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Mindy Kaling Fires Back About The Lack Of Diveristy On Her Show At SXSW

3 min read

by Sneha Goud

“The Mindy Project” was recently renewed for a third season by FOX! After struggling for a large number of viewers, the corporate power has given Mindy Kaling another chance to shine as producer-writer-star.

Despite sites likeVulture.com and Jezebel.com, which cater to the show’s young professional demographic, extolling its virtues, Mindy’s sitcom’s numbers remained low. If all her fans who claimed to have “girl crushes” on Mindy on any given Instagram post of hers and if they watched her show, then it would be rated number one.

I haven’t always loved the show because its rotating lineup of guest stars at the beginning of this season have, in my opinion, distracted from the main plot. But lately, the show has settled down to what it does best: character-driven growth with a healthy infusion of irreverent humor. And of course, the “will they or won’t they” chemistry of Dr. Danny Castellano and Dr. Lahiri.

For those you who haven’t seen the show, here are three reasons to love Mindy Lahiri, MD:

1. Her self-confidence borders on delusion. Mindy can model a bikini made of whipped cream for her boyfriend. She can also express joy upon finding prescription dandruff shampoo.

2. Yeah, she’s curvy. So what? Mindy (the character and the actor) doesn’t hide behind slimming black or avoid big patterns – she embraces them. And as a dark-skinned woman, who basically never wears makeup because I think it can look clown-ish, I am grateful for her experimentation with bright blushes and lipsticks. Even if I, personally, am not ready to go there yet.

3. Yes, she’s a doctor, but her character is still nontraditional compared to those representing South Asians on TV. That puts her outside of the nerdy-stereotypical-Indian-box.

It is easy to confuse Mindy Lahiri’s character with Mindy Kaling, the actor. But Kaling has definitely proven she’s a boss in her own right. On March 9, she reinforced her public persona as a force to be reckoned with at the SXSW Music Film Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. During an otherwise pleasant discussion at the “Running the Show: TV’s New Queen of Comedy” panel, Mindy shut down an audience member who asked why her show only features one woman of color and the only doctor of color?

Mindy was reportedly insulted and lost patience.

I’m a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network show. No one asks any of the other shows that I adore…why no leads on their show are women or women of colour, but I’m the one who gets all of these things”

I admit, I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Kaling in the past, because I want to know, why hasn’t she spoken up more about her status as an Indian-American? But, after this next statement, I may understand why.

One of the things that has been helpful to me is that I try to not to think that much about the fact that I’m an Indian-American. So many people will look at me and think ‘you’re different from everyone else.’ But I can’t. I can’t think about my legacy, it’s a distraction. I don’t want to deny who I am, because it’s so important to me, but I can’t rely on it.”

Its true, Mindy can’t afford to think about everything because she’s entered a territory no one has never experienced before. Isn’t that enough? Do we always need to include race and gender in every conversation? Can’t we just see her as a successful actress, producer and writer.

Mindy said it herself that “she’s rather jealous of her male colleagues who aren’t incessantly compared to each other like women in entertainment are.”

You don’t hear, Is Will Ferrell too Steve Carell-y? Is Danny McBride too Aziz-like? There’s this mentality that there can only be one woman who is successful and funny and running their own show and if there’s more than that you must hate each other, and no.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be re-watching the mid-season finale of “The Mindy Project” again. If you haven’t seen the last five minutes of the show, YouTube it now!

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