Monday, September 10, 2012


Mindy, Mindy, Mindy

She’s approachable; she’s not a stick figure; moreover, as her show’s one other writer-performer, Ike Barinholtz, formerly the Russian pitcher on Eastbound & Down, puts it, “She can definitely do very highbrow, but she’s not past making a boner joke. I feel like one of the first things you notice about her is like, ‘Whoa! You’re like Will Ferrell or Danny McBride, but you’re this cute little Indian girl wearing cute little red short-shorts.’” Both the mainstream and the marginalized can identify with her; by defying easy categorization, she’s become the contemporary Everywoman, both a Mary and a Rhoda.

In advance of The Mindy Project, Jada Yuan profiles the excellent Mindy Kaling for New York magazine. It's great. (The Mindy Project premieres September 25 on Fox, although the full pilot is currently on Hulu.)

72 Comments / Post A Comment


But if you can't wait, it's on Hulu now! My review: "It's very cute, but my boyfriend didn't like it."

New Hoarder

@mayonegg I will make my husband watch it and update my review accordingly.

Edith Zimmerman

@mayonegg Ah, thank you! Post updated.


@mayonegg I think my boyfriend and I have the same opinion (although he's not around to verify): it's cute, and we'll keep watching it, but we expected something a little less cheesy from her.

But it was just the pilot! Definitely going to keep watching and see how it works out. I hated The New Girl in the first few episodes, but now I find it relatively pleasant, so who knows! (I don't want to talk about why I watch shows I dislike. I'm currently working through Running Wilde on Netflix, even though I have not laughed a single time at it.)

New Hoarder

@KeLynn Running Wilde! I dutifully watched the whole run, if anything just to see Keri Russell's luscious hair locks again! I have one saved episode on my Tivo though- something about a school dance and this 8-year old is KR's date. The ridiculata kinda snowballed into hilarity in that episode, finally.


Thanks :) useful and pretty@v

New Hoarder

Just watched the pilot this weekend OnDemand. It was pretty good- I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. But then again I love that manic Mindy Kaling!

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

every profile of any woman in entertainment has to designate whether or not said woman's body is 'stick figure-esque'


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Yeah, I raised an eyebrow at that line.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@PatatasBravas 'when a woman doesnt look like a stick, i just feel really uncomfortable'


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood "Also, when she does look like a stick, I make comments about wanting to feed her a steak and judge her for eating salads!"

Oh, squiggles

To be fair, it's not like the human mind is capable of categorizing people into more than two categories at one time. Stick or not-stick are the important things to keep in mind with actresses/women in general. It makes us feel 'special' and 'validated' by the scant nanoseconds it takes to shuffle us off into either category.

saul "the bear" berenson

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I appreciate the acknowledgement that Mindy's physicality is different than the typical network television leading lady. Her "type" is different than what you see on The New Girl, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Happy Endings, and so on - particularly as leads who get romantic storylines. There is a pervasive notion in entertainment that people watch shows featuring character they want to look like - aspirational viewing. So it will be interesting to see if people watch Mindy... not that she isn't beautiful!!! But she's different, and not the typical type that gets to play lead romantic roles. This is a really important conversation to have, and it's good that the profile brings it up. If (and when) the show is a hit, it will change thing for women in television. But yeah, there's something icky and reductive about the term "stick-figure" though, right?

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@Moxie all true! even as someone who personally doesnt care for her, its great to see a woman of color with a different body type staring in a major network sitcom. i guess my issue is that is HAS to be brought up. it feels like a product of the 'Real Women Have Curves' movement, which is super other-making.

and yeah "stick-figure" is an awful term.


@Awesomely Nonfunctional Every woman is either a stick figure or a Log Lady.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I thought it was weird that they defined her by comparing her with what she isn't ("she's not a stick-figure") but I've never seen anyone described AS a stick figure in a flattering profile. The very language here should tip off any sentient person that we're collectively very weird about body type and weight.


@Decca I read that as "Hog Lady" and that's how I'm going to refer to myself from now on.

femme cassidy

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Yeah, I am super not into this thing where in order to compliment curvy/thick/fat/muscular/etc. women's bodies, we are required by law to insult thin women's bodies. Because god forbid we acknowledge that more than one body type can be attractive! SOMEBODY HAS TO BE A TROLL.


I watched it on HULU and thought it was terrible. I expected a lot more from her than a tv version of every single romantic comedy I've ever seen.

I did laugh when she yelled "racist!" while drunk biking.


@Slutface that part made me laugh too.

New Hoarder

@Slutface No, I liked how she was trying to force her life into being a cinematic romantic comedy, and it so clearly isn't.


@New Hoarder - Exactly! I think the humor lies in the disconnect between her rom-com imagined life and her reality. (See: the meet-cute in the elevator and subsequent payoff. Also, I told my soon-to-be-wed sister that I will be performing that toast word-for-word at her reception.)


@alannaofdoom I get that there's supposed to be humor there, but I think they missed the boat. It's just a pilot though so I'm definitely going to keep tuning in.


