Mindy Kaling on That Epic Final Moment, the Chances of a Third Season and Chris Messina's "Soft Little Pillow-Magnets"

Exclusive: The Mindy Project mastermind opens up about the moment fans are freaking out over

By Kristin Dos Santos Jan 22, 2014 5:55 AMTags
The Mindy Project, Chris Messina, Mindy KalingJordin Althaus/FOX

Holy feels, Batman.

Let's just say that if you missed the winter finale of The Mindy Project on Fox, you missed what is assuredly one of the most epic [Spoiler Alert!] first-kiss scenes in the history of television—on the TV show that is currently blowing every other comedy out of the water this season.

And tonight? We are…bare…ly…breathing.

Not only because the episode was that good, but because we just got Mindy herself to answer our burning questions, including the prospects of a third season, her dream guest stars (hello, Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway and Beyonce!) and Chris Messina's (Danny) "soft little pillow-magnet" lips. Read on, and be advised that if you are not watching this show, you are making a very poor life choice. And how dare you.

THAT. KISS. It has taken our obsession your show to new heights. Do you have any sort of advice for fans who cannot fathom waiting until April 1 to see what happens next?
It was a really good kiss. Chris Messina's kissing rivals his dancing. You should rewind it a bunch or make a GIF of it. You also can encourage your pals to watch the show from the beginning and watch it all over again with them.

How did you decide that this would be the right time for Mindy and Danny to kiss?
It used to be an open debate about "if" these characters should ever kiss. As season two progressed and Danny and Mindy grew even closer, it became more of a discussion about "when." There are only so many times two characters can almost-kiss before your audience begins to feel jerked around. We could have kept up the loaded tension between Danny and Mindy for a while longer, but I think at a certain point, the option that seemed the most fun to write was to have them kiss and deal with the comedic fallout for these characters. Also, my writing staff think Chris Messina's lips are like soft little pillow-magnets.

What happens when the show returns April 1?
When we come back, we're going to be dealing with the immediate fallout of that kiss. Right before the kiss, Mindy sent an email to Cliff to try to win him back, so our spring premiere will be dealing with the consequences of bad timing. We've also got some great guest stars coming up in the rest of the season: Anna Gunn will be playing a rival doctor from an all-female practice, and Bill Hader will be returning in a super funny episode about a sex tape. Our first two episodes back are titled "French Me, You Idiot" and "Indian BBW". It's just super funny and racy stuff.

Writing that airplane kiss scene…How did it compare to working on Jim and Pam's first kiss scene on The Office?
I think this is a very different experience from Jim and Pam. Jim and Pam were much more similar in their personalities -- it was easy to see how those two people would like each other. They were also a lot more timid than Mindy and Danny, so their relationship grew incrementally. Danny and Mindy want to kill each other at least once an episode, but they're also so impulsive that this kiss felt like a totally believable thing for them to do in the back of an airplane. Neither one of them is really great at thinking before he/she acts.

How did you decide that an airplane would be Danny and Mindy's "thing"? (First hand-hold…first kiss). Any plans for an airplane wedding?
An airplane wedding is a fantastic idea that I will steal for my own personal life, but that's not anything we've ever talked about in writers room. There are a lot of steps between a kiss and a wedding (unless you're a fairytale princess, in which case, awesome). I guess when you think about it, airplanes are a weirdly emotionally-charged setting. I mean, I cry at every movie I watch on an airplane, and We Bought A Zoo isn't even that sad.

Do you have an endgame in mind for how you want Danny and Mindy to end up…when the series ends 20 years from now?
Oh god, 20 years from now? It'll be shocking if they're not dead in a murder-suicide by that point. 

Why do you think Mindy and Danny are a good fit?
Oh, I think they're a terrible fit. If these characters were to ever end up getting married, I think they'd at least suggest living married in two separate apartments. But despite their extreme differences, I think Mindy and Danny are appealing together because underneath all their differences, they deeply care about each other. They share zero percent of the same opinions, but they're both very emotional and I think they're drawn to that in each other.

When Danny told Mindy to "look like a woman," we think it really empowered a lot of female viewers to embrace who they are and stop obsessing over their flaws. Is that something you were hoping to accomplish? 
Yes! Thank you! I'm so glad people connected with that episode. While Danny's line is very charming, I really think that the most important moment in that episode is when Mindy is by herself and looks at her body in the mirror and is pleased with what she sees. Mindy's win isn't validation from Danny, but reaching a place where she feels happy with the body she has.

How are you feeling about the chances of another season?
I don't like to speculate about that sort of stuff because it's completely out of my hands. All I can control is the quality of the show we're making, and make a show I would love to see, and hope people out there have similar taste as me.  Kevin Reilly is the smartest guy I know, and he has told me many times just to make a good show, and not worry about the rest of it. I love that about him. So until we tells me otherwise, I'll just keep operating under the assumption that much like the Pope, I'll have this job until I die. 

Any guest stars you're hoping to get? Would you ever have your friend Lena Dunham guest star and would you ever guest star on Girls?
Lena's wonderful and I'd love to have her on the show (Morgan's prison wife seems like a good use of her) but I hear she is pretty busy. Is the sky the limit here? If we're not operating under the rules of reality, I'd love an episode where Danny McBride, Beyonce, Reese Witherspoon and Idris Elba are all in the same barre class as me. Anne Hathaway is the instructor.  

P.S. Does Chris Messina really have disgusting feet? The women of America need to know.
No, his feet are perfect just like the rest of his body and it's infuriating.

The Mindy Project returns to Fox on April 1.