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Why Mindy Is My Jess

Friday, September 14, 2012

Whilst I was away, I was able to take advantage of the brilliant service that is Hulu. I caught up with Community and also managed to watch two pilots. One of these was The Mindy Project. 

This time last year, almost to the date, I was browsing the internet and came across some sample chapters from Mindy Kaling's "Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)". First of all I was immediately gripped by the title because that is my motto. It goes through my neurotic little head on a regular basis. I then found myself laughing out loud- at my internship- as I read the samples. So, when I got home I pre-ordered the book (I hardly ever pre-order. I didn't even pre-order the new J.K Rowling. Who's going to sell out of that one? Nobody.) and Mindy and I have been besties ever since. 

So, I was excited-and a little nervous- to watch my imaginary BFF's new show. I loved it. Naturally. My initial thought after viewing was "there's finally someone on the television that I can relate to". I know, from reading Vulture, that Mindy doesn't really want it to be about race and I agree on some level. But when there are little people like me out there who are just so glad to see somebody their colour fronting a show that's not about cops or gangstas or the president (ok it's about doctors but I can work with that), you kind of have to touch on the issue. 

Mindy is not stereotypical- at least where ethnic stereotypes are concerned. No, Mindy is to me what Jess was to all of my friends last year. Except, The Mindy Project doesn't really remind me of New Girl so much as it reminds me of my old favourite Ugly Betty (taken from our screens far too soon. We love you Betty!). Despite being a half hour show like New Girl, The Mindy Project shares Ugly Betty's more grown up approach. I suppose you could say that an ethnic woman (Mindy, Betty, Olivia Pope) has to be shown going above and beyond to serve as an inspiration- whether they like it or not. I don't think an ethnic actress playing Jess' role would ever be received the way Zooey Deschanel has been. 

However, like Mindy, I don't really want it to be about race either. I just want to enjoy a good, hearty comedy with an abundance of pop culture references. But it is nice to finally be able to relate to an onscreen character, isn't it? 

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