Stephen Colbert and his new beard join us for this episode as Father Mike, making me wish he had more time off between shows to do some acting. He’s the new priest for Danny’s parish, brought in after Danny kills the old priest, Father Francis, with his thorough and honest admission that he’d knocked up his non-Catholic girlfriend out of wedlock. After he and Mindy had sex hundreds of times, Danny tells Father Francis, “the Lord punished us with the precious gift of life. … But, hey, it proves I wasn’t using protection, right?” At this, the priest drops dead, and The Mindy Project gives us a succinct commentary on Catholicism in one scene.
Danny wants Mindy to come with him to the funeral service for Father Francis. “To church?” she says. “You killed someone so now I have to die of boredom?” She reveals that she’s not sure she wants to raise their child — a son, we now learn — Catholic. “I kind of want to raise him Jewish,” she says, “so he can get ahead in life.”
They do, of course, go to the mass together, because how else would comedy happen? The replacement for Father Francis turns out to be Mike, an old buddy of Danny’s from the neighborhood, and also Stephen Colbert. He’s a reformed bad boy who starts his sermon with the number of women he slept with (275). But this has ended up making him more conservative, not less. Birth control, cohabitating outside of marriage, and dating outside the faith are all major sins to him. And you can see where that leaves Mindy and Danny: “We’re screwed,” Danny says. Mindy counters: “You’re screwed. I’m Hindu. We’re like immortal or something.” This episode proves one of Mindy’s secret, surprising, and unique strengths: delivering loving commentary about religion. Mindy is interested in religion and not afraid of it the way most current comedy is. Mindy thinks religion is both an important part of many people’s lives and very silly. Colbert is perfect for this role because he shares this sensibility: He’s open about being Catholic himself, and he’s also often pointed out its more ridiculous features.
After Mike tells Danny that “the word on the pew” is that Danny has fallen from his original “golden boy of St. Mary’s” status, Danny reaches for a lie and claims Mindy is Catholic. Mindy makes matters worse by trying to befriend Father Mike: First she texts him that she’d like to donate some bras to the church clothing drive (even though some of them are “a little slutty”), then she invites him to dinner. “If he asks,” Danny tells her, “we sleep in bunk beds and your last name is McPherson.” Mindy manages to get through dinner pretending to be a huge Bible fan, thanks to some text support from Morgan. (Though she’s upset to learn that there is a New Testament: “There’s a sequel to the Bible and not to Gone Girl?”) To keep up their ruse, Danny and Mindy even go so far as to sneak into the bathroom while Father Mike is peeing (for a long time, while singing “Walking in Memphis”) so they can remove the condoms from the medicine cabinet. (So wait: Were they using protection, or not?)
Finally, however, Danny breaks down when Father Mike notices the ultrasound picture on Danny’s laptop. He has to admit that it is his baby, because he’s proud, and he furthermore admits that he doesn’t feel guilty about it or about Mindy. Yay! Mindy overhears this, then saves Danny from getting his ex-communication walking papers by declaring she’d like to raise the baby Catholic after all.
A few other observations:
- Father Mike is going to give Danny and Mindy’s condoms to the Greek Orthodox Church. My people thank you for the shout-out, Father Mike, and we will happily take those off your hands.
- You have to love Jeremy for doing his own, one-man version of An American Tail (his is pun-free: An American Tale). This was a solid use of the often use-free Jeremy. Even if this causes Mindy to use essentially the same line Vanessa Williams used a few weeks ago: “I’m sorry I can’t go. Because I really don’t want to go.”
- Americans have no appreciation of culture, Jeremy says: “That’s why you have to come crawling to us for your Lincolns or your Batmans.”
- Mindy does not care for Danny talking about their sex life in confession. “How’d you like it if I had a podcast about our sex life? Because I do have one. For the past six months.”
- Mindy has one Twitter follower, and it is @onedirectionbot. Which is a real Twitter account, or at least real-ish.
- Is there really a swami emoji?