I Kind Of Wish The Mindy Project Was About Something Other Than Her Love Life (Spoilers!)

Casey and Mindy on The Mindy Project

In reference to the title of this post: I say “kind of” because I like The Mindy Project. Nay, I love The Mindy Project. I think it is so entertaining and I always smile while watching it and I think the characters are (mostly) lovable, especially Mindy.

In fact, I love Mindy’s character so much, I wish I could see something other than her dating life.

Throughout the series–which I have obsessively watched as it’s gone up on Hulu, as I do not have cable–we have seen Mindy’s character go from being broken up with by a coworker to banging another coworker to dating a cheating lawyer, then sleeping with the midwife downstairs to accidentally taking home a male prostitute to getting engaged to a pastor named Ders Casey. After their relationship ends, she hooks up with a skateboarder and eventually pursues the lawyer next door, and now, as most viewers expected, here comes Danny be the cliche (albeit wonderful, wonderful cliche) love that was there all along.


Don’t get me wrong; the sex, whether it’s casual or committed, doesn’t bother me at all, by the way. I do love that we see Mindy’s dating life. I like that she has one night stands, and talks both negatively and positively about herself like a normal human being, and how she goes through highs, lows and stalls, as we all do. However, while we do see her friendships with the other doctors and occasionally hear about her career and self image, the audience isn’t shown much about her life except how it relates to the men she is seeing, pursuing, or mourning the loss of.

Do I think The Mindy Project needs to make some big social commentary about sexism and racism, or classism and animal rights and politics, for that matter? Uh, no. I don’t think that simply because Mindy Kaling is a woman of color that she has the responsibility to make us dig deep in our souls each week and come out all livid with guns a-blazing and hands in fists verbally punching toward The Man. It does, in fact, manage to subtly sum up many body issues and human emotions without being overbearing or self-righteous.

And yet, it grows tiresome to see nearly every episode end with another revelation about a guy which, by proxy, means a revelation about Mindy’s self. People, particularly women, are told so frequently to judge themselves and their own personal progress based on whether or not they are dating somebody or if somebody loves them or if people find them hot. Every few episodes ends with Mindy in love again, then quickly moving onto another love interest, then another and another. As much as I love seeing Dennis and Ders Glenn Howerton and Anders Holm, I just want a female character have a happy ending sans dude. Just once.

Again, I do not think The Mindy Project is obligated to set a precedent for something new on the horizon for women; obviously, simply by existing, it is already beating out the ridiculous societal standards and glass ceilings set forth by decades of predominantly male, white stars and slender women who have very few sexual urges, if any. But that isn’t the point of TMP; the point is to be a hilarious comedy about a highly intelligent OB/GYN in her early 30s who lives in New York. Nevertheless the humor and storyline grow tiring when it seems like the character development for the show’s main person primarily revolves around who she’s dating.

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    • amy teill

      I think the show you want could exist and be interesting, but that is not this show. From the pilot and theme of the show we learn the the character is a rom-com obsessed love nut and we’re here to hear her love story as her own rom-com. It’s one of those things where you have to remember that old adage “writers are not their characters”, Mindy Kaling is a smart talented woman but she’s telling the story of her character (who in addition to being rom-com obsessed is also ignorant of world issues and a gun nut republican which Kaling is not).

      • Samantha Escobar

        This is definitely a good point. I love seeing the character’s love life, and they have managed to make me re-love all the actors who play her love interests, I think I just miss her having a BFF and it winds up getting repetitive. :(

      • amy teill

        Yeah every viewer wants different things, but if we’re looking at it from the character’s narrative perspective these are the things important to her. I have definitely known people like this IRL who only want to talk about boys and their relationships.

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    • Eileen

      Yeah, I tend to agree with Amy – I would enjoy that show, but that’s not the show that Mindy Kaling wanted to make. And as empowering an image of the “woman happy sans dude” story is, Mindy has also made it perfectly clear that she’d like to get married and live monogamously ever after – and I don’t think that that makes her any less worthy of respect or kudos.

      I do miss her best friend who used to hang out last season, though.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      I agree with you. I think Mindy’s character would be even more interesting if it wasn’t always about the guys in her life.

    • Katie

      I can definitely appreciate the show for what it is (honestly it’s summed up in the very first episode “I’m Sandy Bullock!”). BUT I do find the lack of female friends disconcerting. She had the one or two in the first season and now they’re gone. I don’t mind the love and dating stuff as long as there are SOME scenes that could pass the Bechdel test.