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 →
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