The first season finale of FOX’s The Mindy Project left fans with a little bit of a cliffhanger. In case you need a refresher: Mindy (Mindy Kaling) cut off her hair as a symbol could compromise and take herself out of her comfort zone– and to show her boyfriend (guest star Anders Holm) that she was ready to go with him to Haiti. Meanwhile, Danny (Chris Messina) had gotten back together with his ex-wife (guest star Chloe Sevigny). The cliffhanger aspect came in because Mindy is such a specific personality, there were so many wild possibilities of how she’d “deal” in Haiti. Thankfully, though, the writers and producers see the humor in that “fish out of water” aspect of her character and will be exploring some of it when season two picks up.
“We [do] find out what happens to Mindy in Haiti. At the end of the season, Matt kind of wrote that and then was like, ‘Oh I guess we have to address it now!’ It’s challenging and fun,” Kaling addressed critics, LA TV Insider Examiner included, at a special set visit to the show during the TCA tour in Los Angeles.
The Mindy Project will split Mindy’s time in Haiti between the medical work she’s doing there and the relationship side to her, as well, sharing a very small cabin with her doctor boyfriend. Though Kaling admitted that when she first started the show last season, she intended for it to be mainly a workplace comedy, that was in great part because her only prior television experience had been on a workplace comedy.
“When we started seeing cuts of episodes, we noticed that was a part we loved about the show, but there was this seeing Mindy on dates [that] was really fun and seeing a person fail at romance [was fun] in a way you couldn’t really show in the office. That’s probably been the single biggest difference, in my opinion,” Kaling said of her experience and the approach to season two.
This time around, when Mindy returns to New York, she not only has to readjust to live in her OBGYN office but also life with the colorful cast of characters around her who have all “advanced” since she left.
“The first few episodes are sort of about [her] relationships and sort of re-introducing the world we’ve grown to love,” series executive producer Matt Warburton said.
Along those lines, Mindy will have to deal with an “impromptu wedding” in her apartment that comes complete with a cake disaster. Kaling shared that the cake came from an “exotic” cake store, and the only options were one that looked like a penis or one that looked like a Torah, so the better option for Mindy was to go with the penis cake. But she and her friends get creative and manage to find a way to turn the penis into a rocket ship.
New characters will be coming in, including James Franco as Mindy’s nemesis, as well as Adam Pally as a new gynecologist in the office, Jeremy’s (Ed Weeks) dad, who Kaling would love to dream cast as Rowan Atkinson, and the band The Nationals who will perform on a music festival episode that threatens Casey (Holms) and Mindy’s relationship further because “I hate live music. [He] loves live music, and he knows every band. I hate songs,” per Kaling. It is unconfirmed if the music festival episode is truly the last straw in their relationship, but it was confirmed that Mindy will be single again soon enough in this second season, and Holms is only appearing in a few episodes as a guest star.
Sevigny and Bill Hader are both returning, at least for a little while. After the events of the season finale, “Danny’s kind of gone suburban; he’s living in New Jersey,” revealed series writer and star Ike Barinholtz. When it comes to Hader, Barinholtz pointed out that the more messed up his character’s life is every time Mindy runs into him again, the funnier it is, so “after this last episode, we’re just going to have to light him on fire.”
Pally’s character sticks around a little bit longer, though, to officially join the team and be able to expand the workplace a bit more than they were able to in the first season.
“There’s so much comedy in that world…[We have this] great idea of getting a call from one of your patients who was just on spring break and thinks [she’s] pregnant and calls in the middle of the night, freaking out about that kind of thing. There’s so many inappropriate and funny and relatable [topics] that come up with patients that we’re working into the scripts,” Kaling said.
But when specifically asked about Pally’s new doctor on the block, Kaling shared that the character was born of her own experience attending Dartmouth and meeting a very specific type of guy there.
“Until now I have not been able to satirize my favorite kind of Dartmouth character, which is a kind of well-educated frat guy who is both congenial and ultra into his frat. And Pally has…this very fun “bro” energy that also kind of exudes warmth in a way that’s rare,” Kaling said.
And Barinholtz added, talking about both the character and Pally himself: “He’s able to play low status while playing high status. He’s able to do something really demeaning but be glad about it, you know what I mean? Like, ‘What a great day, I’m going to go home and knock out a French bread pizza!'”
The Mindy Project returns to FOX on September 17 2013 at 9:30 p.m.
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