Danny meets Mama and Papa Lahiri while Mindy stars in 'Sliding Doors'

By Danielle Zhu
Updated September 16, 2015 at 01:44 PM EDT
Credit: Beth Dubber/NBC

Before we get to the season 4 premiere recap of The Mindy Project (it’s back!), let’s take a moment to thank the Hulu gods for picking up this glorious show after cancelation. Hulu, we thank you for this precious gift. We promise not to whine about your commercials anymore.

And now, a refresher on where we left off. Things have been going swimmingly: Mindy opened Lahiri Fertility Clinic, she and Danny have a baby on the way, and both are committed to raising the little Castellano once the time comes. But their relationship hits a snag when Danny doesn’t go to meet Mindy’s parents — who are moving to India for a year — because he’s afraid to tell them he doesn’t believe in marriage. Naturally, Mindy is heartbroken that he doesn’t want to get married. But luckily Danny mans up, ditches Peter’s wedding, and flies to India to meet Mindy’s parents. He knocks on the door and announces “Hi. I’m Danny Castellano. And I’m in love with your daughter.” And scene.

Thankfully, that cliffhanger is resolved when season 4 picks up at the Lahiris’ door. Danny makes his grand confession, but turns out he just spilled his heart to the wrong dude. Enter the real Mr. Lahiri (Ajay Mehta), who arrives at the door with a machete. Danny takes back everything he says and introduces himself as simply Mindy’s coworker.

He gets roped into staying over at the Lahiris, where Mr. Lahiri talks about how much Boston rocks and how he’ll break all the bones of the man who knocked up his daughter. Danny’s saved from the rest of that conversation with the entrance of Mrs. Lahiri (Sakina Jaffrey), who saunters in singing Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night.” So that’s where Mindy gets her theatrics from. We learn that Mrs. Lahiri is an actress and just came back from an audition: “I decided the part was too small, and I didn’t get it. What a relief.” So that’s where Mindy gets her sense of righteous indignation. After some chitchat, Mama and Papa Lahiri decide to enlist the help of Danny in their special project: finding a husband for Mindy.

Back in the states, Mindy finds out Danny’s not at Peter’s wedding and enters full-on freak-out mode, attacking his antique globe (“Mexico’s not even in North America!”) and cursing him for not letting her keep her South Park pinball machine in the apartment. She goes to sleep thinking, “My life would be so much better if I’d just fallen in love with someone else.”

And with those magical words, Mindy enters an alternate reality when she wakes up (with flawless makeup intact. Girl you look gorgeous, but didn’t your mom ever tell you never to sleep with makeup on?). And who’s beside her but Renaissance man Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Or rather, Matt Sherman, the super rich and handsome Emmy Award-winning producer of Real Housewives. Turns out they met on that one flight. You know, the one where Danny and Mindy first kissed? Except Sliding Doors-style, that never happened. Instead, Mindy’s romantic fairy tale went like this: Matt came out of the bathroom, mistook Mindy for a Native American man, the two joined the Mile High Club and lived happily ever after.

So if she’s with Matt, what’s her relationship with Danny like? Well, according to Danny, “Bad, frosty, hostile, not good, did I say bad?” Apparently, they’ve barely talked for the past two years and Danny wasn’t even invited to her wedding. It gets even worse when she finds out that she’s been sleeping with Brendan Deslaurier. Blech. Anyone but the midwife. Well at least Morgan is still the same ol’ fool of a Tookers.

Speaking of Morgan, he tracks down Danny in India and joins the husband-hunting party. Frustrated with Danny for not telling the truth, Morgan brings in the best candidate to be Mr. Mindy Lahiri (The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar). And oh, he’s perfect. Tall, handsome, runs a hedge fund, has met the queen and danced with Michael Jackson — although he’s quick to point out that any man over 30 who still dances looks foolish… (um, we beg to differ!). And here’s the kicker: He’s a widower whose wife was swept away by a wave. A WAVE. We have a winner.

At this point, Danny finally speaks up and confesses that he’s the baby daddy. Mr. Perfect gets pissed that they tried to sell him a lemon and insults the Lahiris, causing them to launch into a glorious speech about how they are the greatest family in the world. Please adopt us. And please please please let us see Mindy and her parents together in future episodes.

In make-believe world, Mindy (looking oh so glam) tries to cleanse her soul by admitting to having an affair, but Matt tells her they have an open relationship. Exsqueeze me?! Oh, and instead of her fertility practice, she’s the proud founder of Delectable Desires, slutty girdles for the sexually active obese. This is definitely not how Gwyneth Paltrow’s parallel universe turned out.

Mindy goes to find Danny during his date with Freida Pinto, whom he met in spin class. After getting past her star-struckness, Mindy naturally makes a scene. She confronts Danny outside the restaurant, telling him this is all wrong and that they were meant to be together. They kiss in the rain, but it’s not as romantic as it sounds because Danny’s too conflicted. As he walks away, Mindy goes after him proclaiming that they make each other better people, and wham, gets hit by a bus. Well, that’s how Gwyneth Paltrow’s parallel universe turned out.

She wakes up to find Danny comforting her, and after seeing what life would be like without him, she declares, “I don’t care if we’re not married, I just want to be with you.” Danny tells her she went to India to see her parents, and seeing them so in love made him wish his beliefs were wrong. And with that, he gets down on one knee: “Mindy Lahiri, will you marry me?” YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

So what’d you all think of the premiere? If they got engaged in the first episode, what kind of high jinks will they get into the rest of the season? And how delightful are Mama and Papa Lahiri? Did seeing Mindy, Chris Messina, and JGL together make you want to rewatch this short?

Best lines:

“Last night I wished I had never gotten together with Danny, and this morning, my wish came true. It’s like 13 Going on 30 except I’m still the same age: 26.” —Mindy

“I came out of the lavatory and there you were. Judging by your build and your denim jacket, I just assumed you were an old Native American man.” —Matt/JGL on seeing Mindy for the first time

“Woah woah woah woah woah woah, go back on that side of the desk, this is a very intimate space.” –Danny

“Uhh, duh. I spent half my life kneeling on this floor.” –Mindy

By the numbers:

Outfits: 6

Utterances of “Exsqueeze me?!”: 3

Ignorant comments about India made by Danny: 5

Best outfit:

Credit: John Fleenor/NBC

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The Mindy Project - Season 5

The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.

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