhile, the nurses band together against Dr. Bergdahl—until they find out he’s been sleeping in his car.
Dr. Bergdahl: Anybody else want anything? The nurses are making sandwiches.
Tamra: Do I look like I work at Au Bon Pain?
My Thoughts The Mindy Project is a very funny television show. And sometimes that’s all it needs to be in order for me to enjoy it. However, there are other times when the show’s desire for laughs asks me to turn my brain off, and I get frustrated because I know it’s better than that. “Fertility Bites” was a funny episode; I’m not going to say otherwise. However, it came by those laughs at the expense of logic and through clichés that I’m getting a little tired of, if I’m being honest. But, like more than a few episodes of this show, it was saved by a strong ending and the overwhelming charms of its cast.
I actually think I liked the B-plot more than the A-plot this week. There’s something to be said for surprising moments of kindness, and that’s what we saw with the nurses in this episode. I had absolutely no fun at all watching Dr. Bergdahl treat the nurses so poorly, but it did give us Tamra’s great line about Au Bon Pain, which almost made his over-the-top nastiness worth it. And the body-odor jokes were a little juvenile, but I still giggled at Danny saying he should take the nurses out for “coffee or deodorant.” In the end, though, this story wasn’t about Dr. Bergdahl so much as it was about the nurses. It was about giving these supporting characters a chance to show real kindness toward someone who wasn’t in the inner circle of the practice, and I really liked seeing that. I’m still not sure Dr. Bergdahl is going to be a great fit with this cast of characters long-term (which his stay at Mindy’s apartment seems to be hinting at), but maybe he’ll grow on me. After all, Peter went from being a character I didn’t like at all to one of my favorite characters on the show. Sometimes The Mindy Project takes a while with characters and stories to find its groove, and maybe that’s what’s happening here.
While the B-plot managed to surprise me, the A-plot felt like something I’d seen on this show 100 times before: Mindy gets desperate → Mindy lies → the lie causes trouble (and wacky comedy!) for her and Danny → everything is fixed at the end. Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina are good enough at their jobs to continue to make this story structure palatable, but even with their great skill sets, it’s starting to wear a little thin. It seems to stand in stark contrast to all the growth we’ve seen Mindy go through this season. I know that some habits are hard to break, and some bad traits are just a part of who we are. But eventually I’d love to see Mindy as a character and The Mindy Project as a show figure out a different strategy than lying, exaggerating, or withholding information.
With that being said, I definitely still laughed at the end result of Mindy’s lie. The entire sequence with Danny’s toast was hilarious, and it felt like one of those moments that had to be so much fun to write and act. It made me cringe a little bit, but it also made me laugh out loud, which is a sign that it walked that very fine line between secondhand embarrassment and comedy pretty successfully.
The best part of the A-plot was the men of the Tookers family. I found it oddly endearing that Morgan is Mindy’s only employee, and I loved their argument at the party about how much everything cost. But once again, Cousin Lou stole the show. Rob McElhenney is so much fun to watch in this recurring guest role, and I think it’s because there’s nothing funnier than an actor who says ridiculous things like they’re the most serious lines ever spoken. And I’m sure it’s been said on other TV shows before this one, but “dude-diligence” made me laugh so hard.
The worst part of the A-plot was the logic gaps. Didn’t Mindy get any practice helping couples get pregnant at Stanford? I imagine she would have had to in order to know she was good at it. But if that’s the case, why not mention that to prospective clients? Also, I know it was supposed to be funny, but I really didn’t like the moment when Mindy asked if the older woman was pranking her or if she was there for her daughter. I get that Mindy isn’t always tactful, but I found it more annoying than funny that she would be so rude to a potential client that she really needed.
In the end, though, this episode got by on the strength of its two leads. (And the strength of Mindy’s stunning gray plaid dress. Seriously, where can I get that?) The last scene made all the logic gaps and plot repetition before it fade away under the combined power of their chemistry. Kaling was especially sincere and sweet, with a smile that lit up my TV screen. And once again, Messina melted my heart with Danny’s joy over Mindy being ready to move in with him. The way he kissed her forehead as they joked about redecorating the bedroom was the icing on a great cake that made the mediocre dinner that came before it seem a little bit better because it ended so well.