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'The Mindy Project' recap: 'Confessions of a Catho-holic'

Mindy and Danny run into trouble when Danny tells his new priest, Father Michael (a.k.a. Stephen Colbert), that Mindy’s Catholic.

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The Mindy Project

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz

Danny loves Mindy, of course, and their child to be. But, he loves his religion—Catholicism, in case you missed the episode title—too, and by its standards, sex before marriage, among other things, is a big no no. It’s time for Danny to face his local priest.  

He heads to church to confess his sins, the biggest one being that he got his live-in girlfriend pregnant. “It wasn’t my fault,” Danny explains. “I was under the spell of this exotic sorceress. She wears all these bright colors and uses all this R-rated language, and the next thing you know, Father, we are going at it in bed. This accidentally happened a couple hundred times and then the lord finally punished us with the precious gift of life. But hey, it proves I wasn’t using protection. Right, Father?” Father Francis dies, right there in the confession booth.

At the office meeting, we find out that Mindy and Danny are having a boy—it’s a boy!—because Danny changed the backgrounds on all the office computers to the baby’s sonogram. Jeremy also announces that he will be performing in a one-man show: An American Tale, which tells the story of his journey to the states. But news of Jeremy’s play is outshined when Danny comes in and announces that he just killed his priest.

He didn’t, of course, but he feels responsible for Father Francis’ death, and is completely wracked with guilt. The very least he can do is go to the memorial, and he asks Mindy to come with him. He adds that he never finished his confession, and needs to absolve himself of his sins, at some point, and he wants Mindy to meet the priest who will baptize their child. To baptize, or not to baptize, that is the question. That’s a whole other issue, but Mindy brushes it off with a quip, for now. 

The memorial finally arrives, and who has taken Father Francis’ place? Well, none other than Father Michael O’Donnell, played by guest star Stephen Colbert! He is not the holy man you might expect a priest to be. Danny knows him from back home—he was the worst kid at his high school.

Mindy, meanwhile, is upset that Father Michael’s hot as hell-ness has gone to waste. With him being a priest, he must be a virgin, right? Wrong, so, so wrong. Father Michael begins his sermon by announcing how many women he’s had sex with: A whopping 275.

“I’m sure some of you are saying how can a man who has sinned in so many different ways, and positions, how can a man with a sleeve of tattoos, a man who did drugs, crazy drugs, how can that man be in charge of your spiritual guidance,” Father Michael begins. He says, after waking up on the bathroom floor of Keith Richard’s home, which he had broken into, he realized he wanted to lead people away from sin, great and small (key words).

Danny thinks that confessing to Father Michael will be a breeze. Not so fast, Castellano, because the sermon concluded with Father Michael saying that all sins are bad. “Sometimes it’s the small sins that tarnish the soul the most,” Father Michaels says. “I’m talking about birth control, cohabitating before marriage, and dating outside of the faith. Trust me, these little sins are just a straight a path to hellfire as all that really cool stuff I used to do.” Of course, all of these not-so-small sins apply to Mindy and Danny.

Freaked by the sermon, Danny tries to bolt without Father Michael noticing, but Danny isn’t getting off that easy. Father Michael—a.k.a. the virginity thief of Staten Island—spots Danny—a.k.a. the little angel—as he’s leaving to talk about a little rumor circling around.

“Word on the pew is that the golden boy of St. Mary’s and his girlfriend are living together before marriage,” Father Michael says. Danny admits it’s true, but denies any sort of sexual behavior. Father Michael tells him not to worry too much because “The Vatican is okay with over-the-pants stuff.” Still, Danny wants to look like a good Catholic, and he wants Mindy to look like one, too. That’s right, Danny tells Father Michael that Mindy—who can be seen taking selfies with nuns—is of the faith.

Later, Danny tries to convince his mother, Annette, and Dot to switch churches, because of the new priest, but they’re not having it. Annette suggests that rather than switch churches, Danny should think about why he feels so guilty. (My first thought: Is it because they’re not married? Oh my god, is Danny going to propose this episode?! I was off base, but things worked out really well. Read on.)

Meanwhile, upon Jeremy’s suggestion, Mindy tries to befriend Father Michael, so she invites him to dinner—through a hilarious emoji conversation, I might add. Father Michael gladly accepts because he can’t resist a dinner offer from a good, Catholic woman. Mindy’s in on Danny’s lie.

[Sidenote: I love that the episode takes a deep-dive into Danny’s faith, since it’s so essential to his being, but I wish it weren’t centered on a lie. It feels a little redundant given that last week’s episode used the same device. You’ll recall, Mindy told Cousin Lou that Danny had fertility problems in order to attract his business at her up-and-coming fertility clinic.]

