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The New New Girl
September 16, 2012 8:30 PM   Subscribe

"When it debuts this month, it will make [Mindy] Kaling one of the only women of color to be both the face of and the creative force behind a network TV show. Every detail of this set, not to mention every word of every script, has had to pass through Kaling’s brain and reflect her unique worldview as a self-described “chubby” 33-year-old Indian-American female comic by way of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dartmouth College; and eight years as both a writer and a cast member on NBC’s The Office."
posted by vidur (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I loved the pilot! Love Mindy Kaling.

The article mentions how her mom died, and man oh man is that so sad. Her parents sound great, even in her book.
posted by discopolo at 8:38 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've adored her since "Things I Bought That I Loved" and am so excited for her to be producing even more publicly.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 8:41 PM on September 16, 2012


The Office got really, really unwatchable over the last couple of season. I surprised myself- a chronic couch potato and habitual TV watcher, who sticks with most every show even as I gripe about it constantly- when I finally just quietly deleted the season recording from my DVR halfway through last season and haven't looked back. The only reason it hasn't been shot in the head is because on NBC, its mediocre ratings still make it one of their stronger shows (of course, critical darling 'Community' has to scrimp and scrape for every renewal and all the attendant drama).

That said, Mindy wrote/directed some of the better episodes of the last few of years (and seemed to be better at really working the ensemble part, as the best episodes have tidy little side plots with people like Oscar, Meredith, even Creed, et al), and good for her in getting the spotlight in her post-"The Office" career. Time will tell if this show actually pans out; generally speaking, however, a show named after its star usually is a bad sign- after all, if they can't even be creative about the show's name... ?
posted by hincandenza at 8:43 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The fact that "The Mindy Project" is on FOX after Kaling's run on NBC's "The Office" just underscores the tragic downward spiral of NBC with not a single hint of turning around. The Peacock Network's two "most anticipated" new series this fall? "The New Normal" which is just a distilled essence of the controversial parts of "Modern Family" and "Revolution", a post-apocalyptic sci-fi-er where the apocalypse is the loss of modern technology... no cars, no microwaves, no internet and NO NETWORK TV. Is this a statement of "If we're going down, we're taking the rest of you with us" or something?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:00 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Accessing Hulu for those outside the US. Didn't work for me in FF (Mac O SX) but Chrome is fine.
posted by unliteral at 9:05 PM on September 16, 2012


I liked the addition of James Spader to The Office. I thought they did a good job after Steve Carell left. I could have done without having Will Ferrell shoved down my throat by nearly everybody.
posted by discopolo at 9:07 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obligatory Onion article.
posted by Ndwright at 9:09 PM on September 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Goddamit, I really wanted 'The Mindy Project' to be good. However, it was increasingly apparent that this wasn't going to be the case. FOX bumbled literally every single part of bringing her show to air.

Perhaps she'd be better served behind the camera, she did direct several great episodes of The Office.

Don't give up Mindy, you're funny as hell, and we love your humor. I think you'd be much better off if you weren't the star. Write, write, write. Then maybe act.
posted by Sphinx at 9:13 PM on September 16, 2012


Well, after all that mucking about I made it as far as the first advert break. Didn't think much of it. A joke about Downton Abbey? I thought you guys would have been over that.
posted by unliteral at 9:15 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched the pilot a few days ago and, in my head, that blond chick from The Good Wife went ahead with the wedding and baby over the summer hiatus, went back to work as a lawyer at a lifestyle firm, and is now Mindy's BFF.

I'm still working on why she changed her name from Caitlin to Gwen, but I'm sure it had to do with Kalinda.

I thought the pilot was piloty. Bits of it were hilarious, bits of it fell really flat. To its credit it didn't try too hard to establish every single character immediately; we only got glimpses of a bunch of them (like Anna Camp's Gwen) instead of set pieces explaining exactly who they are. But I sort-of didn't really care which male doctor she wasn't sleeping with, and I thought it was a little weird that her ob/gyn practice is apparently her and two young male doctors? Or did I miss the part where they showed the at-least-middle-aged doctor who owns the practice? Or are they at a practice with mixed specialties? I don't get it.

