Updated: Aug 4, 2021
Aside from being the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan dream team of sitcom and romcom, The Mindy Project holds a special place in my heart for all the times it has guided me through catastrophes. Two break-ups I thought would kill me, two cross country moves, a quarter life crisis at 25 and then some other kind of crisis at 30...it always has and always will make me laugh, and it reminds me that if I haven't made a drunken speech at an ex's wedding and then crashed my bike into a stranger's pool, maybe I'm doing okay. Dr. Mindy Lahiri, fictional character and close personal hero of mine, had no less than 39 love interests in 112 episodes, averaging a new guy every three. I live in New York too, so I’m dying to know where she found this smorgasbord of eligible bangable bachelors for meet-cutes, dates, hook-ups and fathering her adorable babies. And why were they all white? Anyway, here’s a definitive ranking of Mindy Lahiri's (37 white, 1 Indian, and 1 Black) boyfriends.
39. Guy from the Cuddle Spot App
(Played by Paul Lieberstein, S4 E17, “Mindy Lahiri is DTF”)
He was played by Toby? Enough said.
(Photo: Rogers Media)
(Played by Seth Meyers, S1, E2, “Hiring and Firing”)
This one was so unmemorable I had to rewatch the episode before I remembered to add him to this list. Big love for Seth Meyers. No love for this cameo. We didn’t even get to watch them kiss!
(Photo: The Vulture)
37. Phil Dayflower
(Played by Adam Shapiro, S2 E19, “Think Like a Peter”)
Cringey. Painful. We’ve all had a date with a guy like this who basically showed up with an engagement ring. The fact that Betsy set them up should tell you everything you need to know.
36. Lorie (the girl Mindy slept with when she turned into a guy)
(Played by Allegra Edwards, S5 E12, “Mindy Lahiri is a White Man”)
This girl was super hot, and they would have been such a power couple. What a missed opportunity.
(Played by Steven Weber, S4 E10, “The Departed”)
No romantic potential here because he was old enough to be her Dad (that aside from the fact that she was still with Danny and met James by sneaking her way into a bereavement group in order to sell her apartment). But it was fun to see a James Woods-looking silver fox with disposable income and lofty connections try to court Mindy. Until he found out what she was doing and promptly threw her and Peter out of his home. (Her apartment didn’t sell).
(Played by Max Greenfield, S2 E19, “Think Like a Peter”)
I love me some Schmidt, but this was like Mindy meeting Schmidt if he had never met Cece. Lee was a married, cheating second grade teacher. Trash. But the worst part of this whole interaction was his scarf.
(Photo: The Mindy Project Wiki)
(Played by Ne-Yo, S4 E19, “Baby Got Backslide”)
Even someone as hot and charming as Ne-Yo and sardonically condescending as his character Marcus couldn't give this pairing a future. They had nothing in common, and aside from watching their elitist New Yorker socialite dates that looked like fancy Groupon outings, they were fast forwardable.
(Played by Ben Feldman, S2 E5, “Wiener Night”)
This guy was a pretentious prick, and his Katy Perry ukulele solo only slightly made up for it.
31. Beverly’s son David
(Played by Yassir Lester, S6 E5, “Jeremy and Anna’s Meryl Streep Costume Party”)
This was a weird one for me. Very contrived, zero chemistry, and I spent the entire episode trying to decide whether he was in love with Beverly or gay (both red flags in a future husband). The latter actually happens to be Mindy’s type, but in this case it just didn’t work, and felt more like a means-to-an-end plot device to wrap up what little character arc Beverly had.
30. Pork-It Guy
(Played by Justin Wilcox, S4 E17, “Mindy Lahiri is DTF”)
Looking like Milo Ventimiglia just barely makes up for wanting to have sex in the bathroom without exchanging names. A few points back because Pork-It is a hilarious name for a dating app.
(Played by Ben Rodgers, S1 E11, “Bunk Bed”)
This was potentially Mindy’s quickest relationship on the show, clocking in at only 1 minute and 29 seconds, but it delivered one of the weirdest and best cold opens, in which Mindy and her date watch the horse pulling them on their romantic carriage ride have a heart attack and subsequently get mercy shot by a police officer. It also delivered a killer (no pun intended) one liner that still makes me laugh:
Evan: “Mindy, you’re a doctor, do something!”
Mindy: “I’m a gynecologist, Evan, why don’t you web design him back to life?!”
