Just two episodes since the birth of Baby Castellano, and Mindy is tackling one of the biggest decisions new mothers face – if and when to return to work after giving birth. Bonded with Leo, she is reluctant to return to two full times jobs while raising her son. Danny encourages her to stay home, wanting his son to have the life that he missed out on. When her work environment turns hostile after the arrival of new doctor Jody (played by Garrett Dillahunt), Mindy reluctantly agrees to leave her job to become a stay-at-home-mom. But as soon as she makes her decision to stay home, she has second thoughts.
Meanwhile, Danny, grateful that Mindy has “squeezed out the love of his life”, wants to give her a push present, and enlists the help of his co-workers to find something perfect. After his efforts result in a half-choreographed dance set to Smokey Robinson’s The Tracks of My Tears and a turtleneck sweater that Mindy mistakes for trash, Tamra takes him to the jewelry store to oversee his efforts. (“…you’re not allowed to cheap out on this like you did on my birthday.”) When Danny suggests he purchase an extravagant pair of earrings, Tamra becomes suspicious of Danny’s motivations and questions him. It’s then that he admits that he wants to give Mindy a nice gift to help convince her to stay at home with Leo. Tamra chastises him for trying to bribe Mindy into staying home with their son, and attempts to talk some sense into him: “Jay Z’s so rich he throws his car out when it runs out of gas, and he doesn’t stop his wife from working!”
Actress Xosha Roquemore absolutely steals this episode as Tamra. She is both charming and convincing as the voice of reason, defending Mindy and putting Danny in his place. Moreover, her line delivery here is on point, as she shows herself to be a gifted comedian. Perhaps it is the move to Hulu, which seems to have given the show more freedom, but the supporting cast members are shining this season, and I’m so excited that Xosha is getting more screen time. Plus, I’ve loved some of the more unconventional pairings that we’ve seen so far – Tamra and Jeremy last episode, and now Tamra and Danny. I look forward to seeing our supporting stars (particularly Xosha and Beth Grant who plays Beverly) get more action as the season progresses!
As the episode draws to a close we see Mindy reconsider her decision to leave the practice, thanks in part to some well-timed advice from Colette (Jody’s sister, played by Fortune Feimster). Before Mindy is able to explain to Danny that she has changed her mind, however, he tearfully admits to her that he wants her to stay at home with Leo so that Leo can have the upbringing that Danny never had. With that he reveals his push present – he has tattooed Leo’s name over his heart. Mindy is speechless and unable to admit she is having reservations about becoming a stay-at-home mom.
The beauty of this episode is that it remains funny while making the hugely important point that women are faced with a heart-wrenching decision between their children and work on a daily basis. While Mindy has the luxury to make such a decision, many women do not. The show briefly touched on this in the Season 3 episode Lahiri Family Values, but the point is driven home here, in the touching way that only Mindy Kaling can do. I again thank Hulu for saving a show that can do such important storytelling while continuing to be a comedy gem.
No man tells me what to do with my body. Only women’s magazines can do that! – Mindy
I thought you said push presents were B.S. propagated by The Today Show and “big bracelet”. – Tamra
Congratulations! He’s very dark! – Beverly
Hey man, guess what? The picnic table called, they want their table cloth back! – Mindy
Can you plot to yourself, we’re still not married, I’d have to testify against you. – Danny
Push present? More like based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, in that these gifts are an endless series of tragedies. – Tamra
Even Harper Lee’s health aide wouldn’t publish that! – Mindy
The Mindy Project returns Tuesday. Be sure to follow @TheGameofNerds on Twitter and join us for our live-tweet at 6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST!