BY ZAINAB FATIMA
Mindy Kaling is amazing. Many of you may know her as Kelly Kapoor from The Office, which all of you have probably seen, and if not… you need to watch it. She’s also a bestselling author of Why not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). For the past few years, Kaling has written, produced and starred in The Mindy Project. The show is about Mindy Lahiri, an ob-gyn at Shulman & Associates in New York City. She’s funny, wild, smart and embraces her sexuality. I’ve decided to write about this show now because it’s on its final season.
There are many reasons to why I love the show, and not only because it’s hilarious. There happen to be plenty of Mindy Project fans at MD, so here are some opinions from other students:
When Prema Kapoor was asked what she liked about the show, and she said that she liked the diversity in the show. Prema also mentioned that the show is realistic but has fictitious elements – like Groundhogs Day. And lastly, the show points out how some characters are privileged and some aren’t, as seen in the episode where Mindy wakes in a white male’s body (S05E12: “Mindy Lahiri is a White Man”).
Tanisha Ghoshal was asked the same question. She said that a reason she likes this program is because you don’t see many representations of coloured women in TV shows. Another reason is that Mindy is a doctor trying to manage her career and her personal life, which is really interesting since it’s relatable. Also, she’s just hilarious.
When I asked Simran Rakhra what she liked about The Mindy Project, she said, “The fact that Indian women are shown in a positive manner. Usually we are shown as super shy, and as that stereotypical smart girl. But in the show, we are free and open to be ourselves, while being funny. Hollywood and Bollywood rarely talk about this. She [Kaling] is a role model for me. I didn’t see anyone growing up who was the same skin tone and ethnicity as me, so it’s really nice to see someone like that on the screen.”
As you can see, the reasons students listed were more than just the comedic aspects of the show. Clearly, students at MD really appreciate when a show has a diverse cast. The Mindy Project does an amazing job when it comes to being inclusive and overcoming stereotypes. The protagonist of the show is an Indian American woman, and she is far from the typical Indian characters you see in Hollywood. Usually, when a South Asian character is introduced, they are nerdy, don’t know anything about Western culture, are quite serious, and not very open about sex. Mindy Lahiri is the total opposite. The show doesn’t focus on her race, either. It isn’t about an Indian woman, but a regular woman, living her life. Also, the show is diverse when it comes to many things: body types, sexuality, ethnicity.
As for me, there are many reasons why I’m obsessed with The Mindy Project. Like I mentioned, I really appreciate that it’s diverse. I also love that there are episodes that focus on privilege, family, religion/self identity, self image, parenting, commitment and finding your soulmate. What I love even more is that the show is very clever when it comes to talking about these heavy topics. There are things that I’ve listed that are pretty serious topics, such as privilege and religion.
The episode where Mindy wakes up as a white man highlights how she has to work a lot harder as an Indian woman. I love that one morning she woke up in an unfamiliar body, and noticed how people treated her different. However, the show still manages to be hilarious, which can’t be very easy to do.
Another touchy subject is religion. This has come up a couple times on the show, but my favourite was when Mindy decides to raise her son, Leo, both Catholic and Hindu. Mindy and her son’s father, Danny, are different ethnicities and follow different religions. Previously, Mindy had decided to raise her son Catholic for Danny. But now that she is a single mom, she wants her son to be familiar with his mom’s religion, too. One can only imagine the struggle parents can go through when it comes to raising children. Leo has parents who were raised completely differently, and now Mindy has to find a way to incorporate both cultures in his life (S04E18: “Bernardo and Anita”).
I decided to write this piece to show how important diversity is to us at MD. We want shows where we feel represented and included. I’m aware that we don’t usually review TV shows on the News Team, however, I still wanted to talk about this because of how personal it is to me. There are endless hilarious shows you can find on TV, but not all of them talk about real issues. And when a show like The Mindy Project manages to accomplish this, you know that it won’t go unappreciated.