Mindy Project’s Road to Authentic Expectations

The Mindy ProjectMindy Kaling and her show The Mindy Project is the Tuesday show that has kept me afloat through its 5 years; I will miss the show after it ends with the upcoming sixth season.  Mindy Kaling has crafted a model of modern dating and goal achieving for the Twenty-First Century.  Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Kaling’s character, was raised on romantic comedies with dreams of a Sex & the City life.  As Mindy experienced dating and professional life in the 21st Century was met with equal success and zany; Mindy was not the female lead that was successful at work and unlucky in love.  The Mindy Project traces Mindy’s dating adventures and mishaps and success moving away from imposed celebrity-rom-com fantasy world to realistic expectations based upon her own experiences.

Dr. Lahiri’s dating life reflected the process that many single adults must go through as they seek their ideal mate.  Throughout the course of the series Mindy begins her dating life with big eyes and rose-tinted glasses – she was Carrie searching for her Mr. Big, and nothing less would do.  As adults go through dating our list of traits wanted in another is extremely generic, stating broad character traits such as “attractive”, “funny”, “smart”.  In her unique way Mindy, also, is specific in her list-of-wants by associating each desired trait with a celebrity.  Mindy learns to create specificity in her desirable trait-list, through the boyfriends, and husband (then ex), as she travels through the show’s run.  Mindy began the show searching for her Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling-idealized, an old school alpha-male that would make the decisions in the relationship, and she ended up with Danny Castellano – who manipulated the relationship to push Mindy to abandon her work goals to be a stay at home mother.  Danny’s actions acted counter to the experiences that strengthened Mindy’s character, pushing her to remain a static character.  When she learned of Danny’s manipulations, rather than shrink and lean on her fantasies, Mindy chose to lean on herself and the goals she had developed through her experiences.  She chose to leave Danny based upon the cultivated, and critically examined, experiences she accumulated in The Mindy Project‘s acclaimed run, leading to a happier, more fulfilling and honest relationship with geeky, modern, and accepting fiancé Ben; whose personality and needs better balanced Mindy than Danny.


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