Farewell Dear Mindy Project, The One-Woman Show Hollywood Needed

Pop Culture

Farewell Dear Mindy Project, The One-Woman Show Hollywood Needed

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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ix years ago, Fox greenlit The Mindy Project, and its showrunner, creator, and lead, Mindy Kaling, became the first Indian-American to have a network show. A few years before that, she was the one female writer (at the age of 24) to seven male writers on NBC’s highly acclaimed The Office, a show she also acted in. In between, she’s also written two urgently relatable and hilarious bestsellers and voiced a character in Disney’s Oscar-winning Inside Out. Doing things on her own terms, Kaling has been consistently shattering the glass ceiling on behalf of women and actors of colour everywhere. She has led by example, and created a space for fellow people of colour to be acknowledged and heard. In the showbiz industry, with its reputation for stifling minority voices, that’s no mean feat.

An even greater feat was her creation of Mindy Lahiri, the romance-obsessed gynaecologist protagonist of The Mindy Project. For one, she wasn’t the perfect “It Girl” like a Rachel or a Penny. Her Mindy Lahiri was as flawed as it gets. She may have been a 30-something, successful, single, brown doctor, but her personal growth and love-life were in tatters. When the show started out, Lahiri wasn’t even instantly likeable — she had constant panic attacks, was selfish, had just been dumped (and made a scene at her ex’s wedding), and daydreamed of having a picture-perfect life straight out of a romcom. She was basically an irresponsible adult, but one who lived life on her own terms and worked hard to make her life look like the movies she yearned for.

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