Mindy Kaling stars as romance addict 0
Mindy Kaling, cast member, creator and executive producer of the new comedy series the Mindy project, speaks during a panel discussion at the Fox television network portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 23, 2012. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Mindy Kaling says she was a "comedy nerd" growing up, sneaking downstairs past her bedtime to watch shows such as Saturday Night Live and Canada's own Kids in the Hall.
"But I'm someone who loves romance," Kaling said at the Television Critics Association tour. "I always have loved it. Most people who grow up as nerds love romance."
Hmmm. Female nerds, maybe, but don't male nerds love science fiction?
Anyway, to back up Kaling's point: Her lead character in the new sitcom The Mindy Project, which debuts Sept. 25 on Fox and Citytv, has been banned from the Empire State Building because she goes there too much, looking for love in typical romantic-comedy fashion.
And that, in essence, is the plot of The Mindy Project.
TV viewers will recognize Kaling for her long-running role on The Office as Kelly Kapoor, who also was obsessed with romance, but in a scary way. Kaling's main contribution to The Office was as one of the main writers, and she is the creator and main writer of this new project.
In The Mindy Project, Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, a doctor who can quote every Meg Ryan romantic comedy word for word. For Mindy, what's not to love about those flicks? The girl always gets the guy.
Mindy's personal life isn't living up to the movies, however.
"The fun thing about this character is, not unlike Michael Scott (Steve Carell's role on The Office), she just wants to be a better person," Kaling said.
"I think she's a good doctor. But she wants to be a better friend, she wants to work out, read books instead of magazines, be a little more intellectual.
"That's the project for this woman, who is not 21 or 22. She wants to get her life together."
Kaling, who is 33, was asked if the audience for The Office is the same audience she's hoping to attract to The Mindy Project.
"We're hoping for prison inmates and the elderly, places where the TV's just on," Kaling said. "We're aiming for everybody.
"I'm hoping that people who read my book, mostly women, will follow me along. But there's an abundance of dudes in the cast, too, there's a dude energy here.
"It's basically Oz. It's for people who want to get their lives together, and fans of Oz."
Just to be clear, she was talking about Oz, the prison drama, not Oz, home of the wonderful wizard.
By the way, Kaling said she isn't quite done with The Office yet.
"I'm headed back, I think I'm going to be in the premiere (of the new season), and maybe another episode," Kaling said.
"I got so attached to that character, even though I had a line per episode, maybe. It's fun to see what's going to happen to Kelly."
Playing more than one character, even for a little while, shouldn't be a problem for a longtime comedy nerd like Mindy Kaling. After all, that's what happens on Saturday Night Live and Kids in the Hall.