The Mindy Project Recap: Oh, Danny Boy

The Mindy Project

Leo's Girlfriend
Season 6 Episode 4
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC Universal Television/Hulu

We finally get a significant glimpse at little Leo’s life in this episode. He prefers salad with dressing on the side to ribs (much to Mindy’s chagrin), Danny’s Ma takes care of him during the day, and he likes to hang out with Julie Bowen … uh, I mean his “girlfriend” from school, Daisy.

Perhaps even more significant, Leo’s dad is suddenly back for the home stretch of episodes. I felt palpable relief to see Danny on the show again, especially since he’s acting more like Danny 1.0, the conservative but sweet guy Mindy fell in love with, rather than Danny 2.0, the legitimately sexist jerk face he became to facilitate his departure from the show. As a bonus, Chris Messina is looking extra fine with that slightly salt-and-pepper beard. This all works well with the fact that Danny is getting an annulment (a humorously unexplained detail that he uses to make his situation seem more virtuous than Mindy’s) at the same time that Mindy is getting a divorce.

All of these forces work together to precipitate yet another welcome blast from the past: a return appearance for Danny’s Ma, Annette, and her friend, Dot. They call Mindy from the gym while — this must be noted — Annette wears a sweatshirt with a whale on it that says, “There’s Fun to Sea,” and Dot wears a sweatshirt featuring no fewer than five airbrushed cats. The upshot of this call is that Mindy will have to pick up Leo from school, specifically the Bleecker Friends Quaker School for Toddlers at 433 Astor Place. (Note for New Yorkers: The address does not seem to exist, though I can totally see this school being on Astor Place between the Gap and the Starbucks.) Mindy is so clueless about Leo’s daytime life that she says, “And I pick him up at, what, like seven or eight tonight?”

Meanwhile, Tamra is still hooking up with Morgan, but telling him she doesn’t want to hook up anymore. She’s trying to stick to her insemination plan, which includes meeting with Louis, New York’s best spermolier. But Colette catches a major clue that there’s something going on between Morgan and Tamra when she finds Tamra’s gold “diva” necklace in Morgan’s sheets. Morgan, thinking quick like he does, tells Colette it’s a gift … for her. “I never really thought of myself as a diva,” she says. “Now it’s the only way I see myself.” Fortune Feimster’s delivery, along with her dance afterward, had me laughing at least twice as hard as the line deserved.

When Mindy gets to Leo’s school — during daylight hours, thankfully — she finds that Leo’s “girlfriend” Daisy is in fact a mom played by Julie Bowen. Daisy is passive-aggressively thrilled to finally meet Mindy, while the other parents are only slightly less passive-aggressively fascinated: “You’re like our Loch Ness monster!”

Mindy, feeling attacked for poor mothering, insists, “You will see me at the next event. What is it, Bernie Sanders Birthday Navajo Christmas?” No, but it’s equally good: Their Japanese sister school, the Sliding Screen Shinto School for Pre-Businessmen, sent a cherry-blossom tree to plant on school grounds. Mindy promises to come and to bring homemade snacks for the entire school. The parents rattle off all of the kids’ dietary restrictions: If they’re not nut-free, they’re gluten-free, or both, except that “one kid, Joey, must have gluten or he’ll die.” This school send-up is so good I’d watch a whole Bleecker Quaker Friends School spinoff.

Back in more comfortable-for-her territory, Mindy prepares to impregnate Tamra by singing “I’m Gonna Knock You Up.” But then — surprise! — she finds that Tamra is already pregnant with we-can-guess-whose baby. Right after, Tamra spots Colette wearing her diva necklace, and both of them pretty much figure out what’s going on, but pretend not to.

Jeremy has made the snacks for Leo’s classmates, because of course he has. They are cherry-blossom-colored meringues. Mindy disappoints him by saying he can’t come with her to see the children enjoy them: “I’m sorry, but today is about me taking credit for your work.” Daisy, saved as “Psychotic Bitch” in Mindy’s phone, calls to guilt Mindy some more by reminding her about the event: “Leo just said, ‘I hope she shows up,’ with the cutest little worried look.”

But Tamra detains Mindy to beg her not to tell anyone that she’s already pregnant. Of course, Mindy doesn’t know who the father is yet, and she agrees to pretend to have gone through with the insemination. In the process, she leaves the meringues behind and is so late that she misses the tree-planting. A stay-at-home-dad-by-choice says that they explained the lack of snacks to the children: “We lied and told them it was Ramadan and we were fasting, so at least it was a teachable moment.” Tensions rise until Mindy and Daisy get in a physical fight, knocking the tree over.

Back in the school principal’s office to be chastened, the school administrator calls Danny — who’s also there now — “a model parent.” After all, Danny found time in his schedule to chaperone the Central Park acorn-cleanup trip. But then Danny defends Mindy, saying she’s a “great role model to our son.” Yay! Mindy makes amends with Daisy, with both admitting they aren’t perfect moms. “We can’t all be Ivanka Trump,” Daisy says.

Even better, Mindy and Danny end the night at Mindy’s apartment, eating what really does look like particularly delicious pizza. Ah, the comforts of food and familiarity.

The Mindy Project Recap: Oh, Danny Boy