Anyway, I wasn't immediately hooked but I thought it was probably worth a few episodes to see how it settles into its groove. It had a solid enough basis that it could be really good!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:30 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. The article was great and really gave me a sense of who she is as a person and an artist. I got to the first commercial break in the show and stopped watching. On the one hand, I'm thrilled a woman of color is running and starring in her own show. On the other hand, so far her character seems to be defined solely by the (lack of a) man in her life. On the third hand, pilots are often crappy, so I'll check out more episodes when they air. It's not the worst new show of the season by a long shot.
posted by Angharad at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2012


Pilots almost always suck anyway.
posted by dobie at 9:35 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the pilot was unusually strong. While not too much was happening plot-wise but it was funny and inventive and it may even turn out to be one of those shows that doesn't beg you to care about the characters, which is good
posted by Bwithh at 9:36 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was so shocked when I found out she is a Republican. Unfair of me, really, but nonetheless so, so shocked.
posted by smoke at 9:54 PM on September 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Bobby Jindal/Nikki Haley demographic, I suppose.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:57 PM on September 16, 2012


Where does it say she's a Republican?
posted by discopolo at 10:00 PM on September 16, 2012


She was probably kidding about being Republican. Nothing is conclusive. She tweeted that she liked Vince Vaughn for liking Ron Paul, but my guess is that she feels sorry for him because he's not very intelligent and you can see the Paultard in him.

I hope that's what it is, anyway.
posted by discopolo at 10:08 PM on September 16, 2012


Go back and watch the pilot of 30 Rock before you judge too harshly.

FOX bumbled literally every single part of bringing her show to air.

What does that even mean? Do you have some sort of inside knowledge of the process?
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:31 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the pilot was good enough for the show to continue. My favorite scenes were in the medical office involving several of the characters, which makes sense given Kaling's experience writing so many scenes for the Scranton bullpen.
posted by michaelh at 10:48 PM on September 16, 2012


Or did I miss the part where they showed the at-least-middle-aged doctor who owns the practice?

Yes, you did miss the middle-aged doctor who appeared to own the practice. He was asked his opinion about her first-date dress.
posted by michaelh at 10:49 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


A network show IN THE US.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:53 PM on September 16, 2012


A network show IN THE US.

Trust me, you do not want to see the network shows from India.
posted by vidur at 11:32 PM on September 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Trust me, you do not want to see the network shows from India.

Unless you want to know about the "various aspects of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Rural life of farmers"

Seriously! Krishi Darshan, along with its various regional interpretations, is one of the longest running programmes on Indian "network" (ie, direct-to-air) television, Doordarshan.
posted by the cydonian at 12:16 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


generally speaking, however, a show named after its star usually is a bad sign- after all, if they can't even be creative about the show's name... ?

This is funny to me because the only ones I can think of are The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Drew Carey Show, The Bernie Mac Show, The Cosby Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and Seinfeld.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:19 AM on September 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


Trust me, you do not want to see the network shows from India.

I read there was a remake of Small Wonder. That I would like to see.
posted by discopolo at 5:21 AM on September 17, 2012


Trust me, you do not want to see the network shows from India.

Well, there was this back in 1997. And there have been a few black female comedies in the UK recently, like 3 Non Blondes and Little Miss Jocelyn
posted by mippy at 5:21 AM on September 17, 2012


the only ones I can think of

You forgot Valerie's Family.

This is quite understandable.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:30 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"He was asked his opinion about her first-date dress."

Oh, that's right! I'm usually secret-watching TV during naptime and sometimes I have to run off and deal with a crisis so I sometimes miss key points. I don't know, I found a lot of the doctor's office stuff confusing -- as in, I stopped suspending my disbelief because it didn't quite work for me -- but maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention to the show. OTOH I don't generally pay a ton of attention to sitcoms when I "watch" them ("You listen to them while doing something else entirely and then ask me what you just missed!" my husband shouts), but after a while you usually know what's going on anyway and it's not a problem if you miss something ("It's not a problem for YOU but it annoys the heck out of me!" says Mr. McGee).