(Photo: TV Maze)
(Played by Ed Helms, S1, E1, “Pilot”)
Aside from some funny moments in the inaugural Thanksgiving episode, this relationship was pretty forgettable. He was really just a pilot plot device to let us know she was working on herself and justify the title of the series. And they were really only cute because they worked on The Office together.
(Photo: Cinema Blend)
(Played by Santiago Cabrera, S4 E21, “Under the Texan Sun”)
I gotta be honest, I hated this episode for a multitude of reasons. It felt like some Girls nonsense to have an entire episode without the rest of the cast, and I have always thought Lauren was a raging bitch and not good enough for Peter. But aside from everyone in the episode including Peter’s baby and iguana being a total dick to Mindy, the hot landscaping genius was a decent tryst.
(Played by Josh Meyers, S1 E20, “Pretty Man”)
I’m convinced that this guest star was only because Anders Holm was busy and they needed someone to slow down Mindy and Casey’s romantic timeline. So cute that both Meyers brothers guest starred in the first season, and even cuter that he played a prostitute and then played Norah Jones on Danny’s piano.
(Photo: Daily Mail Online)
25. Leland Breakfast
(Played by Jack Davenport, S5 E5, “Leland Breakfast Is A Miracle Worker”)
He was really just a conduit for Ben asking Mindy to be his girlfriend, which was really just a conduit for getting Mindy and Danny back together. Leland was a little bitch, but I did love watching him go full Patti LuPone on Mindy when she spent his entire one-man version of The Miracle Worker looking at dogs on her phone.
(Photo: The Tracking Board)
(Played by Bill Hader, S1 E1, “Pilot”)
I have to set my love for Bill Hader aside because Tom was the WORST. While very important in the Mindy canon (his wedding kicked off her booze-fueled breakdown and subsequent arrest in the pilot episode), he treated her like garbage most chances he got. He ditched her for his Serbian war criminal bagel shop wife, got cheated on, and then spent the next two cameos trying to get back with her. Next.
(Photo: Fan Pop)
(Played by Kristian Kordula, S4, E18, “Bernardo & Anita”)
He was pretty insignificant in the scope of Mindy’s relationship timeline, and a little judgmental (calling her a coconut because she was "brown on the outside and white on the inside", while maybe true, was pretty rude to say to a stranger), but he did bring us a learning experience in Indian culture and a beautifully messy Mundan ceremony only Leo’s Mom could deliver.
(Photo: Bitch Media)
22. Bryant Green
(Played by Ross Marquand, S4 E15, “2 Fast 2 Serious”)
This was funny to me because every woman I know has had at least one psycho guy try to bring her to a wedding with him way sooner than is Instagram acceptable. And the fact that it was his brother’s wedding? Cringey, horrifying, and as delicious as the cereals Mindy reviews on YouTube. Also this one is personal because this actually happened to me with the last guy I dated.
(Photo: TV Maze)
21. Sam Kleinfeld
(Played by Seth Rogen, S1 E16, “The One That Got Away”)
This one gave us a cute childhood camp flashback, but for me, the chemistry wasn’t there. I think they only seemed compatible because they’re both so funny. The best thing to come out of this episode was when Sam got thrown from a window and I learned the word defenestrate.
(Played by Bill Tangradi, S1, E19, “Danny’s Friend”)
If you can overlook the opioid addiction, the living with his mother, and the living on STATEN ISLAND with his mother, he was actually such a rewarding wild card. Long-term potential or at all suited for Mindy? Nah. But this was a fun cameo.
(Played by BJ Novak, S1 E13, “Harry & Sally”)
This was a really fun arc for me. I would never recover if a guy left me for his female best friend with whom he swore was platonic. But watching the chemistry between real-life friends BJ and Mindy evolve into a deliciously awkward and charged dinner between Mindy, Danny, Jamie, and the best friend was worth the trauma.
(Photo: Entertainment Weekly)
(Played by Timothy Olyphant, S2 E7, “Sk8er Man”)
Graham of “Sk8er Man” fame is one of my favorite boyfriends from one of my favorite episodes. He is walking chaos, and if I had to go on a date with him, one of us wouldn’t survive. But the flinty discourse and physical chemistry between the two of them was delicious to watch, and the dynamic got even more fun when they added sinfully boring Mary (Vanessa Bayer) and Danny on yet another double date with yet another ill-fated couple. It also allowed for plenty of sexual tension between Mindy and Danny, laying down the groundwork for the rest of the season.
