The Mindy Project has been through a lot of changes over the past four seasons, but Mindy Lahiri's charming mix of confidence, self-deprecation and superficiality isn't going anywhere.
"We always say the character can only change 5 percent at a time," creator and star Mindy Kaling told reporters at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Sunday. "And things like motherhood will bring out aspects of her personality ... which we've not seen before, obviously.
"But maybe this is a little cynical, but we feel people don't change," Kaling continued. "She has a kid now and Mindy's behavior is now, 'My kid should be a model. My kid should be a child actor.'"
And don't think just because Mindy and Danny (Chris Messina) are gynecologists that they'll be at all prepared for parenthood. Not only do Mindy and Danny have very different approaches to the birthing process, but Mindy has no clue what to do with an actual baby. "OB's are like the Republican Party. They only care about the baby until it comes out and then they have no idea. So she's sort of at square one once the baby pops out," said executive producer Matt Warburton.
While Mindy and Danny adjust to the big changes happening in their lives, behind the scenes, Kaling and the cast and crew are adjusting to their new home on Hulu after Fox axed the sitcom earlier this year.
"I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the show," Kaling said. "I'm so grateful to Hulu for giving us this opportunity and I just want to make the show better than it's ever been, and we have the opportunity ... And 26 episodes [in Season 4] is more than any series I've ever been on. It went from being like, 'Oh, we're never going to do the show again,' to 'We're going to have a lot of work.' And having to tell 150 people in my crew that's the commitment that Hulu made makes you really emotional."
And though the move to Hulu means Mindy will no longer be limited by network TV restrictions, Kaling and the writers, including star Ike Barinholtz, aren't planning on doing a major overhaul for Season 4. So other than indulging in a few of the freedoms that come with being on Hulu - including the ability to say "Jesus" and "Jeez," both of which were forbidden by Fox - The Mindy Project's fourth season will be relatively unchanged. It will even roll out one episode each week, starting Tuesday, Sept. 15, just like it had on network TV.
"Our demo is Stephen Colbert's daughter, young women who are going to run the country one day," Barinholtz said. "I think if we really changed the show too much, made it more risqué and made it tilt more toward stuff you might find on HBO or Showtime, I think we would maybe turn off some of our core viewers. So we've really made a conscious effort to keep it similar in tone."
However, The Mindy Project's season premiere will be unlike anything you've seen on the show before. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Freida Pinto both appear as part of an alternate reality, Sliding Doors homage where Gordon-Levitt's character is married to Mindy, and Pinto (playing herself) is dating Danny. And once Mindy returns back to reality, Garret Dillahunt and Fortune Feimster will join the cast as new employees at the office.
The Mindy Project returns Tuesday, Sept. 15 on Hulu.