Comedienne, author and former star/writer/producer for The Office Mindy Kaling is launching her own show this fall, The Mindy Project. The hotly anticipated sitcom has already been posted to Hulu for preview in advance of it’s September 25 premiere. Kaling plays a single-girl-slash-OB/GYN-slash-romcom-fanatic, who she describes as, “A doctor…who has a great job but whose love life is not that great.” CBS Local talked to one music supervisor for the series, Kevin Edelman, to get the inside scoop on how the soundtrack for Mindy came together.
“The characters are very well defined and Mindy’s character — first of all I think she’s just so funny,” Edelman said. “Just a genius, I think, with her writing and her comic timing, she definitely has a style to her. I think the music can help the show have an overall style.”
What we saw in the pilot, and in the promos leading up to it, was that the show uses music to reflect the point of view of Mindy’s character. Before we get to the first episode, let’s look back and the music that’s been heavily present in every teaser and promo for the show over the summer.
Jessie J “Domino”
The very first on-air promos set the tone as a TV sitcom adaptation of a romcom by featuring Jessie J’s “Domino.” While the show has no theme music at present, this song perfectly reflects the point of view of the character Mindy in the show, who loves wearing sparkly outfits, undoubtedly loves the movie Dirty Dancing and is clearly looking for love to take her down like a domino.
Matt & Kim “Let’s Go”
Off Matt & Kim’s forthcoming album, due out this fall, the song gets a big look in The Mindy Project’s “Walk The Line” trailer. Kaling narrates, outlining the demands a working woman faces…with a comedic ending.
The music that pops up in the show was picked and approved by Mindy herself. “She was, in fact, the final word on pretty much everything that went in and actually some of the stuff that went in was her ideas to begin with,” Edelman confirms. “She’s got a very distinct taste in music. She’s got a fun, edgy vibe to her. I think that a lot of the music is going to be reflective of that.”
Le Tigre “Deceptacon”
This track, the first from Le Tigre’s 1999 debut album, plays while Mindy rushes to the hospital to deliver a baby near the start of the show. Amazingly, it almost didn’t make the final cut of the show.
“We tried a lot of things in that spot and she kept coming back to the Le Tigre song,” Edelman says. “As always with a TV show we had other hurdles to get over, including budget and time frame. One of the issues was that the Le Tigre was going to be a little bit more expensive than what we could afford for this sequence based on what else was going in the show…so I had reached out to the label that represents Le Tigre. They contacted the band and it turns out the band is a big fan of Mindy. So it was a mutual respect thing and they did a deal for us so we could keep it in the show.”
The Watson Twins “How Am I To Be”
Known to most as the backing players on Jenny Lewis’s (of Rilo Kiley and the Postal Service) debut solo album, these twins are a big dose of Kentucky harmonies gone LA. The duo can be heard in the background, sweetly crooning while Mindy texts her best friend a hot pic of her British hook-up Jeremy — the doctor she abstained from “doing” that night.
“They’re just a band that writes good music for television,” says Edelman. “It just works. There’s something about the tone of that song and the lyric that hit on that moment that felt so perfect for that scene.”
M.I.A. “Bad Girls”
When you’ve got to get somewhere fast, put some M.I.A. on it to add some spring to your step. While Mindy hustles to get to the hospital for yet another delivery, M.I.A pounds in the background. The two share some history — Kaling’s real life father is a Tamil from India as is M.I.A.’s father, but from Sri Lanka.
“The M.I.A. I’m pretty sure that was [Mindy’s] idea,” Edelman recalls. “That was something that I think she had in mind from the beginning and that lived and worked great in the show.”
Also featured in the debut episode are California-based duo Kiss The Girl with “999,999 Girls” and Heavy Young Heathens with “Four of Us Are Dying.”
There’s one other musical voice you’ll want to get to know in the show: composer Jesse Novak. It’s his first time out composing for a TV show and he’ll be as present as Mindy herself each week.
“He got involved because his brother BJ [Novak, writer/producer/star of The Office] was producing the pilot,” Edelman says. “He was originally just supposed to be a resource for additional cues…as he was creating cues we all realized what a great fit he was and his talent is evident. His style, his production style and the sounds he used, just felt so right for the show that everything he wrote ended up living in the pilot and he ended up getting the job as the composer on the show.”
-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local