As the streaming and TV universes continue to collide, the writers of the former-Fox-now-Hulu comedy The Mindy Project gathered last week at UCB Sunset in Los Angeles for an Emmy For Your Consideration panel. Will there be big changes now that the show has found a new home at Hulu? Will there be more adventurous episodes like “I Slipped”? Here’s what we found out.
After the first week back in the writers’ room, showrunner Mindy Kaling shared that, yes, Dr. Mindy Lahiri is still pregnant at the start of the new season and “we’re fleshing out the characters of Mindy’s parents. They’re very big characters.” Kaling also confirmed we’ll see more of Rhea Perlman as Danny’s mother, Annette Castellano. We can’t wait for the in-laws to meet.
Kaling said, “We also have ideas for fun new characters in the office. We’re doing 26 episodes for Hulu and we’re doing more conceptual things.” It’s an understandably vague statement, considering the writers have only been at work for a week.
Have the new Hulu bosses imposed any restrictions? Executive producer Matt Warburton jokingly promised at least one mention of the word tits this season. Fellow producer Ike Barinholtz (who plays Morgan Tookers) said Warburton came into the writers’ room at the start of this season and wrote dem titties on the board. “Tits are off-brand for us. Our true demo is Steve Colbert’s daughters,” said Barinholtz. “We can’t make too many sharp turns.” Producer David Stassen said the writers pitch mostly clean stuff then on set, but they’ll add “one fuck and then there’ll be a lot of fucks.”
The show’s core will continue to have Mindy and Danny experiencing the ups and downs every couple faces. Writer and co-executive producer Charlie Grandy explained that at the start of last season, “The stakes of an episode were never going to be “Are they breaking up?” and after that decision, the stories started to flow. Kaling added, “What was nice is they’re two adults who want to make a go at it. They love each other and they have problems, but they just get over things.” About her fictional alter ego, Kaling said, “Mindy is resilient. Things just keep flying at her but she’s so real that way. She doesn’t just bail because her feelings are hurt. That’s really the way life works: Life is hard and relationships are hard and people don’t just move out because of a misunderstanding.”
When the talk turned to whether Mindy Lahiri is a role model, Kaling chose her words carefully. “I think it becomes tricky because I actually don’t think Mindy Lahiri is a role model,” said Kaling. “She’s a comedy character, the way Michael Scott is a comedy character, and Kenny Powers is a comedy character and women crave seeing women as leads so much. I think we conflate the two, but if anything, I would like to be the person girls look up to, except for some of the things I’ve said this evening.” Matt Warburton added, “If you’re talking about balancing priorities, I think it’s easy to tell people what they want to hear, like ‘Women can have it all.’ What we try to do sometimes is say, ‘Maybe you can’t have it all, but you get to choose what you do have.’ And I think that’s a more realistic, balanced position for a woman in 2015.”