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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season-three episode, “No More Mr. Noishe Guy,” of Fox’s The Mindy Project.]
Last Tuesday’s episode of The Mindy Project was simultaneously an end and a beginning — one that executive producer Matt Warburton says reinforces the series’ focus on “adult romance.”
Though the episode was a sendoff for Adam Pally‘s Peter Prentice, who opted to quit his job at Shulman & Associates and move to Texas with Lauren (Tracey Wigfield), he dropped a bomb as he was leaving New York City: He told Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) that she’s pregnant — a shocking reveal, since Mindy is contemplating the opportunity to start a world-class fertility clinic in San Francisco, complete with a position for her boyfriend, Danny (Chris Messina), who had just purchased a Harlem brownstone for the two of them.
“We thought it was a perfect time to do it — Mindy is facing this incredibly big life decision at work, and just in the middle of that, to have the biggest personal thing that could possibly happen too,” Warburton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This is the best thing we could do to really escalate the things that are most fun about them as a couple. And Peter is the person who is on Mindy’s case medically, so to have him be the person who actually knows this information, just as he’s leaving, felt fun to us.”
And don’t worry, Pally fans: Regarding that Peter-Lauren-Jeremy love triangle, “it’s not over — we’ll definitely still be hearing more about the three of them.”
THR caught up with Warburton to see how Peter’s big decision came about, why the writers opted to give Mindy a bun in the oven, and what’s ahead for Mindy and Danny — besides “lots of sweating and lots of crying from Chris Messina,” that is.
How did the decision to have Peter move to Texas come about?
From the beginning, we’ve always known that we’d only have Adam for a certain amount of time, so when we were building the season, we were trying to find ways to take our supporting characters and build them into what’s going on with Mindy in her life with Danny. We thought a great way to have Peter exit the show was to have him do something that’s truly romantic at a time when Mindy and Danny are both facing some real world, unromantic options in front of them. To see him sacrifice everything for love, that’s gonna register differently for [Mindy and Danny] than it would be at other times. This moment in the season was the perfect time to have that happen.
Was that always the intentional ending of the Peter-Lauren-Jeremy love triangle?
It’s not over — we’ll definitely still be hearing more about the three of them. I don’t think we had planned it as far as knowing where it was going to go; I think we always felt we were in Peter’s point-of-view in that love triangle story. Jeremy is this threat that forced Peter to finally grow up and be a better guy, dating this brain surgeon who is smarter than him, has a kid and is probably a better person. She came into this as the one thing that finally woke him up about what a, sort of, fratty piece of garbage he was!
Will we be seeing Pally again soon?
Our show never lets go of people typically, so we’re definitely, through the end of the season, going to see what happens with this crazy thing Peter’s done. Also, Jeremy’s still a little upset about how this all went down, and it’ll definitely have some ramifications. He sort of feels like it’s impossible for him to find love, which has some funny blow-back on his end.
So Mindy’s pregnant! Was that decision part of Adam’s exit at all?
It was really a completely separate discussion. On the one hand, we kept thinking of fun stories we’d get to tell when she’s pregnant and attitudes Danny would have towards it, and it was just a way to raise the temperature on them as a couple and highlight the things that were interesting about them earlier in the season, about what an unlikely pair they are, how crazy their families are. We thought it was a perfect time to do it — Mindy is facing this incredibly big life decision at work, and just in the middle of that, to have the biggest personal thing that could possibly happen too. And in a world where Mindy and Danny love each other, we haven’t been playing the “they’re about to break up” that much this season, this is the best thing we could do to really escalate the things that are most fun about them as a couple. And Peter is the person who is on Mindy’s case medically, so to have him be the person who actually knows this information, just as he’s leaving, felt fun to us.
Is the show broadening from a workplace comedy to a family comedy? How much will it change?
I think our feeling is — and I don’t know if it’s registered this way to the audience — having Mindy and Danny be together kind of takes the two halves of the show, the workplace side and the romance side, and combines them. It’s actually been much easier for us because we don’t have to constantly find a new love interest for Mindy, write him into the show in a coincidence-y way, play it out and find a sad way for them to break up. Given that Mindy and Danny are such strong personalities, we can have a lot of it play out at work, with everyone reacting to it — when they’re having a fight, everyone knows about it; when they’re really passionate with each other, everyone’s disgusted by it. It’s given us this great tool, and hopefully with the pregnancy and everything else, we’ll find even more ways to use our supporting cast at work, because Mindy and Danny are going to need even more help than before in figuring all of this out.
The focus is still on adult romance, but whenever we introduce something like the pregnancy, it’s because, in our opinion, it gives us even more types of stories to do. We think the more dynamics and members of the family we meet, the more trouble these two people can get into. I think even with the baby in the picture, the focus is still on the romantic struggle of these two people. Lots of sweating and lots of crying from Chris Messina.
There have been a slew of casting changes since the show first debuted. Why do you think that is?
It’s been evolving literally since the beginning of the show, and it’s something that, at this point in the series, we embrace, where we have just a tight focus around Mindy — she’s what the show’s all about. It kind of happens in real life: Some people are always there, some people come and go and return in a surprising way. You know your family’s always gonna be there, you know your co-workers might not be, and everybody else is kind of in between. Pally’s an interesting example because he’s someone we knew we were gonna have for over a season, but at the end of it, we were pretty sure he was gonna go on to his own stuff. We created a character and had as much fun as we could with him — and have a great relationship with Adam and hope he comes back as much as he can — but we want to keep the world as open as possible. So I’d say that anybody from the history of this show who’s ever been on it, we would love to see again. Obviously, there’s the ins and outs of how deals work, but we always come back to the realism of, we’re focused on Mindy, Mindy and Danny, and the family they’re making. We have people pop in and out of the show primarily just to emphasize things that are interesting about that core relationship. We’re gonna keep doing it — having fun new characters, bringing people into the workplace, and just seeing what happens.
What did you think of last Tuesday’s episode? Sound off in the comments below!
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