If Mindy Lahiri’s favourite TV series was airing its final episode, what would she do? Settle in for a last viewing with all the snacks she could carry? Tweet at the show’s official account until they blocked her? Keep watching it on repeat so she could pretend it was still on? Track down one of its stars, try to befriend them and demand more episodes? Go on a reverse-hunger strike?
For fans of the irrepressible New York obstetrician and gynaecologist, it’s easy to imagine Mindy doing all of the above — and all at once. While we’re not suggesting that’s how we should all cope with the end of The Mindy Project, we can’t ignore the fact that the show not only unleashed its main character upon the watching masses, but also helped its viewers unleash their inner Mindy.
I’m one of them. And I want to say thanks...
You taught me to embrace life’s ups and downs
As played by The Mindy Project creator, writer, producer and star Mindy Kaling, Mindy Lahiri has had anything but a boring life over the past six years. She has argued for the right to life, liberty and chicken wings; hallucinated talking to Reese Witherspoon; and named her inner warrior “Beyonce Pad Thai” — all while trying to juggle her medical career, her dreams of living in a romantic comedy and her love of snacks.
She has dated co-workers, famous actors and professional skateboarders, while also starting her own fertility clinic, becoming a single mother, and getting married and divorced. And, even when her life has resembled a horror movie more than her beloved rom-coms, she has soldiered on, likely with a doughnut in her handbag as an emergency pick-me-up.
If there’s a better example of weathering what life throws at you, grabbing a piece of cake and marching forward, then it definitely isn’t this earnest and amusing.
And when to fight for what’s important
There’s facing life’s ebbs and flows, and then there’s battling the person trying to replace you in a drinking contest. Both are important.
You showed me the importance of being my own role model
Who hasn’t Mindy obsessed over, idolised, fallen for or flat-out followed? She loves big and often, and she isn’t concerned about the consequences. And for every Jeremy (Ed Weeks) that has segued from fling to friend, there’s an ex or pal that has left Mindy’s orbit as fast as they’ve entered. But they’re never the main attraction in Mindy’s life — she is.
As keen as she might be to find love, Mindy has always followed her own instincts, whether realising that putting her career second because Danny (Chris Messina) wanted her to be a stay-at-home mum wasn’t the best option, fighting to help others achieve their maternal dreams or battling school mums quick to shame her for balancing work and parenthood.
Dating whoever she wants, eating whatever she wants, chasing whichever dream she wants, she’s her own role model. And she’s not afraid to let people know.
And that it’s still OK to have other heroes
Hey, we all need motivation sometimes.
You made me realise we all need dreams
If there’s one thing The Mindy Project has taught us, it’s that life isn’t a romantic comedy. Mindy might desperately wish that wasn’t the case, but her existence refuses to play out like When Harry Met Sally, Notting Hill, The Princess Bride or any of the other flicks we’ve seen her watching or on her DVD shelf — even when the show is paying overt homage to them.
As a result, Mindy has had to realise that things don’t usually end with big romantic gestures, living happily ever after or getting exactly what you want, but it’s OK to continually hope otherwise. It’s there in her wish that her relationship with Danny might work out, even though she knows they’re a bad fit. And it’s there in her demand for more cheese on pizza, a truly noble cause.
But I’ll always love you for what you do best - being relatable
There have been many memorable moments in The Mindy Project — amusing escapades, heartfelt discussions and life-changing developments alike. But, though Mindy might like to imagine herself in her own version of Sex and the City, there’s something special about watching her be the great doctor she has worked so hard to become.
While most of the show revolves around her personal life or the less serious parts of her workplace, I’ll remember Mindy as much for offering an intelligent and amusing depiction of kicking professional goals as for her other antics. She’s a competent professional who has earned her success in her field and branched out to start her own business, as well as a food-loving, romance-chasing, reality TV-watching, celebrity-obsessed hot mess, as she would put it. And for the past six years, she has been one of the most relatable characters on TV.
Watch the series finale of The Mindy Project at SBS On Demand: