With ‘The Office‘ in it’s last season, it was time for Mindy Kaling to move on to bigger and better things. She landed her on show on FOX where she gets to call all the shots and sleep with hot doctors. The pilot of ‘The Mindy Project‘ has been available to watch for a couple of weeks now, but I wanted to wait until it premiered Tuesday to watch it. Hey, I like watching my TV shows on an actual TV. While my instincts told me to absolutely fall in love with the show, I didn’t, and that is okay.
TMP stars Mindy as Mindy Lahiri, a gynecologist who chooses to live her life as if it’s a romantic comedy and tries to balance her out of whack love life with her demanding job. It sounds pretty run-of-the-mill, but I give Mindy credit for making her character a bit more realistic and relatable. She details her love of chick flicks to an un-enthused police officer and why it got her arrested in the first place. She falls in love with a dentist, played by Bill Hader from ‘Saturday Night Live,‘ but he dumps her for the Serbian bagel girl who works at their hospital and they soon get married. At their wedding, she gives a disastrous and way too personal toast, then rides her bike home drunk and crashes into a pool. “I’m Sandra Bullock!” she screams, wobbling down the street. Sobering up after her friend Gwen (Anna Camp) bails her out of jail, she loses a patient to cocky OB/GYN Danny Castellano (Chris Messina). Then her occasional FB (f*** buddy) Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) is another hot doc she works with that tries to make her feel better about her body by loving it down in his office.
Mindy’s character is very much an extension of her real self, girly, cute and can quote every Nora Ephron movie ever made. While she isn’t someone that I 100% identify with, I love that there is a brown girl on TV that is playing this type of character that is usually only portrayed by white actresses. See Jessica Day on “New Girl,” played by Zooey Deschanel.
There has been some backlash to The Mindy Project, and I’m still not entirely sure where it’s coming from. One complaint is that the besides Kaling, and one of her assistants, the show is mostly filled with white characters. There is a moment where Mindy has to take on a pregnant patient with no insurance, who also doesn’t speak English. This was a small moment, but kind of important.
Kaling herself told Entertainment Weekly,
“I am an Indian woman and I’m a kind of double minority in this world, but I felt like my pilot was a great pilot, not just for all Indian-American women writing pilots that year.”
There is pressure on female writers, and especially women of color, to create the “right” kind of character, but I feel like Mindy was just trying to show that is brown girls can be anything. Even guy-obsessed ditzes. Although quite curvaceous, she doesn’t look like a Sofia Vergara, and is noticeably broken when Dr. Castellano tells her she needs to lose weight to look good in an outfit she picked out for a date. Struggling with a body image, and sleeping with guys you know you shouldn’t be messing around with…I think that’s something that most women can relate to at some point in their lives.
So do I love ‘The Mindy Project‘? Well, not yet. In the same way that I kind of hated “New Girl” when it first started, eventually it grew on me and I know TMP will too. At least I hope it does.