“The death of comedy is political correctness,” Mindy Kaling said at The Mindy Project Q&A at PaleyFest. The comment was apropos of some lines delivered on the show, but could be a response to the group Media Action Network for Asian- Americans which wants Kaling’s character to stop dating so many white guys on the series. “We are concerned that in the course of two seasons, her character, Dr. Lahiri, has had a ‘white-only’ dating policy involving about a dozen men,” the org wrote the other day to Fox, noting Kaling’s “strangely defensive” response to Entertainment Weekly on the subject: “Do people really wonder on other shows if female leads are dating multicultural people? Like I owe it to every race and minority and beleaguered person. I have to become the United Nations of shows?” At PaleyFest tonight, Kaling said of her show, “My writing staff on this show is the best writing staff on television…they love women and love their characters”
Nobody attending PaleyFest’s session on the show asked about that. Ticket-buyers did, however, beg to know more about That Kiss between Kaling’s Dr. Lahiri and Chris Messina’s Danny Castellano at the season finale. The season finale kiss took place on a plane because planes haves particular meaning on the show, explained EP Matt Warburton. “As writers, we can write dialogue and arcs and stories, but we can’t write chemistry,” Kaling said. “You can’t script when Chris makes the choice as Danny to always touch my back as I walk across the street. After a while, it became not if they would do it, but when would they do it.” Added Warburton, “At a certain point you’ve got to deliver, because they’re adults and there’s something there.”
Some time was spent knocking around a guest-star wish list; it included Neil deGrasse Tyson, Clive Owens, Woody Harrelson, Dustin Hoffman, Beyonce, Idris Elba, Keanu Reeves, and Sam Rockwell. Someone mentioned Gene Hackman, and Kaling shot back “What’s Gene Hackman’s role in our world?” When James Franco was a guest on the show last September, he seemed most taken with Beth Grant, Kaling said. “James Franco came to set — noted weirdo — said hello to us, sat, we were trying to make small talk with him. It’s impossible to make small talk with James Franco. But when he saw Beth, he lit up.” Grant said her Beverly character on the show “will just say anything that comes to her mind. It’s great for me because I grew up in the South and I’m so repressed. I was taught good manners are more important than anything else in life.”
One ticket buyer wanted to know if the characters on the Fox comedy, produced by NBCU, were quirky or insane. “The actors are quirky; the characters are insane – Ed [Weeks] is an asshole,” Barinholtz said.
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Another ticket-buyer asked Kaling if she had reached that “ultimate level of fame equivalent to Conan O’Brien” that she wrote about in a book, adding “I think you’ve far exceeded that.” Answered Kaling: “My level of fame is perfect, because people just think they went to space camp with me – ‘You were a nerd at my high school’ – which is nice.”