When Fox didn’t renew The Mindy Project last spring, I began the process of mourning yet another show I’d lost too early. I was completely devastated. I’d grown attached to our standing Tuesday night dates and then re-watching the episode with my best friend on Sunday afternoons.
So when Hulu announced that it would take over the series and produce a fourth season, I was overjoyed. The Mindy Project was an instant favorite of mine from the very first episode. It had everything I wanted in show: a goofy but ambitious female protagonist, characters I could actually relate to, and the feeling of a romantic comedy without having to say goodbye to characters I’d grown to love after just two hours.
There are so many reasons we love The Mindy Project, but here are just a few.
- Mindy is three-dimensional
It’s no secret that the way women have been portrayed in televisions historically—especially comedies—have always been a little off. Typically, they’re pigeon hold into being one thing, becoming more a vehicle for the same plot line week after week rather than feeling like a fully fleshed human being. Mindy Lahiri is complex. She’s both vulnerable and assertive. She can be judgmental one moment and sweet the next. She wants to get married and have kids, but that’s not her only focus. She also makes time for her friends and opens up her own fertility practice.
Unlike Lauren Conrad, Mindy chose Paris (and then invested in a good cell phone so she could keep her long distance relationship going because, you know, it’s actually okay and perfectly normal to want more than just one thing at a time).
- Mindy Kaling (Duh.)
While the show exhibits great casting all around, it obviously would not be The Mindy Project we know and love without its creator/writer/leading lady, Mindy Kaling. If you’ve read either of Mindy’s books or listened to some of her interviews, you understand that Dr. Lahiri’s viewpoint and mannerisms are very much a part of Kaling’s personal repertoire.
I’ve heard both Kermit the Frog and Tom Hanks referred to as “the everyman”, and this description fits Kaling, too—the everywoman. She’s relatable and exudes a warm, friendly presence. You can’t help but feel like if you ran into her on the street, you could ask her to go for frozen yogurt and both gossip about celebrities as if you all run in the same social circle.
- Oh, the power clashing
In order to pull off the mixing of unlikely patterns and colors that is power clashing, you have to be confident with your body. Mindy takes this fashion trend to a whole other level. It’s not just fashion, but body positive messaging. She doesn’t try to cover up her curves, and she doesn’t even merely embrace her figure so much as she puts it on display like a fiery, cashmere beacon.
- Great casting to support great characters
As I’ve mentioned, so many of the characters are great and they all work together equally to make the show so enjoyable. For instance, affable Ike Barinholtz as Morgan, the ex-con-turned-protective-nurse who adopts too many dogs. Adam Pally was great as the show’s broish teddy bear, A.K.A. Dr. Peter Prentice who would become one of Dr. Lahiri’s best friends.
But Beth Grant as surly Beverly is truly priceless. At first, I thought this was a throwaway character, until she was absent for several episodes. It was only when she resurfaced that I realized just how well she rounded out her scenes. She’s the crass grandmother of the workplace, which rings all too familiar.
- The interior design is second only to a Nancy Meyers movie
If my gynecologist’s office looked even remotely as homey and yet still so very Architectural Digest as Shulman and Associate’s OB-GYN practice, I might not be so anxious to go. Sure, her apartment looks like a drunk Anthropolgie clearance sale threw up all over the place, but that’s what we love about it. The unforgettable baby blue chandelier, the owl pillows, the red door, the all-white everything else aesthetic are all staples of being a modern young women with an apartment trying to figure out your design aesthetic. It’s like a quintessential rite of passage.
And then she moved into Danny Castellano’s place, which was filled with dark browns and brick backsplashes. I expected her to do an overhaul when she moved in, but she didn’t, which felt like a symbolic decree of maturity. At some point, we all must grow up and say goodbye to overpriced owl throw pillows and accent spiral staircases that go nowhere—but not, like, immediately.
- They’re not afraid to talk about women’s issues
From deciding to lose your virginity to the importance of birth control and getting some health insurance to battling emotional eating and obesity, they don’t sugarcoat the seriousness of a given topic. However, they also don’t make the discussion feel like that sappy, contrived 90-second wrap-up so prevalent in the 90s sitcoms we all know and love. Because they don’t go too broad with the comedic moment or make the scene too much of a tearjerker, the message actually resonates and informs.
- Mindy’s not afraid to use the c-word: chubby
Sure, Liz Lemon turned to food for comfort, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her—unless night cheese was hanging out of mouth. As a plus-sized gal myself who has struggled with gaining and losing weight all her life, it’s nice to hear these issues joked about by someone is actually curvy, but also not in such a way where you feel like overweight people are the butt of a really mean joke.