A year ago, most people had no idea who Mindy Kaling was. Now, the actress' face is everywhere — magazine covers, billboards, bus stops — but most importantly, she's starring in a new sitcom The Mindy Project, which premieres Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on Fox. And though the series airs after New Girl, don't be fooled into thinking Kaling's TV alter ego Mindy Lahiri is anything like the "adorkable" Jess (Zooey Deschanel). Mindy is no sexually innocent, manic pixie dream girl. Instead, she's a grown woman who isn't afraid to go after whatever she wants professionally, romantically or sexually. In short, she's my hero.
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The Mindy Project is one part romantic comedy, one part satirical sitcom. Blending edgy humor with impractical idealism, the series reinvigorates tired tropes to deliver familiar stories in a modern way. The show's cheekier aspects become clear almost immediately, when Mindy meets her supposed Prince Charming while stuck in an elevator (insert clumsy interaction and appropriately timed cascade of hair). But just as The Mindy Project lays this well-trodden ground, it quickly reminds viewers this isn't your typical rom-com. Cut ahead one scene and Mindy is now drunkenly riding her bike into a pool after her now-ex-boyfriend's wedding to another (younger) woman. Yikes.
And yet, somehow Mindy just brushes it off and continues on with her day. Did she mess up? Yeah. Does she care? No. Throughout the pilot, Mindy is refreshingly self-aware about both her faults and her strengths — the combination of which turns her self-obsession from pretentiously narcissistic into charmingly endearing. This is because even when she's bragging about her fierce first-date outfit or kickbutt job, we're always aware that Mindy knows she's still a long way from perfect. That's not to say her confidence is simply a front for her insecurities and fear of never being loved. No, Mindy's confidence exists alongside her insecurities and fear of never being loved. It's called layers, people! (Yes, women do have them.)