Fox’s The Mindy Project returns for its third season on Sept. 16, which means America is back to getting regular doses of television’s most entertaining ob-gyn: Dr. Mindy Lahiri, who’s giving her relationship with on-again-off-again office flame Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) another go. TIME caught up with Mindy Kaling to talk about the new season’s sex scenes, Beyoncé-inspired erotic fanfiction and her favorite bloody TV shows.
TIME: What can you tease about the new season?
Mindy Kaling: There’s something sexy and fun about all the new boyfriends coming in, but we found that with Mindy and Danny together, the show is actually so much more rated-R than before. It’s delightful for us, because we’re all kind of neurotic, slightly over-educated perverts. So that was great.
Their first sex scene looks awkward. What was it like to shoot?
A joy. Chris Messina is the most in-touch-with-his-body person of all time, and all he does is make you feel beautiful and confident. I’ve known him now for quite some time and we’re so comfortable with each other that I wasn’t self-conscious at all. I wish on every actress that they get to shoot a sex scene with Chris Messina, because it’s great fun.
Have you read any of the Mindy-Danny fanfiction that’s online?
A couple years ago I read something, and it was fantastic. I was like, “Okay, I better not read any more of this because I could be enjoying this too much.”
I found one that was both kind of X-rated and Beyoncé-inspired.
That’s wonderful. That could have been one of my staff.
You’re writing the follow-up to your first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Any tips for writer’s block?
For every nine hours that I’m “writing,” only one hour of it is productive time. So for me, I just make sure that I’ve put in the hours of procrastinating, Internet and wandering around my house, and then I’ll have one hour of actual productivity.
Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is guesting on The Mindy Project. Will there be jokes about her fictional hospital?
There are none in the script yet, but I have obviously loved Shonda for such a long time, and she’s a fan of our show. Her character went to Dartmouth [where Kaling and Rhimes both studied], so it’s an organic way to bring her into the show to play herself. She’s being such a good sport about it. It’s a super funny cameo.
Have you learned anything weird about medicine from playing a doctor?
One thing I’ve noticed from going to my own OB-GYN is how everything is so streamlined in a way that we have to keep up with the technology on set. My own doctor, who’s in his 60s, is using his iPad, and everything’s portable and wireless in way that a lot of shows don’t keep up with. That was one thing we had to do.
The show pays homage to many rom-coms. What do you say to people who claim the genre is dead?
The romantic comedy is alive — it’s just not in the same places I think we’re used to finding them. I find them so much more on television, and television is so much more of a writer’s medium.
When it comes to television, are you a binge-watcher?
I can only marathon shows. I can’t just watch 21 minutes of it, I’ll need to watch nine episodes, so the Netflix model is great for me, because I love to watch an entire season in a day. Also for my schedule, that works best.
What shows are you into right now?
I’m waiting for The Walking Dead to return. I love Game of Thrones.
Those are pretty bloody. Are you squeamish?
I’m not squeamish about blood, except for hearing. I can’t hear stories about people getting their arm caught in the door or anything like that. If people tell me violent stories, I can’t listen to that. But I can watch it like a sociopath!
A version of this story also appears in the Sept. 22 issue of TIME, on stands now.
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