Mindy Kaling’s show, The Mindy Project, wrapped up its first season on Tuesday. In its first year, the show picked up critical attention and found an audience. More importantly, the show found confidence and its voice, and it developed characters and relationships true to Kaling’s signature comedic style. While the majority of the main cast is white, the show cast Utkarsh Ambudkar to play Rishi, Mindy’s little brother, for a couple of episodes in the first season.
Rishi is a hilarious, complex, and multifaceted character, a strong role for an Indian American male. He can be considered The Mindy Project’s take on the emerging stereotype of an Indian American “faux-gangster” male. Although he is studying science at Stanford University, Rishi is more interested in moving to New York City and becoming a rapper. Interestingly enough, Rishi isn’t just a “typical American kid trying to make it in a creative field”, a trap that many writers who want to normalize the minority experience fall into. He’s actually cool. Instead of being another corny wannabe, Rishi is a great rapper who can command a room, be it a break room full of Mindy’s coworkers or a “Battle of the Rappers”.
The Mindy Project does a great job of making Rishi more than his ethnicity without ignoring it. Jokes about Indian Americans have punch lines that make mainstream society and its misunderstanding of minorities the butt of the joke, not the minority Indian Americans. For example, Rishi manages to convince Mindy’s building manager to let him into Mindy’s apartment because “a well-spoken Indian can get into anywhere he wants”. This is a play on the idea that Asian Americans are stereotypical “model minorities”.
By Arturo R. García, Joseph Lamour, and Kendra James
You might notice a slight title change this week as we change the format of the weekly roundup ever so slightly. Instead of just television, we’ll expanding into the broader definition of entertainment–music, movies, theatre, and TV. Because sometimes you just need a place to devote a paragraph or two to Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Or maybe that’s just Kendra.)
Psy, Hammer Style: At some point you had to wonder not only when the “Gangnam Style” craze would be put to bed, but whether Psy himself, who accidentally horsey-stepped his way into YouTube history, would get the last word on his meme like Rick Astley did three Thanksgiving Day Parades ago. And then this happened at the American Music Awards last Sunday:
“The Mindy Project” showrunner and star Mindy Kaling. Via hitflix.com
Mindy Kaling’s new series, The Mindy Project, premieres on Fox on September 25. Already, the show and its creator and star have received an onslaught of press attention, culminating in a New York Magazine cover story. Kaling’s new show is widely being called one of the best of this fall’s new comedies, and Kaling herself is a story of hard work and success, writing and directing for The Office for eight years, then landing a deal with Fox to write, direct, produce, and star in her own show.
But no young, talented woman experiencing a rush of success can avoid the inevitable backlash. After the release of the New York cover story, Kaling has become the subject of much internet ire, with bloggers and TV critics calling her a variety of adjectives: smug, too self-satisfied, cocky, “the human equivalent of a retweeted compliment.” But women are supposed to be self-deprecating! How dare she feel confident about her career achievements? Continue reading →
By Guest Contributor Kendra James & Managing Editor Arturo R. García
This week, television networks held their Upfronts: these are the meetings where they do their best to convince advertisers (and viewers) that their shiny new vehicles are going to be the best of the lot in the season to come. Among those that got picked up was Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project (above) which will air on Fox. Whatever your thoughts are on Kaling getting her Bridget Jones on, it’s still good to see Kaling as both star and showrunner. According to ThinkProgress’ estimates, she’s one of only five POC showrunners who came out of the Upfronts a winner. (Not among them, sez Latino Rebels, Eva Longoria and Devious Maids.) - AG
Freema Agyeman. Courtesy: Camera Press/Listal
There’s not much to say about NBC’s new comedy lineup aside from wondering why NBC felt the need to give Nene Leakes a show. Oh, and there’s a show with animals who appear to do people things.
That said, there were a few choice pickups: Megan Good’s cop soap/drama Infamous will air on NBC; ABC is giving Mistresses, with Yunjin Kim and Rochelle Aytes a chance; Freema Agyeman is going to be on American TV (finally) on the CW’s The Carrie Diaries, so dramatically, at least, things are looking up. - KJ
NBC has cancelled Outsourced and the Event. Since Undercovers was also cancelled, what does this mean for NBC’s “More Colorful” promotion? And how will this impact their perception of minority fronted shows?
Stacy Dash returns to the small screen in the Queen Latifah-produced romantic comedy scripted series Single Ladies. She is joined by Lisa Raye, and Charity Shea as the token white friend. Mixed Media Watch ahead: Shea’s character is in a relationship with a black man – and all is not what it seems.
It took me awhile to get into The Office. Straight up, I thought it was a bunch of racist BS. Every time I caught a rerun, I always turned it off in disgust, and spent at least a half hour ranting about how I couldn’t understand why people loved such a horrible show.
Somewhere in the middle of its sixth season, the show appeared on Netflix. Tired of constantly being told “you don’t watch The Office? OMG, you’d love it!” at parties, I decided to sit down and watch it straight through. My plan was to arm myself with specific instances of the show’s immaturity and lack of true humour, so that the next time someone pulled that shocked face like I had just admitted to being the reason we don’t have universal healthcare in this country, I would be ready. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World