@alannaofdoom I liked that line in the article about how she thinks she should be dating Chris Evans even though she clearly can't. Like, I get that. I think I should be dating John Slattery, but that ship's sailed, sooo.


@alannaofdoom Thank you -- now I know exactly what to do the next time I'm invited to a wedding I don't want to go to!

Fiddle dee dee


I would thumb-wrestle you for Slattery.

I remain intrigued that he is married to Clooney's ex-wife.


@Slutface I don't get the Mindy Kaling thing? I just don't find her that hilarious. I wish I did! I will probably watch the show anyway because I want to understaaand.

Pop Pop

The pilot is really great- I have the biggest girl crush on Mindy, no lie. My roommate, upon watching the pilot, asked, "are you and Mindy the same person?" I nearly fainted with glee.


my initial reaction is: jumping up and down, flailing hands, woo girling


@redheaded&crazie WOOOO!


I had no idea about her mother's passing earlier this year. That section of the profile was heartbreaking.

Gracefully and Grandly

@CalvinBall Neither did I. Definitely teared up at that part, particularly when she asked her Mom to write down all of the advice she had for her...my eyes are welling just thinking about it.


@Gracefully and Grandly Yep, I cried, too.


@CalvinBall I really appreciated the part where she said "the single most profound relationship that I’ve ever had in my life" is the one with her mom. That's how I feel too, about my mom (who actually survived cancer when I was young, which I will admit might make me a little too worrysome/protective of her), and I have definitely had people try to shame me about it. Our relationship isn't perfect, but I just really like her and she really likes me and every bad bit is worth it for all the love and funny she injects into my life. Woo moms!


"You look nice." "Shut up!" that's it, I'm going to have to check this pilot out tonight.

New Hoarder

@area@twitter This reminds me of most of my fashion interactions with my husband.

Me: Which earrings should I wear with this outfit?
Him: Those.
Me: No, I think I'll wear these. *picks up other pair*
Him: *rolls eyes*
Me: How do I look? *gestures to whole outfit*
Him: Great!
Me: OH SHUDUP (secretly pleased)

saul "the bear" berenson

What did you guys think of Marc Maron's interview w/ her on WTF? She was pretty legit in calling him out for his apparent need to locate her damage, when maybe she doesn't really have that much, and it seemed like she was sort of making a point about how if she was a white male showrunner/comedian/actor his questions would be different. He pulled a similar brand of crap with Chelsea Handler and of course it's fun when the women kind of hand it back to him. All good stuff, but I still found the whole thing kind of off-putting, and I can't really figure out why.

Anyway I love the pilot of her show and will probably watch the whole season.


@Moxie I really love Maron, and I think you have a point, but I kind of wish she was a little more forthcoming in the interview? That's kind of WTF's "Thing". I don't think Maron was unfair, and she listens to the show, she couldn't have been too surprised, but I also think she had every right to answer questions the way she did. With Handler, I think they were both kind of in on it, a lot of commenters ranted about how she was a bitch, etc., but I think they really just liked giving each other shit. I just know I love Mindy and I love Maron.


@katiemcgillicuddy Well, he does ask those things and a hell of a lot more to his male guests. I thought her interview was very boring. She was pretty guarded and like she was over it. It really put me off. Marc tried his best.
Handler was just a complete bitch to him. All she wanted to talk about was her awesome house.


@Moxie I think his questions to a dude would be just as probing and pointed... they ARE as probing and pointed. I think he usually gets what he wants out guests in a more roundabout way and asked her directly about her "demons" because she was so guarded.

That said, I liked her response.

saul "the bear" berenson

@Slutface I think the weirdness came from how Mindy was all "why are you asking me this?" when she seemingly should have known that to be Maron's whole thing on the podcast. You can listen to one episode of WTF and get the idea of what he does. It felt to me like a weird, veiled version of "you're asking me this because I'm a woman/not white/whatever, aren't you" when that's how Maron treats everybody. Agreed that he tried his best. @Megoon has an excellent point that he was so direct with her because she was so withholding.

The whole thing was odd because I like her so much, and her brand is all about oversharing and gut-spilling, so it was like seeing this other defensive side of her, and I worried that Maron was getting at the "real" her.

Oh the other hand, reading the New York profile, it sounds like her mother was dying right as she was promoting the book, and I wonder if the WTF interview was right smack in the middle of all that and she just Didn't Want to Go There. Which would be totally fair.


@all Yeah, it was strange. She listens to the podcast and yet she sounded so defensive and borderline offended when he tried to get her to open up? It was disappointing. Though, I didn't know about her mom, that may very well have had an influence, so fuck it, I still love her. But yeah, I think Maron treats women and men the same (although, the listeners who comment seem like juiceboxes towards female guests sometimes...) Anyone ever listen to the Kathleen Madigan one? Or the Fionna Apple one? Both were absolutely fantastic. Maron is great, Mindy is great, and Handler is a jackass, whatever.


@Moxie Oh! The Fiona interview is one of my favorites. She was so cute and they just chatted like old friends, but about serious stuff. It was awesome.


