For those of you who don’t know, The Mindy Project ended its five year, six season run this Tuesday. In honor of the occasion, I’m taking a brief break from book blogging to write a little bit about the show I’ve been forcing people to watch for the past five years. So, here we go…
In 2012 when The Mindy Project first aired, I was a sophomore in college, struggling with social anxiety coupled with the tendency to over-romanticize everything. The first episode’s opening monologue about Mindy going away to college and being able to watch romantic comedies whenever she wanted resonated with me so hard that I was immediately hooked. For the next five years, I watched The Mindy Project religiously–the best day of the week was always Mindy day.
When you connect with a character as much as I connected with Mindy, the show becomes more than just something to watch. In Mindy Lahiri, I saw a smart woman who had the determination to achieve her career goals but who didn’t see why she had to let go of her romantic world view to do so. I saw someone who, like me, considered food her first love and constant companion. And, perhaps most important of all, I took the show’s title to heart and realized that you can consider yourself a project in progress and still love yourself as you are. As flawed as Mindy Lahiri is, I loved the bits of myself that I saw in her and I loved watching her try (and often fail) to do better.
The Mindy Project saw me through my first broken heart as I sobbed along with Mindy after her (spoiler alert) season two split from fiance, Casey. Eating ice cream for breakfast after my own breakup became a bonding session–me and Mindy, just a couple of romantics with broken hearts.
When I was living alone for the first time, reruns of The Mindy Project became my background noise, the sound of a good friend always a few clicks away.
I loved the show so much that I decided to learn more about its producer and star, Mindy Kaling, and found one of my first real role models. I ready Mindy’s personal essay collections and found the same sense of familiarity and kinship that I felt while watching her show. It was the first time I felt seen as an intelligent woman who likes to laugh and watch romantic comedies and not take things too seriously.
The Mindy Project has meant the world to me. I’ve shown it to new friends as a way to connect, and I’ve leaned on rewatching it whenever I was having a difficult time and needed a familiar, friendly face. As Mindy Lahiri grew over six seasons, I grew up along with her. I graduated from college, got an AmeriCorps position with a nonprofit, got into graduate school, and put myself on the path to my dreams. Along the way I learned to take care of myself, lean on friends when necessary, and navigated countless heartbreaks and romantic missteps, many of which were probably sitcom worthy themselves.
Thank you to everyone involved in creating The Mindy Project. While there will never be a new episode, the show will live on in my heart forever. Plus, my roommate and I are barely into season 2, so you best believe I’m taking this journey all the way for a second time and many, many more to come. But for now… Later, Baby!