A new phenomenon in which rejected or cancelled TV shows go from network to streaming has altered the television landscape.
Since web services don’t have to deal with the same censorship rules major networks have to comply with, streaming allows for a new set of rules.
While “The Mindy Project” creator Mindy Kaling will now have a lot more freedom, she is happy dealing with some restrictions, which she believes only strengthen her romantic comedy.
“I think that so much of romance comes from restraint, and I think it’s the stuff you don’t see, which is what makes it romantic.” Kaling told an audience during a panel atBookCon, an annual convention held at the Javits Center in New York City which celebrates all things books and publishing.
To prove her point, Kaling, who wrote for “The Office,” cited the season one episode “Diversity Day” (written by B.J. Novak, who interviewed Kaling at BookCon) and how it planted the early seeds of Jim and Pam’s romance in an unexpected way.
“One of the most romantic things that happened in the first season was in the episode ‘Diversity Day’ … there’s a moment where Jim is basically having the worst moment of his whole career and Pam falls asleep on his shoulder.” Kaling remembered. “And you can see just from his expression how romantic and how amazing it was. And that was a woman falling asleep on a grown man’s shoulder. So to me, I remember that so much more than like any sexy sex scene you could see on any TV show. So ultimately I always have to remind myself that a little goes a long way.”
While writers don’t normally praise censorship, Kaling isn’t the first person to admit that network constraints can actually be helpful.
“SNL” head Lorne Michaels said in an interview on “Here’s the Thing” that constraints can make comedy better.
“…there’s no creativity without boundaries.” Michaels told Alec Baldwin on the podcast back in 2012. “I like that you can’t use certain language.”
When “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was passed over by NBC, it went straight to Netflix and yet it was still filled with the kind of restrained dirty humour that is a staple of network comedy. Meanwhile, season four of “Arrested Development,” which went from Fox to Netflix, was structurally different and some of the episodes were well beyond 30 minutes long, yet bleeps and blurs were still present.
The transition wasn’t easy for Kaling, but she hopes the new season will strike a balance.
“I was on network television for 11 or 12 years, and being on Hulu it’s like ‘What can we do now?’ Can we just be all sex and drugs? [Showrunner] Matt [Warburton] and I are both smart writers but also repressed people.” Kaling said. “We decided we definitely want people who tuned into the show to tune in for two reasons: because there’s lots of cool new stuff we’re doing that we couldn’t do on network TV, but also not giving up what people love.”
“I think we are gonna push the envelope in ways we haven’t been able to, which is great.” Kaling added.
Kaling also annoucned this week writers will begin to work on the fourth season of “The Mindy Project.” No word yet as to when the new season of “The Mindy Project” will debut, but Kaling’s next book, “Why Not Me?” will be released September 29, 2015.
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