5 Secrets We Hope to Learn From Mindy and B.J.’s Book

When news broke that onetime couple and frequent collaborators Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak are writing a book together about their relationship, it made all kind of sense—and raised all kinds of interesting questions…

There’s been a lot of great Mindy Kaling news lately: City announced it will air season four of The Mindy Project this fall despite Fox dropping the show (phew), we got to see the cover of her upcoming new book, Why Not Me? (side note: how great is her hair in that pic?!), and Mindy just announced that she and her ex, B.J. Novak, are writing a book together based on their “weird as hell” relationship. It’s only in the early brainstorming stages, but the book is already generating a huge amount of buzz and earned a $7.5 million advance—unusually huge, even by celebrity standards. We’re not surprised, though, considering how successful they’ve both been as bestselling authors, she with her first memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and he with One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories and the children’s tome The Book With No Pictures.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Penguin Random House, Sept. 29)

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Penguin Random House, Sept. 29)

Both are Ivy League–educated and incredibly ambitious and smart and good-looking and youthful—isn’t that the Hollywood comedy nerd norm? What really sets B.J. and Mindy apart is their “it’s complicated” relationship status. The two dated off-and-on for years, and while we were hoping the book would read like a real-life romcom (Mindy’s favourite genre), our fanfic wish was dashed when she tweeted that the book will not be a tell-all. Fine, don’t tell us ALL. But maybe just these five things…

86th Annual Academy Awards Oscars, Vanity Fair Party, Los Angeles, America - 02 Mar 2014

The dynamic duo at this year’s Vanity Fair Oscar party (Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages)

1. How to Get Out of the Friend Zone
Mindy and B.J. met when they were hired as writers for The Office. Both had roles on the show as well, as Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard, and their hilariously immature and annoying on-again, off-again relationship was inspired by the real-life drama between the two. But how did they pass go in the first place? Working in a collaborative comedy environment is an intense bonding experience, so we want to hear how they made the jump from co-workers to bona fide couple. Who made the first move, and how? Did B.J. go out of his way to save Mindy a seat at the morning meeting? Did Mindy take a circuitous route to the photocopier so she could pass his desk 100 times a day? Was their first kiss completely inappropriate and romantic? (OMG what if Mindy and B.J. were only pretending to be Kelly and Ryan, but were actually Pam and Jim?!)

2. How to Date a Co-worker
It doesn’t seem like Mindy and B.J. hid their relationship from their co-workers, but how did they navigate the dynamic of being on a writing team, the long hours required of working in television and the frequent breakups and makeups without seeming like a couple of horny teenagers? Did they have a no-kissing, no-fighting rule at work? Did their ups and downs actually inform their creative process and help their professional growth? And like so many non-famous people have wondered: can a workplace spouse transition to a real-life relationship, or does the glow of fluorescent lighting and the intimacy of a communal fridge create a non-threatening crush oasis that can only exist in a controlled, non-sexual environment? A particularly useful chapter would cover “Christmas party make-out sessions with that rando from tech support.”

office-mk bj

Office romance: Mindy and B.J. as Ryan and Kelly

3. How to Be Friends With Your Ex 
Mindy and B.J. are the prototype conscious uncouplers. At some point, between The Office and The Mindy Project, they decided that, for now, they are better off as friends, but they continued to work together (B.J. was a consulting producer and guest star on season one of The Mindy Project). While they didn’t share their breakup news in a newsletter like Gwyneth and Chris, clearly they have mastered the ex-to-BFF transition, and we want them to share their secret with the world (as well as the details of their pettiest arguments and revenge fantasies—this is a safe place, away from Gwyneth’s judging eyes).

(Photo: Courtesy of The Mindy Project Facebook)

B.J. and Mindy on The Mindy Project (Photo: The Mindy Project/Facebook)

4. Can Men and Women Be Friends?
Perhaps Mindy and B.J. can answer this important question, raised in the Mindy-approved rom-com When Harry Met Sally. Because if they’ve managed to work together, date, fight, write a book, and come out on the other side as legit friends, then they may have solved a riddle that’s plagued modern society for decades.

5. What About Friends With Benefits?
Being exes who work and play together, they must have moments of temptation. Do they sometimes hook up, but keep it light? Are there rules around the hookups, like no sleeping over, or is breakfast the next morning a given? Maybe we’re getting carried away here, but we think Mindy and B.J. definitely have some wisdom regarding the “friends with benefits” relationship. After all, a $7.5 million book advance is a pretty sweet benefit.

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