I have been an avid Mindy Project watcher since day one – in fact, almost even before day one. Since the second I found out that the Office’s Kelly Kapoor was going to have her very own high heeled and fashion forward rom-com-esque show, I was eagerly waiting in anticipation. (And even though I was never a huge devotee of The Office – too many cringeworthy situations and realistic fashion choices for me – I knew that Mindy Kaling had something special when she produced her own music videos for her fake girl group Subtle Sexuality. She was my kind of gal.) In fact, I’d go so far as to call The Mindy Project my very most fave ever TV show of all time, and yes, that includes FRIENDS, Broad City, and the Gilmore Girls Revival (which was meh and problematic anyway).
The thing is, Mindy Kaling created a fantasy world with her show; a fantasy world where she gets to date every hot guy you can think of with little to no real life consequences. It’s amazing – every time a hot guy appears on screen – BAM – Mindy is gonna bone him. She very rarely dwells, she does not pine away pathetically (she only pines in a funny, sexually inappropriate way), and often, these super Salt and Peppa rap song worthy dudes, end up falling in love with her.
And in a world where women must look and act a certain way in order to be deemed worthy of love or sex from an attractive man:
I’m here for it, one hundo percento.
Because Mindy Lahiri is getting it all. the. time.
And unlike the sexist trash that is,say a show like, Californication, where Hank Moody also hooks up with almost every single woman he encounters, the Mindy Project has me fully invested in all Mindy’s hook ups with very rare exception.
So, in honor of the Great Mindy Kaling, I shall rank in order of my own personal opinion, the Best Mindy Project boyfriends starting from least to greatest, go:
Although I’m not familiar with the actor, he does have a great smile and a formidable hairline. BUT as his character plays a football coach for Stanford, I just cannot imagine any universe – the Mindy Project one included – where Mindy wants to spend her time with this jock-o. Nice guy with a two episode arc, but I was feeling this one least.
It’s Nurse Ben! Also, it’s Mindy’s newest love interest. Ben, much like Drew, has a formidable hairline which I admire in any man deeply into his thirties. And also much like Drew, I just don’t see in what universe Mindy Lahiri knocks boots with this middle class normal. Again, the actor does a great job and the show portrays Ben as practical, grounded, and ever so geeky. But at the end of the day, what I want with my Mindy Project romance is fire and chemistry. I don’t want her to settle down with a guy who might actually…commit in a healthy way. How bourgeoisie.
11. Tom McDougall
We actually only get to see the aftermath of this relationship (the pilot has Mindy attending Tom’s wedding as an unhinged, drunken ex girlfriend) but I thought I’d include it anyway because apparently we’ve agreed that Bill Hader can play romantic leads in stuff? K?
And then there was BJ Novak’s character, Latin professor turned famous author, Jamie. You know, I really should’ve put this relationship dead last on my list but only because personally, I feel like BJ Novak is the kind of guy who I’d try really hard to impress and he wouldn’t think I was funny at all and that makes me dislike him a great deal, moving on.
Charasmatically played by Nee-Yo and wearing lots of cool shirts, this love interest of Mindy only has a two episode arc and makes virtually no sense, as Marcus is introduced to us as a best friend of Casey’s (Mindy’s ex-fiance) who doesn’t like Mindy and doesn’t want Mindy sniffing around Casey when Mindy and Casey have a chance at re-establishing their relationship. But whatevs, it was all fun while it lasted and good to see Nee-Yo playing a character who loves all the finer things in New York including Broadway Musicals about James Buchanan.
8. Casey Peerson
Pastor Casey! Played by Anders Holm (a man whose name seems like it should be singular and then plural and not plural and then singular, but I digress). This was one of the longest boyfriend/fiance arcs on the Mindy Project save for Danny Castellano (but you know we’ll get to him soon enough). Pastor Casey wasn’t actually a terrible match for Mindy in my opinion. He was laid back, funny, hip, eventually wealthy & successful, and tall af.
The only problem is, he was likely too much of all of those things and eventually Mindy began to realize that he was kind of a joke of a person, and she basically couldn’t stand him. For me? Anders Holm is just a little too Gumby-esque to keep my attention for too terribly long. Although, let’s be real, who tf am I? I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers either.
Jason didn’t last too long in the Mindy-verse, but I’m including him because 1. I like the actor Ben Feldman a lot and 2. He wore a scarf in most of his scenes. He doesn’t deserve this spot, but I feel like he’s worked really hard in Hollywood so, here we are.
6. Josh Daniels
Josh Daniels, played by the remarkably-malleable-in-the-face Tommy Dewey (seriously, watch him in any other thing and he looks like a completely different person every time). The cavalier panache of this money throwing, drug addicted, cheater was my everything despite, well, everthing. What can I say, I was here for it.
5. Cliff Gilbert
Sexy gif included for your viewing pleasure. Well, you all know Glenn Howerton from Its Alway Sunny, but did you also know he played Mindy’s quirky but patient lawyer boyfriend, Cliff Gilbert? I have a soft spot for this character because I, too, am with a quirky but patient lawyer who also has beautiful eyes just like Glenn Howerton (except Glenn’s are blue and my dude’s are brown but anway). You know, now that I think of it, I kinda wished he had hung around a little bit longer too.
4. Charlie Lang
Hey look! It’s Tim Daly from Wings! Why would I place Tim Daly’s fairly minor police officer character so high up in my boyfriend list? It’s five fold: 1. His character raises a teenage daughter 2. He reads Jezebel articles 3. He’s old and hot which feels exciting and creepy at the same time. 4. He gives Danny a run for his money after Danny’s frankly abysmal behavior towards Mindy. 5. His delivery of the line, “Sauce.”
3. Brendan Deslaurier
Midwife and new age holistic practitioner Brendan Deslaurier played by one Mark Duplass comes in shockingly close to the top! I can’t help it. I love a sexy wackadoo, so sue me. Points for when he tells Maria Menounos that Santa Baby is an anti-feminist song.
2. Danny Castellano
Ah, our main man throughout the run of this series. I have to say, Chris Messina really delivers in the chemistry department with Mindy Kaling. And in the first few seasons of the show, I really thought the character of Danny Castellano was pretty flawlessly executed – and as once described, sexy but like a youth pastor. But unfortunately, for me, as the seasons went on, Danny’s character was summarily assassinated as Danny turns into an old fashioned, inflexible, sexist crank trying to trick Mindy into having more kids and also guilting her constantly about not being a stay at home mom without ever offering to stay at home himself. It just kind of ruins the whole parade for me, you know?
But let me give props where props are due: Chris Messina wore the hell out of some tucked in blue button downs, belted jeans, and leather jackets, and to that, I will be forever grateful.
My number one pick for Mindy Lahiri.
Perhaps controversial, but hear me out:
I just watched season 1 of Raising Hope on Netflix and Garret Dillahunt’s portrayal of “Burt” and his relationship to his wife Virginia is so surprisingly sincere, heartfelt and likeable, that I can’t help but look at his character Jody Kimball-Kinney with a little positive bias. And while the show tried to ruin him – at least temporarily – by giving him chlamydia, it didn’t work. Chlamydia is just not a deal (it’s 2017 afterall) and I like Jody’s old-man pattern mixing and hipster-adjacent suspenders. And I love that he – of all the characters on the show – has grown and matured in an emotional way because of his love for Mindy. Plus, there’s something about his jawline that just makes me want to reach out and touch it.
And not least of all, Jody buys Mindy a fucking apartment. You’d bone a guy who bought you an apartment in Manhattan too, right?