Mindy Project Recap: ‘We Need to Talk About Annette’

by | November 12, 2014
filed under Pop Culture

Danny, Annette and Mindy shopping in "We Need to Talk About Annette"This week, I’m not going to do a traditional recap, I am going to do a rant instead.

So I get that in real life, people have flaws, but why does Annette have to have so goddamn many? In every appearance she makes on the show, she has a new and even more serious character failing. First, she is ungrateful. Next, she is the latest person in the world, and now she steals. Is there any social norm this woman won’t eschew?

Here’s the thing: Annette, who is a woman who raised two sons as a single mom, is being portrayed as a petulant teenager. From what we know, she probably has the money to pay for the leather bomber jacket she gifts Danny with, but instead she steals it on a shopping excursion with Mindy. Why? She claims she does so “As a statement” because people over 60 are “invisible in America.” Now, I agree that ageism is a serious societal problem, but it’s hard to be sympathetic to a woman whose rich son supports her who wants to steal luxury items for the excitement. That doesn’t really address ageism at all. Plus, it feels spoiled. It feels…adolescent?

Soon, Mindy and Danny’s approach to dealing with the problem of Annette’s thievery becomes to treat her like a teenage. They march her back to the store to pay for it, like she’s 13 and they’re her parents. It’s an insulting role reversal given that Danny would have starved to death had Annette not worked so hard to support him and his sibling growing up.

At the store, however, the saleswoman insists she’s going to have to call the cops, because yes, stealing a $500 jacket is a felony and she doesn’t want to lose her job on account of negligence. Of course, when they decided to “teach Annette a lesson,” Mindy and Danny did not foresee this fairly obvious consequence.

It is Mindy who ultimately saves the day. She suggests they make a run for it while the saleswoman is calling the authorities. It works, and Mindy gets a smug moment of victory where she enjoys having saved “her family.”

Here’s the thing – why does Annette need to be saved by Mindy and Danny’s condescending help? For years, she supported an entire family on her own. Sadly, you’d never know that the way the show treats her like a hopeless child who needs to be disciplined.

I know The Mindy Project is attempting to humanize Danny by turning Annette into the most repellent shrew of all time, but their go-to trope of mother-blame is offending me. It’s also nonsensical, because if Annette really is this irresponsible, how did Danny get it together to attend elementary school? I’m pretty sure that as a doctor, he must have had an education of sorts.

In other news, Annette’s not the only character on the show portrayed as infantile this week. Peter dumps Allison Tolman’s character because she’s not naggy enough for him.

As a bro, apparently, he can’t modify his behaviour and become more responsible just because he wants to do so. No, he needs a woman who wants to control him, who’ll force him to do things he secretly wants to do, like go to brunch and put on pants. These are actual examples he gives. What a screwed up vision of masculinity!

All in all, the picture The Mindy Project paints of adulthood is somewhat horrifying. Elderly women need their sons to act more like fathers and 30-something men need girlfriends to be their moms.

Look, I take no joy in writing negative recaps of this show.  I want it to delight me the way it did back in the first season. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t.


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