Strong female characters are rarely allowed to be nuanced on TV. They don't get to be brilliant, vain or funny. They get to be strong (and maybe sexy, if they're lucky). They kick a--, overcome obstacles and rarely display any signs of feminine vulnerability. Often times, their strength is framed as the result of some "issue," (SVU's Olivia Benson troubled childhood, Sonya Cross' Asperger's on The Bridge), as though the women are only strong because a catalyst forced them to be this way.
But Mindy Lahiri doesn't have issues (well, she has issues, but not in that sense). She's a strong, well-developed comedic antihero on par with Michael Scott. But many Mindy Project viewers didn't warm to Mindy as quickly as they took to the equally offensive Office boss. "I think that [Mindy] is very resilient and very confident and until you see her display kindness or show rapport with other people, it's hard for an audience just to decide they love her," Mindy Kaling tells TVGuide.com, recalling the initial reaction to the character.