Both Mindy and Danny realize that being a stay-at-home mom isn’t exactly code word for “vacation” on The Mindy Project season 4, episode 5, “Stay at Home MILF.”
It’s hard to remember what The Mindy Project was like before Mindy and Danny got together. In just four seasons, the show has transformed so rapidly, the two characters now depend on each other so much, we’re hard-pressed to remember the days of Casey the Pastor and all those other guys.
This week on The Mindy Project, Mindy fully embarks on stay-at-home motherhood. The show isn’t making any big, sweeping political comments about the gender disparity of stay-at-home parents versus working parents, but it does highlight an issue that is rarely illuminated on television: Raising a child is hard. When Modern Family started, Claire was already a stay-at-home mom and only just returned to work six seasons into the show’s production, once her children were grown. That’s pretty much the only current example of (prominent) working mothers in comedy television we can think of. Rachel Greene (Friends) did eventually go back to work as well, but frankly, did any of those guys really “work”?
Mindy loves her job, this we know. She also loves the luxurious idea of vacationing (aka, not working) all day. But motherhood demands the time commitment of work with the lack of income that vacation brings. Yet, millions of women a year embark on that journey. Furthermore, millions more do what Danny did in “Stay at Home MILF.” When he realized he couldn’t do it all alone, he asked for help. He calls his mom, the single mother who worked and raised two boys by herself and is now a strong grandmother Danny and Mindy can rely on.
Instead of bringing Danny in to make Mindy look anything less than competent at being a mother, The Mindy Project veers. It shows that yeah, taking care of an infant while cooking, cleaning, and coordinating your family’s lives are hard! (Note: This writer has no firsthand experience, but it seems hard!)
In the end, Mindy decides that the string of pearls, eye-popping print aprons and dresses reminiscent of the 1960s are not enough to keep her at home. She read the mommy blogs, and she loves her son to pieces, but if she wants to raise him the right way (according to her), she has to be working. Annette will help take care of him, and he’ll still know he’s loved. It’s a good solution that has the entire Castellano-Lahiri clan happy.
Conversely, the B-plot of “Stay at Home MILF” served to drive home the show’s over-arching mentality that you should never apologize for being yourself. In preparation of an upcoming family wedding, Colette is in search of a date. Only, she’s looking to bring a woman while her brother keeps offering men as potential suitors. After she comes out to him, he is initially unreceptive but comes around to acceptance once she points out that she is the “bro” he’s been looking for all along!
While viewers may have expected her brother to be mad — perhaps playing into the stereotypical “southern” personality — he was simply confused at first. Beyond the familial bond, these two really are best friends and are constantly there for each other. It’s sweet.