Fans won’t have long to wait long to find out which man Mindy chooses — if she chooses anyone — when “The Mindy Project” returns for Season 5 on October 4. The Season 5 premiere is titled “Decision 2016,” because “in Mindy’s mind that’s the largest question looming for her this year, who she’ll pick romantically,” creator and star Mindy Kaling joked during Hulu’s presentation at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Friday.
“We’re not going to leave [people] hanging,” executive producer Matt Warburton said, noting that the premiere would clearly communicate where Mindy’s relationships with Danny (Chris Messina) and Jody (Garret Dillahunt) were heading. The duo also clarified that although Messina is no longer a series regular in Season 5, he will continue to be an important part of the show moving forward, at least as Leo’s father, if not as Mindy’s partner.
“We love Chris, he loves working on the show, he’s Leo’s dad, so he’ll always have a place on the show,” Warburton insisted. “The characters are broken up; we only have so much real estate, so it just makes sense for him to have a smaller role.”
“He’s still in the world of the show, fans don’t have to worry,” Kaling agreed.
Season 5 will consist of 16 episodes, and Kaling and Warburton previewed a few of the storylines we can expect in the new year, including appearances from Nasim Pedrad as Mindy’s pediatrician and Rebecca Rittenhouse as another female doctor. Bryan Greenburg will recur as a pediatric nurse, and B.J. Novak will appear as one of several of Mindy’s exes set return this season.
Kaling also revealed that they’re currently pitching on a high-concept episode where “something very sexist happens to Mindy” in the opening minutes of the episode and she fantasizes about how differently she’d be treated if she were a white guy, and the next day wakes up as a white man. They’re hoping to find an actor to live Mindy’s life for a day to highlight the different experiences men and women encounter on a daily basis. “I often think, as a woman of color, if I was Steve Levitan sitting up here, the questions would be different,” Kaling noted on the panel.
The executive producers admitted that they hadn’t faced many changes in producing the show since it moved from Fox to Hulu, beyond the streaming service placing less importance on ratings. “The single best improvement in my life is working for people who are not having the forefront of our concern be the amount of people watching,” Kaling admitted.
“It’s so short-sighted to look at week-to-week ratings, it means less than ever,” Warburton agreed. “It’s a relief to not be confronted with it all the time, for sure.”