Mindy Kaling is living in a romantic comedy

Mindy Kaling stars in “The Mindy Project,”?premiering Tuesday at 9:30 on Fox.

Mindy Kaling proved herself a likable dreamer with her best-selling collection of memoir-like humor essays, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” and in her role as the ditzy romantic, Kelly, on “The Office.” She brings her unapologetic take on the modern young woman to Fox as creator and star of “The Mindy Project,” following a dedicated OB-GYN (Kaling) who is way more successful in the operating room than the bedroom. We sat down with Kaling and focused on the positives — like getting her own show.

Why the “great at her job, terrible at love” device isn’t cliché …

“The thing that I learned from ‘The Office’ is [storytelling is about] execution. I want to see two people fall in love; I want to see two people learn how to be better people. It’s old-fashioned, but I feel like that’s the kind of stories that people want to see, and they want it so badly, they’ll even see it when it’s terrible,” Kaling says.

“How to balance work and personal life, that’s the single biggest issue that my friends talk about,” she adds. “Somebody might think it’s cliché; then my life is a cliché.”

… and neither is setting up a potential love interest right from the start.

Chris Messina plays Mindy’s co-worker and complete opposite — but it’s not hard to see where sparks might one day fly between the two.

“I wanted to [set up] people who are different from each other,”?Kaling says. “[Chris’ character] doesn’t believe in marriage, he’s kind of cynical — it’s fun to do that kind of storytelling. Plus, I love looking at him. Maybe that’s sexist.”

True story

“You know that saying: ‘Write what you know,’” Kaling says. “Every level of that is [exemplified] in the pilot — What is it like to love romance? What’s it like to be a professional after being a nerd growing up? I’ve been working on [this sitcom] since I was a kid because it’s my life in so many ways.”


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