Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak’s ‘Weird as Hell’ Relationship: A Glossary

Reference this when their co-authored book comes out. You're going to need it.

bj novak mindy kaling

Ryan and Kelly 4ever. | Image via NBC

Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak know how to set the standards for relationship goals. They’re both Boston-bred, Ivy League-educated and longtime co-stars of The Office, and still, after all these years, they remained a-couple-of-the-past, frequent-co-workers, sometimes-antagonists, and ultimately very-best-friends. It’s “weird as hell,” Kaling said about their friendship in her June cover feature of InStyle. “I guess you could describe our relationship as a ‘romantically charged camaraderie with loud arguments.'”

Soon after the June issue of InStyle hit newsstands, news broke that Kaling and Novak would indeed write a co-authored book together for a real big price tag. It won’t be a tell-all, Kaling said, but assured it will be ‘funny’ and ‘cool.’ Hence: relationship goals.

While the history of Kaling and Novak’s together-ness has since been rehashed, whats next for you, dear reader, is to get familiar with the lingo, the jokes, and the context. And here, we made it easy for you.


$7.5 million
Amount of money Novak and Kaling will reportedly be paid to write their co-authored book.

10 minutes
The distance, measured in time, between Kaling and Novak’s homes in which they grew up. Kaling was raised right here in Cambridge, and Novak in Newton. Kaling explained at BookCon 2015 that even though they grew up “10 minutes away” from each other, they actually met in Los Angeles via The Office.

A website that also quite literally ships Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak together…by way of their books.

A popular Tumblr blog dedicated to the life and times of Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak’s relationship.

BookCon 2015
Novak led a conversation with Kaling at BookCon about her second book coming out in September 2015 called Why Not Me? For one hour, they talked about a lot different subjects including the title of the book’s meaning, celebrity crushes, chapter titles, The Mindy Project, and more.

Boston magazine’s April 2015 issue
In which Kaling appeared on the cover of yours truly. Kaling shared the cover image on her Instagram. Novak left a comment: “Wtf.” Kaling replied to his comment with a sad-face emoji. Novak later shared a photo on Instagram in which he is grocery shopping with his Mom, and has Boston‘s April issue in his shopping cart.

According to a text Novak shared on Instagram, this is a word Kaling used to describe the sound made when a person eats dried seaweed.

Harry & Sally
A common reference to the movie When Harry Met Sally, comparing Novak and Kaling’s courtship to Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal’s. “Harry & Sally” is the title of the Mindy Project episode in which Novak’s character Jamie first appears—an episode that Kaling and Novak wrote together. Both also dressed up as Harry and Sally for a People magazine feature.

The Howard Stern Show
In 2014, Kaling addressed her relationship with Novak in an interview with Howard Stern. She said Novak was her “great love.” “He’s legitimately one of my best friends,” she said. “I love him, and I think he’s a great person. But I’m not holding a candle for B.J.” She also told Stern that she doesn’t know if she’d ever get back together with Novak.

“I have a lot of questions. Number one: How dare you?”
A quotation originally from an Office episode when Kaling’s character is being hostile toward Novak’s character. Novak referenced this line again at his BookCon panel with Kaling.

Invisible Mindy
Kaling appears in Nationwide Insurance’s Super Bowl ad with Matt Damon. Kaling tweeted a funny selfie of herself with Damon, writing, “Proof I’m not invisible,” to which Novak replied, “YOU’RE NOT INVISIBLE TO ME @MINDYKALING ♥”

Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me?
Kaling’s first memoir released in 2011. In her acknowledgments she nods to Novak, writing, “B.J. Novak was a terrific friend and editor, giving me sound notes like ‘Hey, Mindy, I think you sound kind of racist here. I would be really careful about not sounding racist in your book.'”

Novak’s character on The Mindy Project. Jamie appeared in a three-episode arc in 2013 that Kaling and Novak wrote together, originally as a potential love interest for Kaling’s character, Mindy Lahiri. Lahiri finds out that Jamie has an uncomfortably close relationship with his female best friend, and Novak told Entertainment Weekly that this storyline was inspired by his real-life relationship with Kaling.

Jeremy Bronson
A writer for The Mindy Project, and a mutual friend of Kaling and Novak. He is mentioned in many Twitter threads between Kaling and Novak, and also in Instagram photos such as this. He also watched the Patriots in the Super Bowl with Kaling and Novak.

Kelly Kapoor
Kaling’s character on The Office. Kelly is the customer service representative for Dunder Mifflin Scranton, is the frequent on-and-off-again girlfriend of Novak’s character Ryan, and is sometimes known as ‘The Business Bitch.’

Keough Novak
Novak’s fictional sister persona that lives on social media. She frequents the Twitter feeds of Kaling and Novak very often. She’s basically a very drawn-out joke that will seemingly never end.

The Mindy Project
Kaling’s TV show on Fox in which she created, stars, writes, and produces. She stars as Mindy Lahiri, an OBGYN in New York City. Novak starred in a three-episode arc as a potential love interest for Lahiri, and is also credited as an executive producer on the show from 2012-2014.

“Nothing Compares 2U”
The Island cover song that Novak said is better than the original. Kaling agreed, replying ,”If we get married I insist John Mayer sing and perform this version at the reception.” Novak replied back, “I have to agree that would be very ‘us’ to have a famously wrenching breakup song play at our wedding.”

One More Thing
The title of Novak’s short-story collection. Novak gives Kaling a personal acknowledgement: “Mindy Kaling gets her own line in the acknowledgments, as previously negotiated by her representatives. Thanks, Mindy. I love you and you’re the best.” Kaling also appears in the official book trailer.

Ohio State University
In 2008, Kaling appeared at OSU with her Office co-star Craig Robinson. As part of her stand-up, she called Novak on her Blackberry, and he spoke briefly as she held the phone to her mic. A person in the crowd shouted “I love you, B.J.!” and Kaling quipped that no has shouted “I love you, Mindy.” After a pause, B.J. replied, “I love you, Mindy.”

Ryan Howard
Novak’s character on The Office. Ryan is first Dunder Mifflin’s temp, then a big-time corporate executive, then a lackluster salesman, then a Michael Scott Paper company employee, and then a creator of WUPHF.com. He is the on-and-off-again boyfriend of Kaling’s character Kelly.

Shakey’s Pizza
An L.A.-area pizza parlor in which Novak had Kaling’s name put on the sign for her birthday in June 2012.

Samantha Ronson
A mutual friend of Kaling and Novak, a singer/songwriter/DJ also in the Hollywood scene. She once tweeted this cute picture of Kaling and Novak together.

Soup snakes
A term of endearment used between Kaling and Novak. It started when Novak tweeted the phrase saying, “Mindy and I are soup-snakes.” It is a reference to The Office when Michael blunders the word ‘soulmates.’

Subtle Sexuality
Subtle Sexuality is a duo band made up of Kaling’s character on The Office, Kelly Kapoor, and Ellie Kemper’s character, Erin Hannon. Ryan, Novak’s character, appears in many of their music videos like “The Girl Next Door” and “Male Prima Donna.”

“You autocomplete me.”
A phrase Novak tweeted to Kaling in February 2012.