Fans of The Mindy Project were treated to a lively Q&A with some of the core members of the cast and producing staff, and a chance to see “Mindy’s Birthday” (airing March 19), Friday in Los Angeles at the PaleyFest.
Fresh off the news that The Mindy Project would be returning to Fox for a second season, the cast seemed grateful and at ease, and spent the majority of the panel doing their Chris Messina impressions. Show creator Mindy Kaling was sweet, gracious and self-deprecating, and admitted that she loves to look at Messina and that she was excited to play a character with style and a disposable income.
The real star of the panel, though, was Ike Barinholtz, who writes for the show and plays male nurse Morgan Tookers. Funny, charming, and larger than life, he always had a joke or a lively anecdote at the ready. (He also does a killer Alan Arkin impression.) The only time Barinholtz paused was when Kaling kissed him, after he teased her that maybe if he talked like Messina, she’d be interested in him.
Click past the jump for five fun things we learned at the PaleyFest panel.
1. The story won’t be over even if Mindy settles down
Much of the show’s premise is based on Mindy’s dating life, but Kaling doesn’t see that as limiting. “The good news is that even if the character were to get married or settle down, it would be tumultuous,” Kaling said. “Me, personally, I’m 33 and I’d like to get married and have some kids, so it’d be great to see that reflected in the show. Or, when I have the experiences, to write about them on the show.”
2. “Jeremy Reed” was written for an American, or, more specifically, a “Bradley Cooper-type”
When Ed Weeks relayed the fact that Dr. Reed was indeed described as a Bradley Cooper-type, Kaling said “that’s embarrassing.” She added: “If a man wrote in their script that they were looking for a Mila Kunis type, you’d be like, ‘that’s disgusting and sexist.’ But I was able to get away with it.” Weeks’ American accent wasn’t up to the task though, so he just decided to audition with his native British accent. At the audition, Weeks said he threw a condom at the casting director, and said Kaling told him that was hilarious. Kaling clarified that she was probably just dazzled by his looks.
3. Betsy and Morgan are definitely a maybe
Barinholtz said, “there’s an aspect of Morgan, where, if it was Downton Abbey, he would always be trying to hang out the family. Like, he’d be a servant, but he would hang out with the Crowleys and be like, ‘oh can you believe these servants?’” But he conceded, “I think there is romantic possibility for Betsy and I.”
4. Kaling’s dream guest star is…
Danny McBride. Kaling would want him to play Mindy’s gay best friend. But not the kind of sassy, fabulous gay best friend that is all too common in romantic comedies and sitcoms. In The Mindy Project, he’d be a bear in a robe and a cut-off tank top, who is loud and brash and gets them kicked out of brunch.
5. Mindy and Danny are not Jim and Pam…but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get together
“Jim and Pam, they were a couple who were very pure and very young and wanted to love the other. And they were friends. But in our show, they started out not as friends,” Kaling said. “They’re such different kind of characters. Big personalities. Huge flaws. Big secrets.” Barinholtz said: “Our writers room is pretty divided. Half of us want to see them hook up and the other half say no. It’s gotten a little heated a couple of times.” When Kaling added that it was heated for comedy writers, Barinholtz agreed, joking, “Yeah, like someone would slightly raise their voice.” As for what Danny thinks? “I hope we get to kiss. But it’s kind of fun to watch the whole will they/won’t they thing, right?” said Messina.
In the spirit of The Mindy Project’s romantic comedy obsession, here are the panelists favorite romantic comedies.
• Matt Warburton (Executive Producer): The Apartment
• Beth Grant (Beverly): Roman Holiday
• Zoe Jarman (Betsy): Sense and Sensibility
• Ed Weeks (Jeremy): Hannah and Her Sisters (“Mindy’s not going to like this,” Weeks said.)
• Chris Messina (Danny): Manhattan (Kaling: “That’s a drama!”)
• Ike Barinholtz (Morgan): Saw II. Or, Love, Actually (“If you think I’m a loser, I will fight you in the parking lot.”)
• Mindy Kaling (Mindy): Vicky Christina Barcelona and You’ve Got Mail, both of which feature Messina. Also, Much Ado About Nothing.