Exqueeze Me — Stop What You’re Doing and Start Watching “The Mindy Project”

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Many know her as cute and sassy Kelly Kapoor from “The Office,” but since her big break, she’s been busy building her brand as Mindy. Mindy Kaling not only starred in “The Office,” but also helped to write and produce the hit TV series. Her talent has landed her many other opportunities to star in, write and produce films and shows, but perhaps her biggest success is FOX and Hulu’s “The Mindy Project.”

Set in New York City, the series follows Dr. Mindy Lahiri, an OBGYN played by Kaling, as she tries to navigate love and friendships and find balance between her personal and professional life. The romantic comedy is witty, incredibly well-written and the perfect binge-watch that will suck you in from the very first episode.

Fast-paced and filled with female empowerment, “The Mindy Project” transcends the traditional rom-com. Tackling feminism on screen in a way that had previously yet to be done, Mindy Lahiri embraces sexuality, body image, food indulgence and so much more in a way that is both humorous and strikingly realistic.

Filled with A-list cameos, endless one-liners and jokes that teeter on the edge of what’s socially and politically acceptable, “The Mindy Project” embodies lipstick feminism in the best way possible.

WARNING: Article includes minor spoilers from the series, The Mindy Project

Feminism (and Anti-Feminism) and “The Mindy Project”

To start off, Mindy Lahiri’s character is the daughter of Indian immigrants, an Ivy League alumna and a professional in a field with far more men than women. She’s incredibly intelligent and much more than the colorfully dressed woman that first meets the eye. Her cutesy personality, vulgar jokes and easy-going attitude errs on the side of unprofessional at times, which tests the patience of her male co-workers.

As the only female doctor in her office, Mindy experiences her share of sexist jokes and oppressive actions at the hands of her co-workers. She makes it clear, however, that she is not a force to be messed with. In true Mindy Lahiri fashion, she doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants — whether that be a man she’s interested in, a patient from the rival practice in her building, or the last bear claw from the coffee shop in the morning.

The show’s fresh take on the topic of feminism and relationships puts a twist on what you’d typically expect from a traditional romantic comedy. Mindy grew up addicted to rom-coms, believing that one day her prince would come. As the show progresses, she is put through the relationship wringer over and over again. The sense of both Mindy’s occasional hopelessness and the excitement of what’s next is particularly relatable for many millennial women watching the series.

Throughout “The Mindy Project,” it is clear that Mindy Lahiri is a different kind of feminist. Feminists don’t all have to fall into a certain box, and Mindy certainly does not. She has a love for femininity and the color pink and is unapologetic about who she is, flaws and all. She’s proof that a woman can be successful, independent and indulgent. She doesn’t care if anyone shames her for what, and how much, she eats and she certainly doesn’t care if anyone has anything to say about her. Mindy Lahiri has her own agenda and that includes not tolerating anything she doesn’t approve of.

Debatably The Best Actor Cameos of All Time  

As the series progresses, it becomes very clear that Mindy Kaling has strong social and professional relationships with just about every actor and actress to ever walk the earth. But seriously, the number of A-list cameos in “The Mindy Project” just goes to show that Mindy Kaling is absolutely not a force to be messed with.

Many of these cameos are Mindy Lahiri’s love interests, friends and in one instance, a hallucinogenic projection that Mindy experiences in the final season. Those who join the already supercharged cast list for special appearances includes two hosts of late night entertainment shows. Seth Meyers, host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” appears as a love interest of Mindy’s in season one and as himself in season four. Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” guest stars as Father Michael in season three.

Longtime pals Seth Rogen and James Franco are both featured in the first two seasons. Laverne Cox from “Orange is the New Black” makes many appearances throughout the series as Mindy’s co-worker Tamra’s cousin, Sheena.

Starring as herself, Kris Jenner graces the show in season five after Mindy previously mentions that her signed photo of the reality television star is her “most prized possession.”

Last but certainly not least in the seemingly everlasting list of A-listers featured in “The Mindy Project,” Reese Witherspoon appears as herself in season seven. Mindy experiences a hallucinogenic dream while trapped in a cave where Witherspoon appears to dish out some wisdom and advice.

Mindy Lahiri: A lead actress you can truly relate to  

Whether it be because of her many bright pink ensembles, her brave and fierce personality or her love for food (and basically anything that resembles food), it’s easy to relate to Mindy Lahiri. She has just the right amount of confidence: she isn’t cocky and she knows all about her flaws. Throughout the series, viewers see Mindy’s confidence waiver, but she always finds her way back to the top.

She’s accepting of herself, her body, her sexuality and her eating habits. As mentioned before, Mindy likes to eat and she sure knows how to. Her typical lunch consists of three bear claws, a pizza, or a bag of cheese puffs. To help her remember to take her birth control, she puts it into a cheese cube. Her innovative and witty personality shines through and relates to viewers’ own perceptions of themselves.

Mindy loves to gossip like no other, but at the end of the day, she’s (almost) always there for her family and friends without fail. Like many people, especially in college, Mindy has experienced being lonely and has made some questionable decisions when it comes to men. She knows the feeling of regret. However, despite the struggle to find the man she has always hoped and dreamed for, she knows she should never settle for less than she deserves.

The Romantic Comedy Binge Watch You Deserve

The list of reasons why your next binge watch should be “The Mindy Project” goes on and on and on. Seasons 1 through 7 are available on Hulu and just begging to be enjoyed. Mindy Lahiri’s world is one we all would probably have fun living in, so kick off your shoes and step into Mindy’s as you embark on the crazy journey that is “The Mindy Project.”

Already watched “The Mindy Project”? Tweet your favorite Mindy Lahiri quote to @VALLEYmag.


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