Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

The Mindy Problem

Whenever her book came out a friend of mine mentioned that she was reading Mindy Kaling's, I guess, memoir?, and I was all, "How is it?" and she was all, "She is the most self-satisfied person in the world," which I kind of discounted because, Women: Who knows what crazy reasons they choose that day to hate somebody for? But then yesterday I read that profile of her in New York and I was also all, "Oh my God, SMUG," which then made me think, WOULD YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT A MAN? Because men do that shit all the time (although, if bad social science is to be believed, they need to) and I never give it a second thought. Which is when I did give things a second thought: Why am I wasting so much time thinking about Mindy Kaling? And I am a person who spends most of his day trying to figure out what the people at Huy Fong put in their chili garlic sauce to make it so goddamn addictive (at this point I have narrowed it down to either garlic or chili), so I certainly have plenty of time to spare. At the end of the day, it is still TV, which, I'm sorry, is not Shakespeare, no matter what you tell yourself to justify your investment in that show where Claire Danes plays the crazy chick working for the CIA or whatever. Anyway, Mindy Kaling? It doesn't matter! Good for her. The first episode of her show seems amusing. It's nice that Ivy League grads are allowed to run shows in our racist society. Let's all do our best to be happy with what we've got. Also, this is probably right.

37 Comments / Post A Comment

barnhouse (#1,326)

You mean you live in a massive mansion in the tax haven of the Philippines, and have stopped being candid??! What next.

melis (#1,854)

That's nothing, you should see the ice caverns Choire built in Midtown.

deepomega (#1,720)

@melis I hear he has a DHS-sanctioned trans-state frozen subway to carry him to and from Miami.

Matt (#26)

I have a Google Alert set up for "Choire Sacha."

"The first internet writer was of course Alex Balk." And he links to it? Oh my God, SMUG.

[goes to set up Google alert for her own name...]

barnhouse (#1,326)

I'd love to read Balk's old blog, but WHERE?

Murgatroid (#2,904)

You have friends, Alex?

NinetyNine (#98)

Can we not do this today?

@NinetyNine Yes we can't.

ejcsanfran (#489)

"Let's all do our best to be happy with what we've got."

Um, what?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

Don't over-analyze the role of gender in your distaste for Kaling. She is indeed the worst.
And not just because of that voice. She just has an insufferable air to her (think Braff, Z. for male examples).

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@IBentMyWookie Also, and HOLY SHIT IS THIS GOING TO SOUND AWFUL, but she gets so much praise that, if we're honest about it, is based on condescension, like we're so proud of her for being so confident and brave in light of what she, you know, looks like. It's all very "hey isn't it SO GREAT that someone who looks like this* has actual jobs in showbiz? Let's overpromote, praise, and hype the hell out of her to show how ADVANCED and OPEN we are!!!!!!!!1"

*plain, pudgy, non-white

Kevin (#2,559)

@IBentMyWookie If we were in the South, we'd just say, "Bless her heart", and walk away.

deepomega (#1,720)

@IBentMyWookie Oh my christ, the Zach Braff comparison is perfect. Riding on the success of a pretty shitty sitcom into a world of self-satisfaction.

@IBentMyWookie "Wookiee."

@IBentMyWookie I don't live in America, I didn't read her book or watch The Office, so I don't know anything about her really except what she looks like. Maybe she's pudgy and non-white, but I think she's objectively very, very pretty. Super pretty! Do you really think she's plain?

Danzig! (#5,318)

@deepomega Long as she doesn't make a Dogme film I think we can place her above the Braffster

@IBentMyWookie She's just not that funny. Not as an actress or a writer. Just ok, but no more.

themegnapkin (#201,538)

@IBentMyWookie Zach Braff is such an apt comparison!! They're both so insufferably smug! I feel like the odd one out whenever she comes up on the Hairpin, there is so much love for her there, and I feel nothing but grrrr! when I see her.

zinger (#171,774)

@IBentMyWookie I love coming here to reaffirm how hopeless I am. Nevertheless: I like and admire Mindy Kaling, she is intelligent and pretty (haven't watched the show yet because I watch little TV of any kind), and I even like Zach Braff and Scrubs, so to hell with non-ironically-hip me, huh.

No, it's okay. We (we, us, you, me, those other people here) do give smug men a hard time, too. Franzen? Others? So I was interested in getting my hate on and started reading this but got very, very bored before she got very, very smug. Now I will never know.

Pop Socket (#187)

I listened to her book and Tina Fey's book (both read by the respective author) fairly closely together and Mindy lived a mighty charmed life. Dartmouth, Off-Broadway hit, writer-producer job at a hit TV show. Compared to Fey (state university, years schlepping the country in a comedy troupe, creator of acclaimed but rating challenged TV show), Kaling is a much bigger success but it doesn't show in the work.

