It’s a clear evening in late March in Los Angeles, and the view from the Soho Club — situated atop a Sunset Boulevard office tower — is spectacular. A party for press and the stars and producers of NBC Universal comedies and dramas is winding down, but Mindy Kaling has arrived at her favorite part of the evening — dessert.
Settled on a couch with her feet tucked under her, digging into a plate of sweets, the star and executive producer of FOX’s “The Mindy Project” is facing an April and May free of the angst being suffered by those whose shows haven’t already been renewed for a new season.
Kaling got the word on Season 3 from FOX programming chief Kevin Reilly in early March, so she’s sitting pretty.
“It’s nice having Kevin pick up the show again,” she says to Zap2it, “because he could have made us wait. We’ve not been on the air for a month, and to get the pickup was great, because it was based on episodes that FOX had seen eternally coming in.
“It’s such a nice vote of confidence, but also, I’m very excited for a week from today, when we’re back on the air.”
“The Mindy Project” airs Tuesdays (and concludes its second season on May 6), with Kaling playing romcom-obsessed obstetrician Dr. Mindy Lahiri, whose rocky road through love keeps getting detoured toward her co-worker, OB/GYN Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina).
This season, the two got as close to an actual relationship as they ever have, but alas, at least for now, they seem destined to be stalled in the friend zone.
“Danny made it so clear in the pilot,” she says, “that she was not somebody that he ever would find attractive, physically or personality-wise. I think that imprinted on her. Their friendship is surprising to both of them.”
Since the two have flirted with actual love, was Danny telling the truth then?
“I think he was telling the truth in the heat of an angry moment,” Kaling says. “I think that’s what he felt. But the character, as it turns out — and the way Chris plays him especially — has such a deep well of sensitivity, in both senses of the word ‘sensitivity.’
“He’s both sensitive to other people’s feelings more than we even thought, and also deeply sensitive to people hurting him. He lashes out a lot when he’s being attacked. Their friendship is a surprise to both the characters – at least that’s how they’re playing it. That’s how it’s coming across.”
As to what she wants in real life, Kaling says, “I want dessert with every meal. I’d like to be able to sleep in a little bit. The problem is, now that I can sleep in, I’m so used to getting up at 5 for acting — once you’ve done that for 22 episodes, it’s hard.
“There’s naps. The joy of a nap is a big part of my life.”
While Kaling is apparently still looking for her one and only, she says writing about TV Mindy’s search for hers isn’t helping.
“We’re storytelling,” she says. “It’s very divorced from my own life. The characters and the situations are very different from my own life. And the characters act in very romantic ways. I don’t know anyone that would make romantic overtures the way they do on my show, which is too bad.
“The kind of dramas that are happening to her aren’t happening to me. I edit, and I watch ‘House of Cards.'”
And if dating gets hard, there’s always work.
“My job is,” Kaling says, “I work with 12 of my favorite people. That’s one of the great benefits of my job.”