@Slutface It was wonderful. He did a great job, and she was so interesting and lovely. She kinda crushed on him, too, which was cute. It's one of the best ones yet. (I think the best one, though, was the one he did recently with John Oliver. Fantastic stuff).

elysian fields

On a related note, you guys have all read her book, right? Do it now! You can read the whole thing in about two hours and it's totally funny. I laughed about three times as often while reading it than while reading Tina Fey's book. (Which is not a dig at the great and mighty Ms. Fey. "Bossypants" was just a lot more, uh, *serious* then I had been led to believe.)


@elysian fields Ooh! I have not, but I will remedy that immediately. (Agreed with you on "Bossypants", by the way; it's a great book for so many reasons, but less laugh-out-loud funny than I might have thought.)

New Hoarder

@elysian fields I read it with her voice in my head and kept giggle-snorting on the train. Deal, old people!

Lily Rowan

@area@twitter I wished Bossypants were either more serious or more funny. I would have liked either thing!

I loved Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? so so much.

And as long as I'm commenting here, I finally figured out who I know who went to high school with her, so that's a relief.


@elysian fields "Bossypants" was like a symposium with a well-respected woman who's work I respect.

IEHOWMAOC is like an extremely long email from my hilarious best-friend.

Also, my guy read IEHOWMAOC and thought it was hilarious, as well.

mari d

@Lily Rowan I agree. I thought Bossypants was interesting, but not particularly funny. Whereas Mindy's book has a "laugh out loud" line on every single page.

SO SAD about her mother.


@elysian fields WHY DO MEN TAKE SO DAMN LONG TO PUT ON THEIR SHOES? I was so glad she validated my impatience with my husband's five-minute getting-out-the-door routine.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Amphora I found Mindy Kaling's book to be good, and it made me feel like I know her better, so I enjoyed The Mindy Project even more because of that, but it also felt like it was... missing something, I don't know. Like there were some chapters missing.


@Rookie I agree, and maybe that's just a problem inherent in comedians getting book deals - I wanted it to be a little more like a memoir, but that's a totally different skill set than screenwriting or standup.

Oh, squiggles

She does seem like she would be a great OB-GYN.

Nicole Cliffe

I have never liked anyone more based on a NY Mag profile in my whole life of always liking people.


I am withholding judgement on the pilot as they can be bland or terrible even when the show turns out super great (see: New Girl).

New Hoarder

@aliceandstuff I think the supporting casts makes New Girl. I don't know if that will be the same case here, but I am looking forward to Mindy more than I was looking forward to Zooey.


@aliceandstuff Yeah, it was a little uneven but comedies often need time to grow into themselves. (See also the entire first abbreviated season of Parks and Rec.) But I liked enough parts of it that I'm willing to give it that time, if that makes sense.


@New Hoarder In general I agree, but as someone at the AV Club comments pointed out: Zooey was always capable of playing a likable character, it was the material in the early part of the season that was too over-the-top. Once they toned her down a bit and made everyone else in the apartment weird things evened out nicely.


@aliceandstuff Agreed! I love me some NG, especially now that I feel like it has found its footing. Most of my favorite comedies get better with age, i.e. Always Sunny and 30 Rock.


If you can get both Stephen Tobolowsky AND Richard Schiff to cameo in your pilot? You just won EVERYTHING.


Kaling has a deep appreciation for romantic comedies... but also knows that when most people think of them, they “think of how crappy they are.” ... her meet-cute in an elevator with Bill Hader that ends with him dumping her for a blonde Serbian “bagel girl” because he “wanted someone with more years to share.”

That sounds exactly like every romantic comedy, ever. (Girl gets dumped by initially-awesome-seeming-but-actually-jerky guy, for jerky reason.) Just rehashing tropes but with a wink isn't mitigating the crappiness.

I love her comedic sensibility, but her interests appear to be things like shopping and rom-coms. Not my bag really, but for people who are into those things, I bet her stuff will be perfect.

New Hoarder

@joeks I like how Mindy Kaling knows it's kind of shallow to be so into that stuff but unabashedly owns it.


Man, if I was a fucking MEDICAL DOCTOR I wouldn't be all, "Oh no you can't come over at 3am for sex I want to marry you" I would be more like, "Uh yes, you will come over at 3am to ravish me because I am a MEDICAL DOCTOR and I save BABIES and I don't have time for your bullshit."


I watched the pilot and thought it was pretty good! Mindy's character seems to be continuing the trend of screwed-up-and-not-always-likable female protagonists (a la Girls/Bridesmaids/Young Adult) which I approve of.

But man, watching it reminded me that Hulu is the worst. So many repetitive commercials!


She had me at "penis of Michael Fassbender". The end.

Legs Battaglia

I got kind of a weird feeling from her book that Mindy is a Republican.


@Legs Battaglia I think she actually HAS said that she's a Republican in some past interviews, so your weird feeling is likely correct!


@werewolfbarmitzvah Yes, she's said she is in interviews.


@Legs Battaglia I'm gonna pretend I didn't just read that.


just wanna leave this here

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