The Mindy Project S3E17 – Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist review

Mindy battles a bad case of pregnancy blues and Danny is concerned that her eating habits are to blame, so he tries to improve her diet.

This can’t be good. Mindy (Mindy Kaling), the food maniac, is being monitored by Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), a man who thinks half a glass of orange juice is dessert. Yep, not good at all. You can’t blame Danny though.

This episode, from start to finish, is interspersed with Mindy’s morning sickness, which, bless her heart, doesn’t only happen in the morning – it happens all the time. According to Mindy, the one good thing about the nausea is that ‘it teaches you how to make all of New York your personal barf bag’. Nothing is off limits: Danny’s bedside table drawer, the flower vase in the office and, my personal favourite, the mailbox in the street. Imagine the mailman’s reaction when he comes to collect.

Mindy is in a really bad way. It bothers Danny, especially when he finds her throwing up into his baseball trophy. He’s very sympathetic: “Castellano babies always cause morning sickness. We have a saying in our family: ‘First they make you puke, then they wreak havoc on your birth canal’.”

Mindy’s preggie blues are not lost on her office family, who chip in and get her a very pretty, pink, bedazzled barf bucket. She falls in love with it immediately: “It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me since Danny took me to Bruno Mars.”

That weekend, Danny is horrified when he sees Mindy drinking coffee and hurries over to the kitchen to make her some breakfast.

And so the drama begins.

He sets down some revolting-looking mess, and Mindy is justifiably repelled – I grimaced myself. “Steel cut oats,” Danny says. Mindy’s response was a highlight: “It is 9am on a Sunday. I need eggs. I need waffles. I need four kinds of pig meat… I’ve been eating for two my entire life and now I actually have an excuse. I’m not going to waste it on steel cut oats.”

She goes on to remind him that he’s in no place to criticise her eating habits. She knows he still smokes in secret. Danny denies it, asserting that he quit, cold turkey, when he found out about the baby, and then promptly plops a plate of cold turkey in front of her. Mindy threatens to kill him.

So, with Peter leaving and Mindy branching out to open a new fertility clinic, Schulman & Associates needs two more doctors. When Mindy runs into Dr. Phillips (Vanessa L. Williams), an old college mentor who she was absolutely obsessed with, she has a brilliant idea. Mindy tells her about the job vacancy and Dr. Phillips, who is retired, rich and bored, says she’ll check it out.

Mindy runs back to work and shoos all the applicants away, announcing that the role has been filled. One of the hopefuls, Dr. Bergdahl (Dan Bakkedahl), is pretty vocal about the news and gets into a little bit of a tiff with Mindy and Morgan before he leaves.

The expectant parents, Danny and Mindy, meet with Peter (Adam Pally), who is also Mindy’s OB/GYN, via video-chat. He announces that because of her weight and age, Mindy’s pregnancy falls into the geriatric obese category. Mindy tries to strangle him through the screen, but Peter, unfazed, appoints Danny as Mindy’s nutritionist for the duration of her pregnancy. We are brought to the crux of the entire episode.

Dr. Phillips comes in to meet the doctors at Schulman & Associates and, as expected, it’s a complete disaster. Jeremy and Danny alarm her with their description of the long hours and lack of social life, and Mindy just discusses the sex that goes on around the office. Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) then walks in and does his usual foot-in-mouth thing by hitting on her. Yep, total disaster.

Dr. Phillips runs out, promising to discuss it with her husband but, with the look on her face as she fled the premises, I’d be very surprised if she comes back, even to decline the offer.

Danny is now in full daddy gear, not totally unlike how Mindy behaved with Rishi (Utkarsh Ambudkar) last week. At lunchtime, he puts some more unappetising food in front of her. It’s some anaemic-looking chicken breast, a few greens and wild rice. We can pardon Mindy for getting confused about the chicken: “Why is this steak white?” This is Danny at his cruelest.

Unfortunately, Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) chooses that very moment to waltz into the room with her birthday cake, which Mindy says is her favourite kind – ‘gigantic’. Danny reminds Mindy of her willpower and how proud he is that she’s choosing to eat well. With a smile and a very charming ‘Mangia’, he pushes the food towards her and leaves.

To her credit, Mindy tries to stay strong, but she gets a text from Dr. Phillips turning down the job offer. Jeremy sees what she’s eating, compared to the culinary decadence Tamra is passing around, and quips: “What are you eating, is this a joke? There’s birthday cake here!”

It’s like a dam bursts in Mindy. In a flash, she literally dives into the entire cake, not even bothering to slice it. This is how Danny finds her, looking up from the cake, hair and face smeared with icing and guilt. Danny’s disappointed reaction is so bad even Mindy loses her appetite.

Later that day, Mindy catches Danny smoking outside and she’s livid. They decide to turn their addictions into a competition, Danny daring Mindy to eat better if he quits cigarettes. Two weeks later, Danny is nicotine-free. Now it’s Mindy’s turn. She tries to justify her eating but an exasperated Danny declares that he doesn’t want to be the only parent in their child’s life.

There was a lot in this episode to make me wonder what kind of gynaecologists these two people are. It’s bad enough that they accidentally get pregnant, but now Mindy can’t even take the advice she’s been giving her patients. She expresses this same idea, and sure enough, the preggie hormones kick in and Mindy breaks down, sad that she doesn’t have Danny’s kind of willpower. The stress causes her gag reflex to kick in, and while she’s rushing out to find the loo, Dr. Bergdahl walks in, looking for the jacket he left behind earlier.

Bergdahl now has his daughter’s jacket on and is blocking the entrance. It’s hard to tell if it’s the stress or the picture of Dr. Bergdahl in the bright pink jacket that does it, but Mindy can’t hold her stomach any longer and heaves all over him. He is, however, very understanding and attentive, diagnosing Mindy’s morning sickness as being triggered by Danny’s pressure and not by her bad eating.

Danny is so impressed he offers Dr. Bergdahl the job. Jeremy is not so sure: “He looks like the guy who can’t sleep in a cold medicine commercial.”

However, they’ve run out of options, so Jeremy endorses the appointment.

Danny and Mindy have their end-of-episode moment, with Danny revealing that he’s only hard on her because he’s worried he won’t know what to do once their son is born. Mindy reassures him that the baby will be okay because he’ll be a good father. Danny literally glows with pleasure.

Of course, the tender moment is sealed with Mindy throwing up again. Oh, the first trimester blues.

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