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When we last saw Mindy Lahiri, she was being passionately kissed by Danny Castellano 5,000 feet above ground. The screaming auditorium of fans at Tuesday’s PaleyFest panel with the cast of The Mindy Project, however, got to see what happens next in the April 1 returning episode.
After the screening, creator and star Mindy Kaling joined Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz, Ed Weeks, Zoe Jarman, Beth Grant, Xosha Roquemore and executive producer Matt Warburton to talk what was at the front of everyone’s minds: that kiss.
Warburton revealed that he knew they wanted the kiss to be on an airplane but needed to decide exactly where it would land in the season. And while comparisons to its closest relation, Nick and Jess from New Girl, were curiously absent, Kaling did draw comparisons between Mindy and Danny on her show to the likes of Jim and Pam on The Office and Liz and Jack on 30 Rock. “Jim and Pam’s love was beautiful and pristine,” Kaling said. “This was more an expression of passion and lust pent up than it was love and feelings. It was a different kind of thing.”
What’s left in the wake of such a lip-lock? “Moving forward, there are more bumps in the road,” Warburton teased, and Kaling added: “The fall-out is going to play out. The last eight episodes build up like a roller coaster.”
When the show returns after months of hiatus, Kaling said she looks at those final episodes of the show’s second season (which returns for a third, despite lackluster ratings) as a miniseries. “We got to do that thing we’re so jealous of our cable friends,” she said.
Messina received rabid cheering and applause upon nearly every mention of his name, with the other hot topic of the panel being that dance from the “Christmas Sex Trap” episode. His co-stars lovingly mocked and poked fun at him throughout the evening. “When they first presented [the idea] to me, I was extremely nervous and mad I had told them I dance,” Messina said, referring to his dance training as a child. “But then I thought it was a really original and fresh thing to come up with.”
One audience member, after being called on, even played Aaliyah’s “Try Again” from her phone, trying to prompt him to perform the dance. Messina stood up and walked toward center stage to massive cheers, paused for a moment and then immediately sat back down. So close.
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William Jackson Harper