Really my takeaways were Anna Camp, because I LOVE Anna Camp, the bitchy drowning Barbie scene, and the scenes with the nurses. Those were all great.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:54 AM on September 17, 2012


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?
posted by stormpooper at 6:02 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, so far her character seems to be defined solely by the (lack of a) man in her life.

I don't think it's wrong that she's 32 and wants to start a family with someone she loves. I'd be more inclined to eyeroll if she went on about how she doesn't need or want a family and is completed by buying shoes or her career.

Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?
posted by stormpooper at 6:02 AM on 9/17


Oh, I get it. Because she's Asian. It's soooo hard to look past her Asian-ness. Especially when it's nothing like Cho's show was for a variety of reasons. But it's always nice to know what people who can't be bothered to look past someone's skin color think. Get a clue, please.
posted by discopolo at 6:14 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The latest season of The Office was not great, but was saved by pretty much every one-off joke they gave Ellie Kemper.

The one with her bobbing for apples was basically the highlight of the season.

Also, the "Christmas Wishes" exchange:
Erin: Hey, I never told you my Christmas wish.
Andy: Ah, OK.
Erin: It's about you.
Andy: That's not what it should be, it should just be like a trinket or something.
Erin: It's that I wish Jessica was dead.
Andy: Y-you...wait, you mean you wish she wasn't here or something?
Erin: I wish she was in a graveyard! Under the ground. With worms coming out of her mouth.
Andy: Hey, you know, you can't say that, OK? That's my girlfriend that you're talking about. You and I are not together anymore. You need to get over it! Take your wish back.
Erin: Too late! It's already been wished! And you promised it would come true. You wrote it in an email! So, which one are you...A murderer or a liar?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:30 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Women" is a plural noun!!!!!!!!!

/nails on chalkboard
posted by desjardins at 6:42 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think she's appealing, but Greg Daniels as a mentor isn't a feature.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:15 AM on September 17, 2012


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?

Yeah, wow. No it isn't at all.
posted by sweetkid at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2012


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?

Pretty much, BUT ONLY if you mean that everyone's really excited to see a female and minority as the face of a network TV show that will turn out to be bland and unexceptional and that we're all worried the potential failure of the show will convince networks there's no demographic for network sitcoms starring women of color.
posted by pineappleheart at 7:37 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The pilot was ok, at least as good as 30 Rocks and better than Parks and Recs.

The only pilot I remember in recent history which started off hitting the ground running was Arrested Development
posted by dig_duggler at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2012


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?

Pretty much, BUT ONLY


No, it's still not. Different ethnicity despite still being Asian, very different style of humor, Mindy already has a background in television and television writing.

Personally as an Indian American woman with a very similar background to Mindy's, it's extremely exciting to see us depicted on television as actual complex people and not just getting arranged marriages or to provide some sort of contrast to white characters. Whether or not the show survives, it's very much Mindy's humor and seems at least to me like the kind show she wants to make, which is awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 7:51 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't every show created by a white man just every other show created by white men? Isn't LOST just Peyton Place all over again? Man it really bummed me out when Gossip Girl made such a splash despite being a blatant ripoff of the original Battlestar Galactica.

I enjoyed the pilot a lot despite it pilotness (unevenness, basically). Seinfeld took about a full season to hit its stride, hopefully FOX can learn from its mistakes in the past decade and give this show some breathing room instead of damning it with poor scheduling before unceremoniously killing it.
posted by telegraph at 8:15 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?

God I hope not, The producers of that show pretty much told Margaret Cho she had to play a version of herself "only thinner" and she went on some crazy diet and nearly died and the show didn't really work out anyhow.

Kaling is an experienced tv professional and I am looking forward to this. Thanks for the post.
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 AM on September 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


No, it's still not. Different ethnicity despite still being Asian, very different style of humor, Mindy already has a background in television and television writing.

Yeah, I don't think anyone here is stupid enough to think they're the same ethnicity or to think Mindy and Margaret have the same sense of humor. I think what we're saying is that the two situations are comparable in the surrounding circumstances and the expectations that are being placed on the two women.
posted by pineappleheart at 8:18 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been looking forward to the show for a while and thought the pilot was a good enough start. Maybe I'm more open to it as a 30-something single lady, but I loved her book and her shopping website and all around her sense of humor. I did notice that the character is 31 and she's 33.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:11 AM on September 17, 2012


How about a woman of ANY colour who doesn't come from an insanely privileged background? Grew up in Cambridge and a Dartmouth grad?

