The Mindy Project is a show of outrageous characters, but one especially eccentric personality stands out among the rest. Played by the brilliant Beth Grant, Beverly is, perhaps, the most out there of them all on the Mindy Kaling comedy — largely because she’s so unpredictable.
You never know what Shulman & Associates’ kooky nurse-turned-receptionist is going to say (though it’s safe to assume that whatever it is, it’ll be wildly inappropriate, offensive, and also laugh-out-loud funny), and that’s resulted in a number of hilarious and shocking moments and lines for the character.
Like the audience, the actress (No Country for Old Men, Donnie Darko) has been surprised many times by Beverly herself, but that’s exactly what’s led to some of her favorites moments and lines during the show. Take, for example, an incident in which Beverly was particularly forthcoming about her sexuality.
“Oh my lord, when I got that masturbation line, it changed my life,” Grant says of a scene where Danny’s (Chris Messina) wife catches him masturbating, and Beverly offers her opinion on the matter. “Everybody is all up in the turmoil and I happen to be in the office and I say ‘Well, I don’t see what the big deal is. I masturbate all the time. I did during this discussion,’ which is a fabulous line. My generation didn’t talk about masturbation, never said the word out loud.”
And that’s just the beginning. The actress recalls an early line from an episode in which she first guest-starred as being one that’s stuck with her years later. “Dr. Reed asks me if I have any dreams because he’s getting ready to fire me and I say ‘Yeah, that I’m not working here anymore and I’m a babysitter for a Sheik’s Harem with a side business waxing them and stuff,’” she says. “Now, come on. It’s just incredible. Who would fantasize about such a thing?”
Grant has a particular fondness for the show’s smaller lines that still provide big insight, with her character and otherwise. But for Beverly in particular, Grant remembers a couple running jokes where she’s recognized as someone else (or perhaps as herself from a previous life). “We had a clinic at the prison and a prisoner came by and said ‘Susan Johnson’ and I said, ‘I don’t know any Susan Johnson and I’ve never been to Tucson,’” Grant starts, then explains a similar run-in Beverly had with Mindy’s policeman beau, Charlie (Tim Daly). “[Charlie] says ‘Susan Johnson’ and I said ‘No… I’m Beverly… something.’ So I like that, that she’s obviously been in prison.”
There’s also the dialogue that leaves room for, err, interpretation. “There’s a tiny little line I like a lot when I’m so inappropriate at the Christmas party that Jeremy locked me in the supply room,” Grant starts. “I got out and they said ‘How did you get out?’ and I said ‘I wiggled.’ There’s such a window in two words. We have an amazing ability to get places we need to go when we’re desperate.” We’ll let you read between the lines…
Surely there are more crazy antics in store for Beverly in season 4, which premiered Tuesday on Hulu. Kaling has said that the move to Hulu has afforded new creative freedoms, but Grant advises that viewers shouldn’t necessarily expect Beverly to be as sharp-tongued as ever. “I don’t think we’re going to do anything drastically different, but [the show] will have more of us,” she says, speaking to the new season’s slightly longer episodes.
That said, she wants to see Beverly get even wilder, perhaps with a romantic escapade. She’s even suggested a hashtag — #GetBeverlyLaid — and while a joke, it just might be telling of all the far-out places her character will go.