THE MINDY PROJECT: The many pop culture references from “Girl Gone Wild”

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Reese Witherspoon Cheryl Strayed did it, so did Lorelai Gilmore and on this week’s episode of Hulu’s THE MINDY PROJECT, it was Mindy Lahiri’s turn to get lost in the wilderness and find herself. Of course in typical Mindy fashion, things didn’t go as planned. But, hey at least there were plenty of pop culture references to keep us entertained. With so many this week (quite possibly more than usual), we thought we’d use this week’s discussion to analyze them all including a certain special guest star…

The Bachelorette“I’m pretty sure she’s going to pick Chris Harrison.”
Apparently watching The Bachelorette and discussing it is Mindy and Jeremy’s thing but he’s fallen behind now that he’s all loved up with Anna. Speaking of loved up, even little Leo has a girlfriend – they sit on the couch holding hands while watching Dora the Explorer. Aww, young love.

THE MINDY PROJECT — “Girl Gone Wild” Episode 607 — Pictured: (l-r) Elias Janssen as Leo, Soledad Campos as Graciela, Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

“I’m going on my honeymoon by myself. I don’t even know where it is but I’m going to tear that ish up and find me a a man. #one-nymoon. Starring Melissa McCarthy. This summer, one is the horniest number.”
After learning that Ben never cancelled their honeymoon and that the tickets are non-refundable, not to mention she’s surrounded by couples EVERYWHERE, Mindy decides to embrace taking a holiday by herself. Of course, this kicks off the shenanigans of this week’s episode…

“As long as you don’t mind watching Boss Baby.”
Mindy flirts with a handsome stranger in her row until Martha shows up to sit between them. Somehow we find it hard to believe that this animated family film starring Alec Baldwin is a film that this stranger has memorized…

“Is it James Patterson? No one does violence against women like him.”
Martha (played by Mailie Flanigan) is the woman seated next to Mindy on the plane, who then turns out to be her roomie at the resort, is one of those people you fear sitting next to on a plane – super chatty and nosy and also has a cold. She loves James Patterson novels and literally watches Law & Order on the plane, wondering what it’s about because she doesn’t want to wear her headphones while watching it…

With the great Maile Flanagan! so funny on upcoming episode 607 of #themindyproject

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

“It’s called WILD by Reese Witherspoon. I’ve only read the table of contents but I think it’s about a hot woman going on an outdoorsy vacation and having a sexy adventure.”
This is what happens when you judge a book by its cover. Mindy will soon learn how wrong she was about WILD – more on that later!

Mindy’s ex fiance Casey (yep this final season is all about bringing back the exes) happens to also be on the retreat that Mindy is on, but he also happens to now be married to a 22-year-old named Babe, who was named after the movie about the pig that was released the same year she was born. (1995, in case you were wondering.)

Oscar Issacs
Being the straggler that she is, Mindy finally catches up to the group who are on a break from hiking because they were waiting for her. She insists that she needs a break “more than these people ‘cos I’m the worst one” but the leader refuses. Casey offers to stay back and convince her to keep moving with the group because he knows how to get through with her – bribe her with a celebrity-ridden lie such as Oscar Issacs is at the top of the mountain waiting for them. Sadly the leader also vetoes that idea and says it’s a tradition to leave the weakest link behind anyway. Harsh!

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls – TLC… Left Eye Lopes… Left! I could be a trail guide.”
When alone and faced with a fork on the trail, this is how Mindy decides which route to take. Ha ha!

“Damn Reese Witherspoon, that’s cold as hell! I thought you were supposed to be America’s sweetheart. I thought you’re supposed to give me advice like I will find my true love if I give up my big city ways and go to my down home roots.”
After tripping and rolling down into a cave and assuming that she hit her head before getting her ponytail caught between rocks (apparently wedged so tightly that she couldn’t escape), this week’s special guest star is revealed – Reese Witherspoon – and there as a mirage to give Mindy some harsh truths and to reprimand Mindy for not actually reading WILD – Mindy only picked it because Witherspoon was on the cover and she liked her hairstyle. “If you had read it or watched the movie, you would know that life isn’t about finding a man; it’s about finding yourself.” This whole scene was pure gold and littered with sneaky references to Witherspoon’s career – “Life is not like the movies, Mindy. You can’t get into Harvard law by submitting a video of yourself in a bikini. You also don’t shut down all of Tiffany’s for one wedding proposal and sometimes life doesn’t always have a happy ending,” to which Mindy reacts to by demanding money back for all the tickets she’s ever bought to see Witherspoon’s movies at the cinemas, even Failure to Launch, which didn’t even star her!

THE MINDY PROJECT — “Girl Gone Wild” Episode 607 — Pictured: Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television/Hulu)

Mindy rescues herself 127 Hours style… sort of.
Okay, no she doesn’t cut off her arm, but she does use toenail clippers to cut her hair into a bob in order to free herself from the cave. Which then leads us to our next reference…

“If my chic bob is uncool then Katy Perry’s haircut is uncool.”
Spotting her new do, Casey isn’t exactly impressed but Mindy has more important things to discuss with him like why he’s avoiding having sex with his wife at the retreat. Having been together for a while back in the day, she knows that something is up, even if his new wife can’t see it. Turns out he’s scared of being a dad but Mindy manages to give him a pep talk and change his mind. Of course after this good deed, Casey’s wife, who had previously stormed off, returns and assumes the worst – she punches Mindy in the face before insulting both Mindy and Katy Perry’s hair.

Megan Fox
Recuperating in their room, Mindy is surprised when Martha shows up with Twizzlers and an old copy of Maxim magazine with Megan Fox on the cover – “Oh my god, I love her!” declares Mindy before Martha opens up about this being her first time at the Two Turtles retreat after her husband passed away in February. The couple came here every year for 15 years. She and Mindy end up bonding and Martha ends up giving Mindy some pretty valuable advice.

Other notes: 

    • I LOVED Mindy’s yellow knitted top with the pink hearts this episode. Want!

Yellow is the color of the day. @salvadorperezcostumes & @knitsyknits

A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

  • Also love that it seems like we’re jumping back on the Danny train and rerouting it for endgame. How can you not think that after Martha’s speech in the final scene – “I see you with someone sharp, feistier; someone who can keep up with you. Someone who can tell you to shut up when you’re being a bit much”? I have high hopes that the show is going to redeem him and put my fangirl heart back together. I know it defeats the purpose of the message from this week’s episode, but like Mindy I am a hopeless romantic who loves Rom-Coms.

New episodes of THE MINDY PROJECT are released on Hulu (USA) and SBS On Demand (Australia) every Tuesday.

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Ange is the Girl from Oz who travelled the States. Teen dramas, rom-comedies and superhero shows are her weakness. She also loves a good crime and medical drama and probably watches more TV than she can handle... You can contact her at