What was Mindy Kaling's college strategy to become the success she is today? "I never partied or had boyfriends," she deadpanned at Friday's Paley Festival panel for The Mindy Project.
She's not entirely kidding. She focused on her passion at to the expense of not having a busy social life. "I've dated more people on this season of the show than I've met men in my life," she added. "I never got distracted."
TV Scorecard: What's canceled? What's renewed?
It's clear that Mindy Project is a labor of love for the comedienne, and the cast was feeling the love for each other during the panel, which was moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Rob Moynihan. Not only did the actors frequently (and only sometimes cheekily) declare, "I love you" to each other, but there was a sibling-like sort of joshing and hair-mussing going on throughout.
Despite all of the silliness, the panel did give us quite a bit of insight and information about Fox's new comedy hit. Check out what we learned from Paley Fest's Mindy Project panel below:
1. The Office finale is nigh: Kaling just received the script for the final episode of The Office and will begin shooting the return of her character Kelly Kapoor in two days.
2. The doctor is in (Kaling's family): The star decided to make her character Dr. Mindy Lahiri a gynecologist because in real life, her late mother was a gynecologist.
TV's worst-dressed characters
3. Ike Barinholtz is the man with a thousand voices: No one, not even Kaling or co-star Chris Messina were safe from Barinholtz's hilarious impersonations. His voice doesn't necessarily sound like theirs, but he has a knack for mimicking the way his friends pronounced words and delivered lines. We'd love to see him bust this out on the show.
4. Danny will bare (almost) all: Messina, who plays Mindy's fellow gynecologist Dr. Danny Castellano, just shot scene in Long Beach in which he wore a speedo and wrestled with Mark Duplass (who plays Brendon the midwife), who wore a one-piece swimsuit.
5. Dancing Danny is real! Messina wanted to take karate, but his dance instructor mother demanded he learn to dance. "I got my a-- kicked throughout junior high," he confessed. "I loved it and I wanted to be Baryshnikov for a while."
6. Ed Weeks isn't as gifted as Barinholtz: The part of charming Brit gynecologist Jeremy Reed was originally written as an American. Weeks, however, says that his American accent was so bad, his roommate insisted he read for the part using his real accent, which apparently worked for Kaling.
7. No Mindy-Jeremy 'shipping for now: Weeks revealed that one of the story lines they had just begun shooting was Jeremy dating one of Mindy's best friends, the prickly Maggie who is in a wheelchair.
8. B.J. Novak is still a friend to the show: The Office star had recently finished directing a Mindy Project episode called "Santa Fe" in which Morgan (Barinholtz) and Jeremy strip down in a sweat lodge. During their time in Santa Fe for a doctors' convention, Jeremy is quite mean to Morgan. This also marks the return of Mindy's ex Josh (Tommy Dewey).
Trim the budget! Characters we want to get rid of
9. The tat's going strong: Because of that semi-nude scene, Barinholtz had to freshen up Morgan's gigantic tattoo of the words "No More Stealing Cars" on his belly and flashed the Paley audience the evidence.
10. The Mindy Wears Prada: Inspired by The Devil Wears Prada, Kaling wanted a scene in The Office in which Michael Scott would fling his jacket at Pam when he entered the office. The idea never flew, so Kaling transferred the idea to The Mindy Project, in which poor Betsy (Zoe Jarman) would get Mindy's purse thrown at her head.
11. Morgan and Betsy could happen: Barinholtz said that "I think there is a romantic possibility for Betsy and I," but noted that Morgan was like an ambitious Downton Abbey servant who hung out Upstairs and put on airs not befitting his station.
12. Beverly (Beth Grant) has a busy past: "I've had several ex-boyfriends of many different religions," Grant said of ther character, whom the writers tried to bring back several times before Beverly returned officially in the "Mindy's Birthday" episode.
13. Just call Messina Mr. Romance: The actor is in two of Kaling's favorite romantic comedies: You've Got Mail and Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Celebrity Couples: She dated who?!
14. Mindy and Danny are not sitting in a tree ... yet: Both Kaling and Messina would like their characters to just kiss already, but apparently the writers are divided about getting the two gynos together this early.
15. Mindy doesn't need to stay single: Kaling thinks the show would work just as well if Mindy settled down and had kids.
16. Mindy is part of The Mindy Project theme song: Kaling's voice was used for the odd hip-hop-influenced song that was written by Novak's brother Jesse Novak.
17. Voiceover isn't just for the actors: Executive producer Matt Warburton is the voice of the person who says after the show, "Go to bed."
18. A Hollywood star resembles fungi: Apparently, an unnamed actor looks enough like a shitake mushroom that Kaling had a picture of the star and a shitake mushroom pinned up side by side in the writers' room.
Should these shows die already? Vote!
19. Kaling is tech-savvy: Unlike her character, who had a spare phone because she couldn't figure out how to transfer her contacts, Kaling says, "That was not a biological detail. I can transfer my contacts."
20. There are no limits to the dream casting: Kaling would love Danny McBride to play Mindy's un-fabulous, brawler gay friend who has a crush on Danny; for Judge Judy to play Morgan's grandmother; Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson as Jeremy's dad; and The Office's Rainn Wilson to come on and play someone "dapper and sexy."
Watch the full Paley Festival session for The Mindy Project on Hulu.
The Mindy Project returns with all-new episodes on Tuesday, March 19 at 9:30/8:30c on Fox.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Mindy Project