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The Mindy Project - "Mindy Lahiri Is A White Man" - Review: It's Been A Real Male Privilege




“The Mindy Project” turned the tables in last week’s episode, “Mindy Lahiri Is A White Man,” and as the title suggests, emphasized on the important issue of racism with its own funny little twist.

Dr. L and Jody are running against each other and some other colleagues to be the gynecology department head at their hospital. Besides her, there’s only one other woman gunning for the position. Dr. Irene Lee is shy and sweaty so when she approaches Mindy to be her friend, she rebuffs her because Min doesn’t want it to look like the only two women of color are forming some sort of an Asian clique.

At the interview, Mindy does really well, but the doctors are only interested in asking her questions like “will you have time to balance your life as a single mother and the responsibilities of this job.” Clearly, she’s way qualified than some other prospective candidates, especially Dr. Ledreau, who may or may not have thrown his wife off a cruise ship.

Jody calls her later that night to gloat about the email he got, officially entering the second round of interviews. Mindy got no such email. It isn’t said right off the bat that the reason is because she’s a woman or a single mother or because she’s unqualified because obviously, she isn’t. She goes to bed disappointed, wishing she was a white man so she wouldn’t be discriminated against.

When she wakes up, lo and behold, her wish is granted. Sort of. In a fantasy-reality, Mindy Lahiri has transformed into Michael Lancaster (played wonderfully by Ryan Hansen). She’s surprised but happy to be in this new body, milking it for all its benefits. At work, every single person stops and listens to her (him?). Even Beverly! Really, she asks if she should take notes. There aren’t sexist remarks from Jody or disinterest from Tamra. As Lancaster, Mindy is marveled at how easy all things are for her as a white dude. She’s even invited to a boys night out. What’s this feeling, she wonders? “Inclusion!” She gets to fulfill her desire of being with a woman, too, because Michael-as-Mindy hooks up with someone. This causes Michael-as-Mindy to be late for a delivery, so Dr. Lee steps up and does it in half the time, leaving Dr. L impressed.

Oh, even though Min didn’t get a callback for the second round of interviews, Michael sure did. At the interview, the doctors don’t even ask him about his qualifications, chat with him like he’s their bro, and almost assure him of the job. However, after witnessing Dr. Lee do the delivery, Michael-as-Mindy knows she’s more qualified than Jody, Ladreau, and Mindy herself. Dr. L takes it upon herself, via Michael’s bod, of course, to help Irene out and get her the job she deserves. She asks Tamra for advice, confessing to the body switcheroo. Tamra thinks Dr. L is nuts, not believing Michael is Mindy, but she helps out because she’s been waiting her whole life for someone to admit a big secret like this to her.

Tamra and Dr. L then convince Irene to undergo a strong, impressive makeover and advice her to be firm and demand that she get a second interview. She is the best candidate. However, despite the interview, she still doesn’t get the job and they offer it to Michael (aka Mindy). That’s when Dr. L rolls out the iconic “ex-squeeze me” and hand gestures, which Hansen does perfectly, and demands Irene be hired instead of him. The doctors-in-charge suggest that a black lesbian woman was the previous president so they want a change of pace. What about the parade of old white men who presided before, Dr. L asks, when the doctors say they’d hire Dr. Ledreau instead.

Later, discouraged at the sorry state of affairs at work, Michael/Mindy goes to bed, wishing to turn back into her old self. As a white man, things were monotonous and boring and easy. As the beautiful Indian doctor, Mindy gets to be weird and challenged and fun. She wakes up the next morning as her usual self, and with that, we lose Hansen into the alt-world. Mindy goes up to Irene and apologizes for the Asian clique remark, asking if they could be friends. As they share food, the two realize just how much they have in common.

This was a remarkable episode because it dealt with sexism and racism at work in a very “The Mindy Project” way, by which I mean it’s obviously a fantasy but also speaks so much about reality. Do I wish they had done this wherein Mindy was still our Mindy Lahiri and not a hot white dude, sure? But this had its own impact. However, I think after the “Groundhog Day”-style midseason premiere and this episode, I’ll need the show to go back to developing its own story forward. Only four episodes left!

Side notes:

* I love that Michael-as-Mindy approached Tamra for help, giving Xosha Roquemore more focus. Usually, she ends up going to Morgan always.
* I think it would’ve been great to see Ben in some way, shape, or form in this episode. Though, in this alt-world Mindy Lahiri doesn’t exist so it’s understandable
* Did you secretly wish Chris Messina did a cameo this episode, just to show us what he’d be like in his interactions with Michael Lancaster.

What did you think of the episode? Did you love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments.


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