The Mindy Project returns to Hulu for its fifth season and I’ve got approximately a million questions. The first and foremost being: WTF, Danny Castellano?! The season ended with Danny and Mindy boning in a broken elevator even though Danny was engaged to another woman. Not very cool or tight, Danny! Cosmopolitan.com was able to sit down with star, producer, showrunner, fashion icon, and everyone’s imaginary best friend, Mindy Kaling, to talk about her character’s new love triangle, STDs, and whether or not women like jerks. Jerks like Danny Castellano. (OK, I’ll leave it alone. For now.)
First, it should be noted that Mindy was wearing the best dress I’ve ever seen in my life: a sparkly, colorful knit dream that I’m still coveting days later. Do want!
Now onto the interview!
What does it say about Danny that he had sex with Mindy when he was engaged to another woman?
One thing that I pride myself on in the show is that none of the people, especially in this trio of characters that are in this love triangle - they’re all so flawed. They’ve all done big, bad things in a way that you don’t see in a traditional romantic comedy with the same characters, where everyone has to be so pure and puritanical.
He’s not proud of it and Mindy’s certainly not happy about it either when she discovers it. It felt like juicy and real, and it felt like when these two characters are together, some things are kind of bound to happen. He can still redeem himself, but it wasn’t great.
Has Danny always been this big of a dick?
When I think of him, I love the character. I don’t think of him as a dick. I know a lot of people see it [that way] and I understand why they do; they have every right to. To me, it’s like, what he’s done, his beliefs and all the things that he’s said, they are some things that people aren’t a fan of, but he seems really real to me.
I think he’s always been a guy who’s thought things that are unpopular. He’s always said things that are going to be a little controversial. At times he’s been not very feminist, but what has been nice about the character is that he’s always really challenged Mindy.
[He] is a charismatic person, who challenges you, you think is your level, who makes you a better person in a lot of different ways ... it’s complicated. He has a lot of bad qualities too and so does Mindy. She’s said some even worse stuff than him.
Do you think Danny is sexist?
Danny is a character who would not identify as a feminist, is what I would say. Would I call him a straight-up sexist? No. Has he done sexist things? I think so.
Do you think women in general like guys who are a little bit mean?
I think women in general like men that don’t give them the thing that we want. We want a chase. They talk about how men are chasers, but women are just like that too. At least a lot of the women that I know, who tend to be ambitious, professionally driven women, they love that. Like seeking something professional that is hard to get, I think they feel the same way about men.
I think women in general like men that don’t give them the thing that we want. We want a chase.
Do you think that Mindy and Danny will ever get to a point where they can be friends?
I think that they are friends now. They have a friendship that’s very fraught. There’s a lot of stuff that they do to each other that is very toxic, but there are certain things that they turn to each other for that they wouldn’t turn to anyone else for. They also both think the other is a good parent, which is something that we don’t talk in the show about a lot because it’s not funny to be like, "Hey, Danny, I think you’re a good father." That’s kind of what redeems them a lot in the show, is that regardless of how they are with each other romantically, they both know that they are good parents.
Was it important for you to show good co-parenting?
It was important for me to show the audience that a woman can be like Mindy and have her crazy personality and her work schedule and still be a devoted mother. That was important to me.
That you can be a working mother successfully?
Also not a perfect working mother. She’s not always being this kind, benevolent person. She treats some of her staff terribly but she’s inherently a good and ambitious person who can also take care of her son.
Now, what do you think about Jody, do you think he’s a good dude?
He is another character who is very prickly, who’s done some terrible things. In many ways, the greatest thing that no boyfriend has done for [Mindy Lahiri], is his belief in her professionally. He supports her and that’s something that Mindy has really been looking for. Whether or not they’re destined to be together, I don’t know that, but I do think he’s become a person that just supports Mindy in a way that she’s never felt before.
The chlamydia story line: Was that based on anyone’s real experience?
[Laughs.] No, no, no.
Did you hesitate to have Mindy strike up a romance with another coworker after Danny? What does the show say about workaholics and romance?
This to me is the most real part of the show. It’s just that if you work long hours, which I do and I have a completely different job that Mindy Lahiri, you tend to date people that you work with. That’s probably true with a lot women, especially in metropolitan areas, who are career-driven to the extent that they spend a lot of time at work. For me that wasn’t strange at all. She’s dated so many guys outside of work that it felt like two guys in five years is not that crazy.
Do you think you’ll continue to explore her dating as a single mom?
Oh yeah, for sure. There are no shows that are showing single moms dating and being somewhat successful. I was reading this interview with Pamela Adlon, talking about her new show [Better Things, about a single mother of three], which I’m so excited for. She said that as a fortysomething mom of three and living in L.A., she’s "invisible" - and she’s beautiful and cool. And I hate that and I think that if I can do anything - I’m not a mother and I’ve never been married and I don’t have kids, but I want to show someone who is having an active dating life, because that should be what we see reflected all of the time.
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