This moment almost didn’t happen. Fox ditched Mindy Lahiri early on, leaving the show in limbo until Hulu swooped in to give Mindy a second chance. And I, for one, am so unbelievably grateful.
The show was not just another rom-com, it was a feminist inspiration and a champion of body positivity.
I’m not saying the show was perfect. The last season or so has been hit-or-miss and the whole Mindy-Jodi flirtation was a disaster.
But overall the show has so many high points that I’m willing to forgive and forget any missteps. Below, a few nuggets of wisdom Mindy gave us over the years.
Curvy Girls Can Rock Colors, Patterns, and Dolce & Gabbana
The idea that cute clothes can only be for size 0s? SO overrated. And Mindy proved that every single episode.
Dr. Lahiri was one of the first curvy TV characters to have an enviable wardrobe. From her D&G lemon dress to her pink tweed jackets, Mindy was dressed to the nines every day.
Before Mindy came along, curvy and plus-size girls were trapped in a pattern of wearing dark, oversized clothes to hide their bodies. Um, not ok!
Kaling actually made a point of changing this. Together with her costumer Sal Perez, they worked hard to make sure Mindy was as fashionable as any other leading lady.
It’s Ok to Prioritize Work
Ever since Mary Tyler Moore, working girls have become the norm on TV. But how often do they prioritize their jobs over everything else?
Mindy did that all the time, and even though she often had to defend herself to family, friends, and outsiders, she stuck to her guns. She took a fellowship in San Francisco, even though that meant leaving her boyfriend for eight months. She sometimes had to miss Leo’s school events and ended up getting mommy-shamed by the other moms. Her decisions accurately reflected the struggles of juggling work and life, and for once, it was nice to see a woman go after her goals.
You Don’t Need a Man to Have the Life of Your Dreams
Mindy spent the first few seasons dreaming of the perfect guy. From the very first episode, she exclaims her love for the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan rom-com and fantasizes over living a happily-ever-after. But by season six, she’s moved on. She’s started her own fertility practice, founded her own company Later Baby, and has an adorable son.
The cast has even speculated that Mindy will end up single by the time the show ends. And you know what? I wouldn’t hate that.
She Took on Social Issues
Perhaps the most radical example was when Mindy Lahiri became a white man, showing all the ways that Mindy is impacted by her gender and race in her daily life. The whole episode was completely risky, and in the end, a total payoff.
TMP also consistently confronted male privilege, women in the workforce, gender roles, mom shaming, and more.
She Brought Us Ike Barinholtz
Ok, so perhaps not so inspirational. But anyone who brings Ike Barinholtz (Morgan Tookers) into my life is ok by me.
With The Mindy Project coming to an end, Mindy Kaling is moving on with her life. She’s having a baby IRL, starting at least two new shows — one based on a former Obama staffer and one with Anders Holm. And I personally can’t wait to see what Mindy does next.
We’ll miss you, babe!
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.