The Mindy Project fans met a brand new Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) when the show returned to Hulu for the second half of Season 4 on April 12. Now, Dr. L is exploring what her life is like with baby Leo, but without Leo's dad, Danny Castellano (Chris Messina).
I'm a longtime fan of The Mindy Project, and was bummed to watch Mindy and Danny's relationship disintegrate. But as Season 4 went on, that disappointment turned into burning anger towards Danny, a fiancé who tried to trick Mindy into getting pregnant and quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom. I mean, is this the 1950s or what?
Thankfully, Mindy said "no thanks" to this toxic situation and left Danny's sorry ass. Here's why she's so much better off without him.
She's a total boss at workEvans Vestal Ward/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank
Danny saw Mindy's successful fertility practice as more of a side hustle than a career -- "You can stay home with Leo and do this on the weekends, like a hobby," he said in Season 4, Episode 11 -- but in true Mindy fashion, she went for it anyway. And thank god she did, because she's killin' it.
This superwoman is balancing three jobs: Delivering babies, speaking at colleges about her "Later, Baby" program, and being a mother to adorable Leo.
She's a role modelBeth Dubber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Speaking of college, Mindy and Jody Kimball-Kinney (Garret Dillahunt) start a "Later, Baby" spring break for students interested in freezing their eggs. Though Mindy has some Danny-related hiccups along the way -- she's not perfect, but she's come a long way since Season 4 started -- she's an unexpectedly great role model for the attendees.
When a heartbroken student runs away to find booze and boys, Mindy tracks her down and consoles her with empowering advice that ultimately helps her move on from Danny: "Breakups are the worst. I'm beginning to feel like the only way to truly get over someone that you cared a lot about is to start a new chapter."
She knows what she wants in bedByron Cohen/Universal Television/NBCU
Like many single people, Mindy turns to dating apps when she's horny. She matches with a rando on the Tinder-esque app "Pork It," but when he asks her to, well, pork it in the bathroom, she hesitates and leaves the uncomfortable situation. She knows she wants something casual but not THAT casual.
And she's not afraid to ask for itJordin Althaus/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank
After deleting "Pork It," Mindy confidently asks out an attractive bartender. This isn't your typical "hey, let's hang out sometime." This is a highly specific "come to my apartment at this time, satisfy my needs, and leave by the time my son gets home" request. He shows up at her door right on schedule. You go, girl.
She calls people out on their bullshitJordin Althaus/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank
On another date, Mindy calls out the dude mid-dinner -- do wings count as dinner? -- for ignoring her and watching sports on the bar's TV. He immediately corrects his mistake, and the two begin dating for a brief but intense time.
But when Mindy discovers he's still pining for his ex-girlfriend, she's out ASAP. She's wise enough to know she doesn't deserve to be treated like someone's second choice.
She takes control of her financesEvans Vestal Ward/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank
When Mindy realizes she has zero clue about money -- Danny used to handle her finances -- she reaches out to Whitney (Cristin Milioti), who's casually the manager of a hedge fund. Whitney teaches her everything she needs to know and they become fast friends. It's a win-win.
She's raising Leo with — not for — DannyEvans Vestal Ward/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank
Most of the time, Danny called the shots in Leo's young life. He's taking him to Italy, which Mindy is cool with, provided there are Skype sessions. He had Leo circumsized, which Mindy went along with. He expects Leo to be raised Catholic, which Mindy was also OK with -- until now.
In the latest episode, Mindy embraces her Indian heritage and decides to hold a mundan ceremony for Leo. This religious ritual, a common practice in Hinduism, involves shaving a baby's head for good luck and to eliminate negativity from past lives.
At first, Danny is furious about Leo's shaved head. Then Mindy explains she wants Leo to grow up experiencing both their cultures. Danny, in one of his few non-douchey moves this season, agrees. It's a beautiful moment where Mindy and Danny, despite no longer being a couple, learn to work together and achieve balance when it comes to raising Leo. Hopefully that teamwork sticks around for Season 5.