Since "Asian Indians" (to use the US census nomenclature) are the wealthiest ethnic group in the US, I can't believe the unreflective lumping together of somebody like Ms Kaling, whom I love as a performer and writer, with all "minorities" but I guess that's an American thing.

It's interesting that we not only have roughly ten times the South Asian population that the US has (per capita) in Canada, but many, maybe most, of them are working class.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:22 AM on September 17, 2012


How about a woman of ANY colour who doesn't come from an insanely privileged background? Grew up in Cambridge and a Dartmouth grad?

How about what?


Since "Asian Indians" (to use the US census nomenclature) are the wealthiest ethnic group in the US, I can't believe the unreflective lumping together of somebody like Ms Kaling, whom I love as a performer and writer, with all "minorities" but I guess that's an American thing.

There are lots of ways to lack privilege besides not having wealth/money.
posted by sweetkid at 10:32 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


vidur >> Trust me, you do not want to see the network shows from India.

mippy >> Well, there was this back in 1997. And there have been a few black female comedies in the UK recently, like 3 Non Blondes and Little Miss Jocelyn

Goodness Gracious Me was a British show that happened to be made by people of Indian origin. It was most certainly not an Indian network show. In fact, Indian audiences probably found it more like a serious documentary and were likely confused by the laugh track.
posted by vidur at 10:52 AM on September 17, 2012


Since "Asian Indians" (to use the US census nomenclature) are the wealthiest ethnic group in the US

Because the wealth of a group is the only and best way to determinant of power/status/privilege?

I see lots of South Asians in the Bay Area who are working class, so it's not like it's some impossible thing.

And getting a job as a writer, let alone a show runner, in Hollywood does usually require some measure of privilege (education, at least, and the connections that come with that).
posted by rtha at 11:06 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think what we're saying is that the two situations are comparable in the surrounding circumstances and the expectations that are being placed on the two women.


Exactly. No I wasn't comparing two Asian women because they're Asian. I'm comparing two shows led by minority women but eventually networks and critics will change it to their standards. I do hope that she doesn't get pressured like Margaret did. I didn't watch her show at the time but from what I read (including her own accounts) what a horrible experience and pressure for anyone to be under.

I wish Mindy well and hope it takes off.
posted by stormpooper at 11:40 AM on September 17, 2012


thanks for that clarification, stormpooper. Your original comment made it seem like you were saying this show is a retread because we already did the Asian woman in comedy thing with American Girl.
posted by sweetkid at 1:31 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't this American Girl w/ Margaret Cho all over again?
posted by stormpooper at 6:02 AM on September 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


Yikes, I hope not. Cho's comedy makes me want to marathon-watch Fox News.

Oh wait, maybe Mindy would like that too
posted by Bwithh at 2:17 PM on September 17, 2012


The smoking gun, the tell-tale heart, the dog that didn't bark in the night:

[Question] You studied at Dartmouth. Are you a right-wing conservative?

That's definitely the stereotype about Dartmouth. It's definitely more conservative than other schools in the Ivy League, but I didn't find it to be the way it's been mythologized. [end response]


Mindy there completely non-jokingly ducks the direct question with a non-answer response.

CASE CLOSED
posted by Bwithh at 2:20 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm comparing two shows led by minority women but eventually networks and critics will change it to their standards.

there was very little in the pilot which related to Mindy's ethnicity/minority cultural background. So I don't think she's doing that kind of comedy anyway
posted by Bwithh at 2:41 PM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Goodness Gracious Me was a British show that happened to be made by people of Indian origin. It was most certainly not an Indian network show.

I didn't say it was. Just that the US is a little behind in terms of ethnic women making their own TV shows. Meera Syal has gone on to be a prominent Asian actress/comedian on the back of the show. I would have said Shazia Mizra as well, who's a Muslim comedian, but I'm not sure she's got a TV show of her own yet.
posted by mippy at 1:26 AM on September 18, 2012


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