(Photo: TV Equals)
17. Dr. Jeremy Reed
(Played by Ed Weeks, S1 E1, “Pilot”)
Jeremy’s is one of the weirdest character arcs on the show, and this is a show that had more of a revolving door of characters than Noises Off. He began the series as a lothario, peaked as an insecure slob with a penchant for sweets, and ended it marrying the beautiful Dr. Ziev who had hair like sunshine and a heart of stone. I didn’t hate him, but I do feel that most of the time, he added almost nothing to the plot.
16. Josh Daniels
(Played by Tommy Dewey, S1 E3, “In the Club”)
While one of the shit showiest of Mindy’s beaus, I have to admit I never tired of seeing his beautiful bespectacled face on my screen. The lawyer bro mentality, the 30-something basic frat guy hobbies (cocaine, sports, energy drinks, cheating), the constant undercutting of Mindy in a way that managed to be charming instead of mean… Not to mention the Santa Fe episode that brought us the first moment of blatant physical chemistry between Danny and Mindy. I don’t think the turbulence-induced hand grab on the plane ride home would have happened if they hadn’t just bonded while visiting Josh in rehab for coke.
15. Casey Pearson
(Played by Anders Holm, S1 E19, “My Cool Christian Boyfriend”)
I’m half and half on Casey. Did I like my Workaholics crush gracing the screen? Yeah. But making her feel so selfish that she volunteered at a women’s prison, then got her hair chopped off and her face murked in a riot? When they were good, they were really good. He truly loved her, they had great rapport and chemistry, and even when he was completely clueless, he managed to be charming. However, Casey’s arc took a hard left turn when he decided he wanted to be a DJ, then an event planner, and then a shoe designer. I wasn’t even sold on minister. His further cameos got even more intolerable, culminating in Mindy discovering his new tattoos (pizza rat, Vote for Pedro, and a minion, respectively), and officially ending their romantic relationship after comparing his new persona to a Garbage Pail Kid and then hooking up with his best friend.
(Photo: Pop Sugar)
(Played by Lee Pace, S3 E13, “San Francisco Bae”)
This was such a fun cameo from Lee Pace (and Chrissy Teigen as his jealous girlfriend!). The fact that they had a Lord of the Rings star portray a fantasy nerd with an Asian fetish who lost his virginity to Mindy is hilarious to me. The college flashbacks of Mindy with color contacts and the endless jokes about how hot and rich he was were a delight, and his constant hitting on her to no avail was a testament to her long-distance devotion to Danny.
13. Another Matt
(Played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, S4 E1, “While You Were Sleeping”)
If I could craft a perfect man for Mindy, it would be this Matt, the man of her literal dreams. The open relationship sex parties, the reality show on Bravo, the disposable income, the South Park pinball machine...essentially she was dating herself. But it turns out that two Mindys in one relationship is too many.
(Kyle Bornheimer, S4 E17, “Mindy Lahiri is DTF”)
He had me at free potato skins. JJ was a soft place to land after Pork-It and ended Mindy’s 6-month dry streak.
(Photo: Rogers Media)
(Played by Sam Page, S2 E22, “Mindy and Danny”)
What started as a star crossed subway sighting ended in Danny and Mindy getting together, so I have to be thankful to this sweet hot European grad student Mindy scared the shit out of. He walked so they could run.
10. Jody Kimball-Kinney
(Played by Garrett Dillahunt, S4 E4, “The Bitch Is Back”)
Jody is. The. Worst. But I also...loved him? And actually wished we had gotten to see more hate fueled make-outs between the two of them?
(Photo: Fan Pop)
9. Brendan Deslaurier
(played by Mark Duplass, S1 E8, “Two to One”)
As insufferable as this man would be in real life, I always enjoyed when his hyper-woke and patronizing persona graced the screen. It led to some of my favorite feuds and episodes, even though, as a hook-up, he was straight garbage. The way he so callously told her that he wasn’t going to a friend’s cocktail party with her because he “didn’t want to” is something I would never recover from. He only slightly makes up for it by buying her the constellation she made up, Caprittarius, and delivering some of the show’s sharpest one-liners (signing his suicide note “Regrettably white, Brendan Deslaurier” will never cease to make me laugh).
8. Charlie Lang
(Played by Tim Daly, S2 E20, “An Officer and a Gynecologist”)
This was another one of my favorite story arcs. The banter with a sexy older man, the jealousy it inflicted upon Danny, this to me was peak Mindy Project. The surly single Dad and self-proclaimed non-feminist may not have been a love match for our girl, but he provided some amazing material in the meantime.
