THE MINDY PROJECT at PaleyFest: The Cast and Producers on the Decision to Pair Danny and Mindy, and What Comes Next | Give Me My Remote

THE MINDY PROJECT at PaleyFest: The Cast and Producers on the Decision to Pair Danny and Mindy, and What Comes Next

March 26, 2014 by  

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THE MINDY PROJECT has been off the air since January, and one of the things that has kept fans buzzing in that time was Danny and Mindy’s episode-ending kiss. But while some viewers may have been waiting for that moment for much (or all) of the show’s run, the people behind the series weren’t initially sure they’d go down that road with those characters.

“As writers, we can write dialogues and arcs to the story, but we can’t write chemistry,” THE MINDY PROJECT creator/star Mindy Kaling (Mindy) pointed out during Tuesday night’s PaleyFest panel honoring the series. “And for the longest time…we thought it could be like 30 ROCK, where Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon [were] just colleagues. And then we had other people saying it was inevitable [Danny and Mindy got together]. You can’t script chemistry. You can’t script that whenever we cross the street [Chris Messina (Danny)] touches my back. After a while, it became not ‘if’ they kiss, but ‘when.'”

The potential coupling of Mindy and Danny has drawn comparisons to Kaling’s former series, THE OFFICE, where co-workers/friends Jim and Pam has their own slow build to a relationship, but Kaling isn’t as sold on that analogy.

“Jim and Pam….their love was this beautiful and pristine and sacred thing, and they were so like-minded,” Kaling said. “And they were young. The kiss was more of an expression, in my mind, of passion and lust [versus] an ‘I love you’ feeling.”

“Also, with Jim and Pam, you could tell from the first episode they were in love,” THE MINDY PROJECT co-producer/star Ike Barinholtz (Morgan) added. “For our show, [Danny and Mindy] have a very antagonistic relationship. You could tell underneath it there was something there, but it wasn’t like Jim and Pam.”

Once the show decided to explore a potential romance between Danny and Mindy, the writers knew where they wanted the kiss to happen…it just became a question of when.

“I remember when we decided it was going to be on an airplane — because airplanes have a particular meaning for the show,” THE MINDY PROJECT showrunner Matt Warburton recalled. “Then the next thing [to figure out] was where in the season to do it.”

And by placing the kiss as the cliffhanger before the show’s hiatus, they were able to to achieve two things: build fan excitement, and let the ramifications play out in one big chunk of episodes.

“What’s great about it is the excitement our fans have in seeing the show come back on the air,” Kaling said of the show’s upcoming return. “It’s wonderful. We have two back-to-back episodes on April 1st, and then another two back-to-back episodes [the next week]…it’s basically like a mini-series, these last eight.”

“We could plan the last eight as one story,” Warburton added. “We have this crazy thing that happened [with Danny and Mindy]…and it’s going to play out like a roller coaster, straight through. It was so great to have that opportunity to know that [scheduling decision] early enough so we could plan it: what are the best eight episodes we could tell one coherent story about the fallout of thing fans have been waiting for the entire season?”

Based on what Kaling had to say about the episodes, she was pleased with the outcome.

“These next eight episodes, are the best eight episodes of television I’ve ever been a part of in my entire career,” Kaling gushed. “And I hope people watch them.”

THE MINDY PROJECT returns Tuesday, April 1st at 9 PM on Fox.

Related:

PaleyFest 2014: THE MINDY PROJECT Panel Photos

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