Soon you will understand why this was the only plausible title for this entry. Let me just say that I love Mindy Kaling. Really, I do. Ever since the first time that our brown faces met when I first saw her on The Office, albeit through the television screen, I knew that I had a friend in her. The thing that I loved and hated the most about Kelly Kapoor was her complete and utter lack of consideration for others. What I mean is that Kapoor hardly ever did the mental checks that ‘good’ people are supposed to do. She was self-centered, superficial and blindly devoted to someone who barely cared about her. So unabashed was her character’s interest in herself that you wanted to hug her, slap her and then give her some Dear Abby type of advice. Some found her character annoying. To be honest I would have to if not for this fact that women of color are hardly ever portrayed without some type of struggle or inexplicable chip on their shoulder. Watching her crash diet and complain about a botched drink order at Starbucks was refreshing. Unfortunately, these were the things that easily made her a stock character.
The only thing that Kelly lacked was a true voice. So I was more than happy when Mindy Kaling wrote her first book. Even more excited when I heard that she was going to write, produce ad star in her own comedy television series. I was hooked at the very first episode. Kaling has successfully applied every romantic movie cliche into her show, twist it, and make it work! This is amazing to me, because in every disgustingly romantic movie the only person of character has either been a minor role or a sassy best friend. I was never Meg Ryan or Sandra Bullock, and neither was Lucy Liu. We got somewhat close with Jennifer Lopez (yes, I liked The Wedding Planner), but Maid in Manhattan dashed those hopes.
The show’s Mindy is not only a partner in a successful medical practice, but also seemingly superficial. It is not strange to hear medical jargon thrown in with Dior pumps. She’s like an East Coast version of Elle Woods! Please don’t ask me why that’s so exciting … Finally we get some exposure to an Indian-American woman on television. While that is a wonderful thing, Kaling doesn’t insist on being the representative for the Indian- American female experience. In her book and in interviews, she acknowledges the fact that while she may not have been physically similar to her peers they did have similar experiences. She has never allowed herself to feel like an outcast, and it shows in her series. She is able to speak about her ethnicity in the show without agenda.She’s not trying to change anyone’s minds or to even shift anyone’s perceptions. She’s telling stories about a woman, trying to navigate through her romantic life as efficiently as possible. She just so happens to be a woman of Indian descent. This is what I like to see.
Signed, the Black Pop Tart