After nearly two seasons of repressed feelings and sexual tension, The Mindy Project's midseason finale shocked viewers when Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina) shared a passionate kiss on a flight en route back to New York.
"I thought that some people might dig it or some people might not dig it ... but I was definitely kind of shocked that people had such a visceral experience with it," Messina tells TVGuide.com.
But any worries the actor had proved unwarranted. With what shall hereby be known as The Ass Grab Felt Around the World, Mindy and Danny quickly became one of the most exciting couples on TV right now.
"It's funny. I was in The Office when we wrote the Jim and Pam kiss and it was very interesting because that was such an expression of love building up," Kaling says. "The way I played it with Chris was much more an expression of lust than it was of love and that makes sense for those characters, you know? It was out of the blue and deeply inappropriate, which is kind of keeping with our show and the way that they act towards one another."
But while Mindy and Danny might be happy to finally give in to their attraction, the writers debated whether they were ready to take the pair there — especially since Danny wasn't originally planned to be a love interest for Mindy. "At a certain point, we have what we wrote and then we have what is onscreen and when we're editing we're like, this is heading a direction and it's like a train and we can't stop it," Kaling says.
"It's all about what's interesting to watch ... and it's really interesting to watch will-they-won't-they," Messina says. "Although, [Mindy and Danny are] not kids, so eventually these people are going to follow through and try something ... And they decided to take the plunge and I hope people enjoy that."
When Mindy returns Tuesday with two back-to-back new episodes, viewers will get to see the fallout of the fateful kiss. Once the initial shock wears off, Messina says the pair are "extremely happy" and decide to give dating a real go (albeit discreetly). "They're in that sexy dangerous place where no one really knows that they're hiding it and it's all kind of behind closed doors, which is I think fun and maybe a little nerve racking," Messina says.
But trying to keep their relationship on the down low won't be the only thing Danny struggles with this week. When Mindy decides to take things slow, Danny's left with his head spinning. "I think it's confusing because he's held back for so long," Messina says. "I think he's had feelings for her for a long time and because of his own relationships in the past that broke his heart, I think he's scared of f---ing up with somebody and getting his heart broken even more."
The first big obstacle the budding couple will have to contend with: Cliff (Glenn Howerton), Mindy's ex who's determined to get back with the doctor and is under the impression Mindy feels the same. But while Danny doesn't want to hurt Cliff, when Mindy's plans to break up with him are derailed by Cliff's grandmother's death, Danny finds out just how far he'll go to get Mindy all to himself. Watch a sneak peek of how Danny handles Mindy and Cliff below.
Even if Danny manages to get more comfortable with Mindy, the odd couple, whom Messina lovingly compares to Ricky and Lucy, will have a slew of other hurdles to overcome. "They all come from character, which is fun because we don't have to spend a lot of time coming up with a bunch of misunderstandings to keep them apart or whatever," Kaling says. "You put them in any situation, like a farmer's market, Costco, a church, like anything, and their different personalities make it so fun."
The Mindy Project returns Tuesday at 9/8c on Fox.
Additional reporting by Kate Stanhope
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