THE MINDY PROJECT is quietly becoming one of the smartest, funniest shows out there. Although I wouldn’t blame some viewers for bailing after the show’s extended Mindy-Danny-whoever love triangle, now that Danny is completely out of the picture, the show has reached new heights, delivering hilarious, pointed comedy week after week. This week, after Mindy learns that she didn’t a second round interview for the head of obstetrics position at her hospital, but Jody did, she wishes that she could be a white man.
You can’t blame her after seeing what she had to deal with during her interview. The old white men interviewing her are more interested in whether she can handle both the job and being a single mom and whether or not she’ll be able to keep her emotions in check during stressful situations. After she makes her wish, she wakes up Michael Lancaster, a white man delightfully played by Ryan Hansen, immediately entering a world of respect, power, and male camaraderie. It’s surreal and brought to mind this season’s Groundhog Day-tribute opening. These more high concept stories are a fun new direction for the show.
Mindy realizes that she gets much more respect as Michael from the instant she walks into the office. Tamra asks her how her night was and seems genuinely interested in the answer! When she tells everyone to listen up for an office-wide announcement, everyone actually listens! Morgan hands her protein powder because Michael, unlike Mindy, is trying to gain weight! When she leaves work, she’s able to hail cab after cab with absolutely no issues! When she explains a course of treatment to a patient, the patient respects her opinion instead of arguing because of something she read on the internet! All of culture is designed to entertain and delight her!
Mindy as Michael goes in for her second round interview for the head of obstetrics position, because Michael was actually able to get one. The men on the hiring committee don’t even need to hear Michael’s plans or qualifications. They know him because he plays racquetball with one and his children see the same ADD doctor as another. When Michael asks if they’re worried that he’ll be able to handle the job and raising three kids (Michael is divorced with children), they’re shocked that he’d bring that up, as Michael’s ex-wife watches them. It’s hilarious, insightful stuff that really highlights the subtle advantages white men have.
She goes out for drinks with Jody and Jeremy, as guy’s night wouldn’t be the same without Michael, concluding that being a white man is awesome. She gets a bit too drunk and misses a caesarean surgery scheduled, but Dr. Irene Lee covered for her. Apparently, Irene, who like Mindy didn’t get a second round interview, is used to covering when the guys drink too much and is able to perform the surgery in half the time. Mindy begins to feel bad that Michael is still being considered for the job, as are Jody and an ancient man who may or may not have murdered his wife, but Irene is not.
She enlists Tamra to help get Irene back in the running. Tamra tells Irene that she needs to dress better if she wants to be taken seriously, the one thing Michael can’t say, as that could result in a lawsuit. They take her shopping, advise her to keep the personal out of personnel and shut down any questions about work/life balance, enhance her sex appeal, and finally, get her to play the race card. According to Tamra, the one thing white people hate is being called racist, as it’s the closest they’ll get to experiencing actual racism.
Irene gets the second interview, but tells Michael that it just felt like a courtesy to avoid a lawsuit. Once Mindy hears this, she storms back in and demand that they reassess. The hiring committee points out that the last head of the department was a black lesbian woman, so now it’s time to go in a different direction. Mindy’s astounded that two women of color in a row would be too much for them, but her protests earn her praise. The committee admire Michael, a white man’s commitment to diversity, so they promptly offer him the job. It’s a cruel joke that women and POC who advocate diversity or hire diverse candidates are often seen as self-serving while white men are praised for it and The Mindy Project highlights this is in a very funny and pointed way.
Mindy realizes that for white men, life is so carefree that it becomes to easy to determine that other people’s lack of success and opportunities is simply due to them failing to help themselves. She also realizes that she misses being different and wishes to be turned back to an Indian woman, waking up the next day back in her own body. Overall, an excellent episode, one of the best this show’s ever done. This should be required viewing for everyone who questions whether or not white privilege is a real thing.
Season 5, Episode 12 (S05E12)
The Mindy Project airs Tuesday on Hulu
Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor