‘The Mindy Project’ recap: ‘While I Was Sleeping’

Fox hit The Mindy Project with a death sentence in May, but less than 10 days later, Hulu swooped in to the rescue, and God bless them for it. This 26-episode fourth season premiered Tuesday and will be released weekly. 
At the end of last season, Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny’s (Chris Messina) relationship was up in the air: Mindy wanted a proposal and for Danny to meet her parents; and Danny, fearing the same marital issues from his first marriage and the same results as his parent’s failed marriage, wasn’t able to give Mindy what she wanted. So when a pregnant Mindy, who stayed in New York, finds out that Danny, who was supposed to travel to Peter’s (Adam Pally) wedding, didn’t, she has no idea that he was flying to India to meet her parents. And that is exactly where the season four premiere begins.
Danny goes into his “I love your daughter, but I’m afraid of marriage” spiel as soon as the door is opened only to find out that he bore his heart to a servant and chickens out when confronted by the real Mr. Lahiri (Ajay Mehta). Turns out Mindy’s dad is a big fan of Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) though the two have never met. Knowing Morgan’s personality, this is no surprise.
Meanwhile, Mindy frantically paces around her apartment wondering how Danny could have run away. She hops into bed and drifts into a dreamland where she is married to the perfect husband, played by the dashing Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (Mindy and I have had a similar dream.)
She’s initially confused and begins to explain that she’s not married, but she’s distracted by the massive rock on her wedding finger. She apparently told her dream husband that if he didn’t get her a big enough ring, he would have to get used to s-ing his own d for the rest of his l, obviously in true Mindy fashion.

Dream husband goes to make breakfast, and Mindy begins to explore the apartment. To investigate their backstory, she asks dream husband if he wants to play truth or dare, but he picks dare. To remedy the situation, she dares him to tell her the truth about when they first met.
The story has some similarities to the first time Danny and Mindy kissed in that they are on a flight heading from Los Angeles to New York City. Dream husband exits the lavatory to find Mindy standing there. He mistakes her for a man, and she snaps at him. He apologizes and introduces himself as Matt Sherman, a producer from Bravo’s Real Housewives, which is her favorite franchise. Then they apparently had sex in the bathroom and have been together since. Mindy is pleased with their romantic story.
The scene flashes back to Danny and Mr. Lahiri chatting. Mr. Lahiri then asks about the father of Mindy’s baby, because if he sees the man, then he will “break all his balls.” I failed to mention that Mr. Lahiri has been holding a large sword thing since the episode first started, and he slams this against the table.
Mrs. Lahiri (Sakina Jaffrey) strolls in singing “Strangers in the Night.” She’s an aspiring Bollywood actress and likes to break into songs in regular conversation. Mrs. Lahiri then has the wonderful idea of selecting Danny to help with a special project: picking a suitor for Mindy for an arranged marriage.
Back to Mindy’s dream, she still works at Shulman & Associates. Danny is rude, and it turns out the pair haven’t spoken in two years. She didn’t even invite him to her wedding to dream husband. But at least Morgan is still the same hilarious fool. She’s sitting at her desk when Brendan (Mark Duplass) walks in, approaches her and leans down to sniff her neck. She pushes the midwife away, and he says that’s not how she was on Thursday. Oops. Turns out Mindy’s dream world isn’t perfect; she’s having an affair.
In India, Danny asks if Mindy knows about this arranged marriage plan. Her parents say no, but since the father of her child won’t step up, they are stepping in. Danny criticizes the idea as “medieval” and learns that the Lahiris were an arranged marriage. Another case of foot-in-the-mouth syndrome for Dr. Castellano.
Danny and the Lahiris are flipping through a book filled with potential partners for Mindy, but Danny shoves aside all options. Mrs. Lahiri says they can’t be too picky, but Mr. Lahiri agrees with Danny about Mindy being too particular. Danny tries to explain that the issue lies in the institution of marriage. Nice try, Dr. C. 
But then Morgan dramatically bursts into the apartment! Danny takes Morgan aside and tries to explain that he won’t ask for Mindy’s hand in marriage but that he loves her. Morgan is not having it.
Alternate reality Mindy decides to tell dream husband about her affair, but as she tries to, dream husband says that Andy (Cohen) wants to move ahead with their own reality show. Mindy is supposedly starting her own business called Delectable Desires, “slutty girdles for the sexually-active obese.”
She confesses, and he explains that they are in an open relationship. That’s not exactly what Mindy wanted to hear.
In the real world, Danny and the Lahiris are eating a dinner that Danny prepared, but Morgan refuses to take part in Danny’s meal. Mrs. Lahiri wishes Mindy would end up with someone like Danny, and Mr. Lahiri says that Danny would be better than the “creep” who took advantage of her.
During the dinner, the doorbell rings, and Morgan reveals that he called up a man who could be Mindy’s future husband.  
The scene cuts back to dream husband telling Mindy that the open relationship was her idea, and she’s still surprised. Dream husband is upset that she picked the night his college roommate is in town to have this argument. They were supposed to have a three-way. This dream world isn’t all that great.
Back to the Lahiri’s residence, everyone is seated on the couch talking to Mindy’s potential husband (Kunal Nayyar), a hedge-fund owner, dance fanatic, and widower. Morgan edges Danny along, forcing him to come clean. When Mrs. Lahiri asks if he’s there to ask for Mindy’s hand, he says, “Not exactly.” Come on, Danny! Just do it.
The potential husband wasn’t aware that Mindy was pregnant or 35, so he becomes a rude jerk and calls Mindy a lemon. He insults the family, and the Lahiris go off. Praise these parents. They have the potential husband escorted out. Real Danny asks how he can make things right and apologizes for insulting the family. They tell him to just take care of their daughter.
Dream Mindy ventures out to find dream Danny, who happens to be on a date with Freida Pinto. Danny tells Mindy that she should leave, and she refuses. She yells out that she is pregnant with Danny’s baby.
Mindy realizes that this life is wrong. As she and Danny argue in the rain Notebook style, she tells him that he was supposed to follow her to the back of the plane and kiss her then. He kisses her, but then pushes her away. She tries to follow him across the road and then…..she’s hit by a bus Mean Girls style.
Mindy abruptly wakes up to find Danny sitting in front of her. She tells him that they don’t have to be married. They embrace (aww), and then she smacks him across the face for causing her to worry. Nicely done, Mindy.
Danny explains that he was in India with her parents, and says that if two former strangers can still be in love, than he should believe in marriage. He gets down on his knee and proposes!
It’s a happy ending for the season premiere, but knowing The Mindy Project, the rest of the season won’t be without some hilarious hitches.
And for fans of the show (and humor in general), Kaling’s sophomore book, Why Not Me?, was also released today, so check that out.
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