'Mindy Project': Season 4 to Introduce New Female Friend Character

"It's hard to make friends as an adult woman," said Kaling. "In L.A., the only people you meet are women in your spin class. You wonder what the motivations are, but you're so desperate for friends!"
Patrick McElhenney/FOX
'The Mindy Project'

Mindy Kaling is excited about her show's new home at Hulu.

"My TV show, which is the love of my life, has been through a lot of changes. … It's like being in a really rocky relationship — it's been more dramatic than any love life has been, this show that's about romance and dating," the Mindy Project creator and star excitedly reflected while previewing her upcoming book, Why Not Me? at BookCon on Saturday morning at New York City's Javits Center. "The writers room is starting up on Monday!"

Now that the show is off network television, can fans expect more risque shots of her onscreen beau, Chris Messina? "Can we just be all sex and drugs? Matt [Warburton] and I are both smart writers but also repressed people. We decided we want people who tuned into the show to tune in for two reasons: because we're doing things we couldn’t do on network TV, but also not giving up what people love. … And so much of romance comes from restraint, and the things you don't see. … I always have to remind myself that a little goes a long way."

But don't worry, she reassured: "I think we are gonna push the envelope in ways we haven’t been able to, which is great."

One major focus of the upcoming fourth season will be female friendship, since her character Mindy Lahiri doesn't have many of them. "It's hard to make friends as an adult woman. … In L.A., the only people you meet are women in your spin class. And you have to wonder, if a woman seeks you out at spin class, you wonder what the motivations are! But you're so desperate for friends. … It's much harder to find someone you want to talk to than a man you want to sleep with."

The topic is also touched on in her upcoming book in a chapter is called "Player," about "a female friend I had in my mid-20s when I was in New York who — I never experienced this before — seduced me as a friend and dumped me." Plus, she vowed it'll be that of her personal life as well. "The only thing I want to do in the next five years is make a good friend."

The deliberate decision to feature a female friendship on Mindy Project is notable, as the series underwent a midseason shuffle in its freshman run. Amanda Setton and Anna Camp, who played a co-worker and friend of Mindy Lahiri's, respectively, eventually exited the series, and the topic hasn't been a top theme since then. Mary Grill also played a friend in season one.

When a fan asked what Kaling has learned from her onscreen alter ego, the actress and author said, "She's so much smarter than me in some ways — she's a surgeon, and OB-GYN … but in some other ways, she's just a narcissistic, crazy, 25-year-old woman. Those two dials, I feel like a lot of us have those."

Still, moderator B.J. Novak praised, "I think you've learned to become more yourself and be excellent, and not having those be in conflict."

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