Adversity does breed humor and Kaling is at best a 5/8 scale Fey. Which is still pretty good, but…

Bobby Womack (#4,074)

@Pop Socket Seconded. Read both those books in the same two-week span, and my takeaway is that Mindy Kaling is nowhere near as funny a writer as Tina Fey.

Megoon (#201,547)

@Pop Socket Mindy Kaling is a bigger success than Tina Fey? I don't think so.

I like that Mindy Kaling! But then I've never watched anything she's in, nor have I read anything she's written. She DID have a nice small supporting role in "The Five-Year Engagement" and she was enjoyable, in what was a strange, half-formed movie. /FILM CRITIC.


@Choire Sicha@facebook I like that Mindy Kaling too! I don't get a smug vibe at all; she's just confident, so good for her. I didn't read her book either, but I have seen four pilots of the new TV season, two of which I found so irritating as to not even finish (Go On, Ben & Kate), one that I was just completely ambivalent about (The New Normal), and one that was head and shoulders above those and, I thought, had all kinds of charm (The Mindy Project).

Ifyousayso (#237,834)

Meh…I'm a fairly judge-y person and I liked her book o.k. I was just expecting a mildly amusing light read and that's what it was. But I don't know that much about her. I watched The Office a bit in the early seasons but haven't seen it in years. Maybe I would have found the book more annoying if I was more familiar with her schtick. The one time I did find her a bit overly into herself was when she wrote about being included on the People beautiful list and she acted like that meant something (maybe I have the details wrong but I recall something along those lines). I would say that there are worse things than having a somewhat inflated idea of one's attractiveness. It's pretty common. I've gotten tired of the insecure self-deprecating self-obsessing that seems to be mandatory for ladies. I find it refreshing when someone is unapologetic about her success. The actor/director Sarah Polley recently posted a statement about her new documentary explaining why she doesn't want to do interviews and her apologetic self-belittling was ridiculous and annoying, imho.
All that being said, I was sort of raised by wolves and was not indoctrinated with the hyper-critical lady-policing mentality that is more typical, so I'm probably out of touch with mainstream opinion on the issue.

hockeymom (#143)

Dartmouth women are killing it.

joeks (#5,805)

I wish I had been born from rich people like she was. That was probably a nice experience.

But the important thing is that she has a pretty good comedic sensibility. Things would suck less if there were more people like her in Hollywood. So on that basis I'm down with her.

davidwatts (#72)

You can watch the first ep of her new show on Hulu, and . . . wow. I guess kind of the joke of the show is that it's like the most over-the-top possible romantic comedy scenarios, but with Mindy Kaling, who trips when she should do something sweet! But, like, didn't all those jokes get made 15 years ago in the first 10 minutes of Bridget Jones' Diary? Do we really need a whole show for it?

On another level, it's basically "Single Female Lawyer" from Futurama, but with "Doctor" subbed in. And not as funny.

Leon (#6,596)

It's also weird to me when people are like "Oh, this person, who had no prior experience in Hollywood…"

Like, they made things that were funny before they go their TV job. I'm not funny enough to work in TV, but like – if you're ALREADY FUNNY, getting paid to be funny, not the hugest jump?

Like, the idea, for me, of playing my very first NFL game is terrifying, because I would end up dying. But like, I think OMG IT IS MY FIRST NFL GAME for someone who was like, a touchdown wizard at Big Football University is like, probably not a significantly different level of excitement than like, a really promising 3rd date? Which is to say, hey, yeah, definitely not "NOTHING", but also, writing an episode of the office when you're already amusing enough to get the job (and I mean, it's also a team effort where the story is broken before you go off and write) is not exactly amelia bedelia level difficult.

Next time somebody asks me how difficult something is, I can't wait to describe it as "Amelia Bedelia-level".

Uncle Grambo (#579)

Her self-satisfied-smugginess was off the charts in her recent(ish) WTF interview.

jolie (#16)

Sooooo late to this party but the thing that makes the chili garlic sauce so good is what the combination of vinegar and sugar does to the chili and garlic. Also it's white vinegar — you know, the stuff I used to bang on about to those filthy broads on that other site? Yeah, that stuff. — not any other fancier kind. (I suspected rice wine vinegar, but nope!)

Anyway. What were we talking about?

skahammer (#587)

I don't have a dog in this fight because I've never seen anything she's in, but Mindy Kaling gives every sign of being smart, funny, and gorgeous. If she isn't the right person to be a little bit smug, then the rest of us should just crawl under our beds and stay there permanently.

curlysue (#34,091)

I think the Mindy Project is hilarious and really well written. I love watching it because I think Mindy K works really well as a character. However, I had to stop following her Twitter feed because it was basically her and Lena Dunham sucking up to one another, and the whole thing was just insufferable (and yes, smug). Celebrity Twitter feeds are the worst.

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