Danny tries to prep Mindy for the dinner and quizzes her on the apostles, which goes well at first, until she starts listing off Beatles. Thankfully, she has a backup plan: Morgan. She asks Morgan to look stuff up for her, and feed her nice, Catholic conversation pieces. The plan is a success, and Mindy McPherson—that’s the nice, Catholic name Danny made up for her—is completely charming and convincing, for the most part, but there’s a hiccup when Morgan starts sending her unrelated information.

See, he’s simultaneously feeding lines to Jeremy, who is performing his one-man play. Morgan can’t help Mindy and Jeremy at the same time. Ultimately, he chooses Mindy, and as he’s getting up to leave, he knocks Beverly’s cigarette into Adrian’s hair piece, and a fire breaks out. Poor Jeremy can’t catch a break.  

Mindy, however, manages to hold it together, and even engages in a nice conversation about how Eve is the real housewife of Eden. But, trouble ensues when Mindy realizes that she forgot to remove the condoms—a.k.a. a flashing, bright, neon sign that reads WE’RE HAVING PRE-MARITAL SEX—from the medicine cabinet. Mindy is a snooper. Expecting Father Michael to snoop too, Mindy slips into the bathroom while he’s using it, takes the condoms out successfully, and quickly hides them in the cookie jar before he can see them.

When he leaves the bathroom, Father Michael admits he saw something troubling in there. It’s not what you think. It was a Yankees poster. “You know they’re the team of sin,” Father Michael says, pointing to A-Rod’s laziness, as an example. While that’s probably rough for Danny to listen to—this man loved the Yankees so much, he had a real stadium seat in his home—the crisis has been averted, for now.

But, Father Michael has another troubling thing to discuss, this time over board games. He admits that he came over for dinner because he had heard a rumor that Danny was dating a godless, sex maniac, but that it’s okay now because Danny’s with Mindy, a nice, Catholic girl. The godless, sex maniac that he’s referring to is, of course, Mindy, but she and Danny both play this rumored, sinful girl off as an ex girlfriend. Danny takes it a little bit too far through when he says he never would have married that girl. Ouch.

So, Mindy goes to bed leaving the men to talk. Danny is trying to push Father Michael out, so he goes to look up the ferry times on his computer, which has his baby’s sonogram as its background—the same one plastered all over the office computers. It catches Father Michael’s eye. Father Michael presumes it belongs to one of Danny’s patients—Danny is an OB-BYN after all.

Danny can’t take it anymore, and finally he comes clean. Father Michael is shocked that the boy who played Baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant until he was 15 years old (oh my god, the visual!) could get his girlfriend pregnant, that he could commit such a sin. Suddenly, the reason why Danny couldn’t bring himself to confess again is clear: He doesn’t feel guilty about his life, with Mindy and the baby, at all.

Mindy overhears—she’s a snoop—and tells Father Michael she has something to say. He says okay, but they have to stop lying, like about how they don’t have any desert in the house, when there’s a cookie jar right at the center of the room! He reaches into the jar, and finds the condoms Mindy had hidden there, which he refers to as the “lair of Lucifer.” Well, it’s out in the open now. Mindy defends Danny, and says she’d like her baby to be raised Catholic. Father Michael concedes: Danny just needs to come to confession, so they can talk about his absolution.

The episode, refreshingly, ends not with a Mindy-Danny moment, but with an office moment. After having to evacuate the venue where Jeremy was performing his one-man-play, he acts it out for the office in their meeting room.  

Best lines:

“How dare you insult my unborn son’s first, tasteful nudes.” —Mindy to Jeremy when he asks her to fill out a form if she wants to change everyone’s desktop background

“Jesus didn’t have a roommate. He lived with his Ma.” —Danny to Mindy, when she jokes that Father Francis was old enough to be Jesus’ roommate

“I’m Hindu. I’m like immortal or something.” —Mindy on her fate

“Why would you lie and tell him that I’m Catholic? I don’t have a Catholic bone in my body—except yours. See, I can’t stop saying hilarious stuff like that. I have the mind of a comedian, trapped in the body of a model, trapped in the job of a gynecologist.” —Mindy freaking out about Father Michael’s imminent dinner visit

“There’s a sequel to the Bible, but not to Gone Girl?!” —Mindy upon discovering the New Testament

“Let’s get some dessert, play some board games. I’m a priest. This is my crack!” —Father Michael, not ready to leave Danny and Mindy’s apartment

“This was meant to be my love letter to America, but it ended like every love letter I’ve ever written… the authorities were called.” —Jeremy on his play ending in flames, literally

By the numbers:

Mindy’s outfit count: 5+

Months Mindy has had a podcast about her sex life with Danny: 6

Women Father Michael had sex with pre-priesthood: 275

Years Danny played Baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant: 15, presumably