(Photo: TV Fanatic)
7. Dr. Jean Fishman
(Played by Niecy Nash, S3 E5, “The Devil Wears Lands’ End”)
Everything about Mindy’s first lesbian storyline was perfect. Her ringer going off in a department meeting and playing the chorus of Fancy in its entirety while their new boss (/her new love interest) looked on, barely able to contain her annoyance? Their kiss at the end of the night? Danny having to fake being suicidal to get her out of it? And they managed to fit all of this into one episode including a side story with guest star Shonda Rhimes? Art is not dead.
6. Drew Schakowsky
(Played by Jay R. Ferguson, S4 E22, “Princeton Charming”)
I absolutely love this man. He’s like a slightly more masculine but slightly less hot Ben. If Mindy liked men being nice to her, they would have been a perfect fit.
5. Cliff Gilbert
(Played by Glenn Howerton, S2 E4, “Magic Morgan”)
Justice for my man Cliff. Mindy can do almost no wrong in my eyes, but she did this man dirty. His episodes are some of my favorites, including “Magic Morgan”, in which he first appeared. Minus his jealousy over Casey that temporarily ended their relationship, Cliff was one of Mindy’s few stable suitors. He was sardonic and hilarious, but kind, successful and put together, but not pretentious. I still recoil watching the episode where he does her taxes for her under the guise of Danny and Mindy having broken up. Poor guy. However, their break-up did allow us one of my favorite moments on the show: Danny and Mindy’s airplane kiss.
4. Morgan Tookers
(Played by Ike Barinholtz, S1 E2, “Hiring and Firing”)
I absolutely love Morgan. His devotion to Dr. L is unparalleled in the Mindy Project canon. The one time she almost slept with him to Good Luck Chuck herself, I was actually kind of excited. And through all 39 boyfriends, 3 engagements, 1 marriage, and 1 son, Morgan stuck by her and never stopped shooting his shot.
3. Ben Miller
(Played by Brian Greenberg, S5 E2, “Nurses’ Strike”)
If this angel had been on another show, I would have salivated over him. I believe Mindy Lahiri to be perfect, but this man is too good even for her. Ben is the perfect specimen and partner, but in this case, I found myself wanting to just skip forward to when Danny came back. We all knew when that sad ass contemplative Beyonce song came on immediately after their engagement that it wasn’t going to last.
(Photo: The Mindy Project Wiki)
2. Peter Prentice
(Played by Adam Pally, S2 E3, “Music Festival”)
I will forever and ever ship Mindy and Peter. While I’m glad they never crossed over into physical territory (we didn’t need any Rachel and Joey mishigas), they did have one of Mindy’s strongest connections. Their platonic chemistry and rapport was comedy magic, and I have to admit I was devastated when he left and rarely re-watch episodes he’s not in.
(Photo: MTV News)
1. Danny Castellano
(Played by Chris Messina, S1 E1, “Pilot”)
(I had to. Even though realistically, he’s probably like 8th or 9th). Whatever Kool-Aid the writers wanted me to drink with six seasons of will they/won’t they, I drank it. I bought three different flavors and extra sugar. He was cranky, sweaty, obstinate, and at times even misogynistic and a little toxic. But their chemistry will go down in will they/won’t they history, and will forever be one of my favorites in the genre. The cranky, irascible hunk and the hopeless romantic starlet trope has always worked and will always work. And, especially in this case, they balance each other perfectly. He keeps her grounded and she keeps him fun. If you can forgive his departure as a regular on the show to do a movie with Ben Affleck you’ve never heard of, they belong together. And I never got tired of them finding their way back to each other.
(Photo: Gulf News)
In the spirit of being thorough, honorable mention to these men whom she claimed to have dated:
-Mindy’s friend “Korean Justin” (whose hands, she said, were so small they, “made my boobs look enormous.” S2 E9, “Mindy Lahiri is a Racist”)
-Guy with knife on subway in the Taylor Swift dream (S1 E10, “Mindy’s Brother”)
-The guy with a mannequin on his couch (S4 E20, “The Greatest Date in the World”)
-Oscar Pistorious (she dodged a motherfucking bullet) (S6 E2, “A Romantical Decouplement”)
Here’s looking at you, Mindy. I’ll have what she’s having (Danny Castellano).