“Behind the Story” Recap: “The Mindy Project”
The hilarious cast of The Mindy Project gets thoughtful about the unique sitcom that brought them all together on this week’s BEHIND THE STORY. The PaleyFest panel’s breakout star emerges right out of the gate as moderator Jarrett Wieselman of BuzzFeed asks about a certain character’s fan-favorite status this season. Creator/star Mindy Kaling is on the same page, admitting, “Danny Castellano is my favorite character that I’ve ever written for.”
By way of explanation, Kaling and executive producer Matt Warburton heap praise on actor Chris Messina, crediting the star’s charisma and talent with making the gruff Dr. Castellano likable despite his flaws—comparing it to Steve Carell’s work on Kaling’s last show, The Office.
Messina returned the favor, calling Kaling a better kisser than the other cast-member Dr. Danny once smooched on-screen. Ike Barinholtz storms off the stage in protest and cracks up the audience, but Kaling and Warburton get serious, digging into the storytelling decisions behind Mindy and Danny’s unforgettable first kiss aboard an airplane last season. Chief amongst reasons to take the romance to the next level, it turns out, was Kaling’s desire to avoid “jerk[ing] the audience around” with extended will-they-or-won’t-they shenanigans.
All that respect for the audience apparently pays off, as conversation comes around to the series’ rabid fanbase. Barinholtz shares a theory on the following’s cultish intensity, crediting the public’s connection to both Mindys, real and fictional. “Everyone wants to be her best friend,” chimes in Beth Grant.
The crowd goes wild as Chris Messina reveals that Danny’s passionate “butt grab” during the aforementioned kiss was improvised, before conversation moves to the time Dr. Castellano accidentally walked in on Tamara and a naked Morgan, the show’s new couple.
Xosha Roquemore says she loves her plotline with Morgan and gives her thoughts on Tamara’s approach to her co-workers at Shulman & Associates: “I mind my business, y’all mind y’alls.”
Beth Grant raves about her own experience on the show, sharing why she loves playing the wild Beverly: “I’m from the South and I’m so repressed… It’s freeing!”
Barinholtz mimics guest star James Franco before busting out a wicked impression of fellow panelist Ed Weeks.
Messina explains that he told Kaling his dance teacher mother made sure he learned some moves at an early age, admitting he was “extremely nervous and mad” that he’d shared the information when he learned Danny’s scene dancing to Aaliyah at the office Christmas party had been scripted.
Barinholtz pulls one last impersonation, slumping into his chair to become absent co-star Adam Pally and answer a few questions as Pally.