Mindy Kaling has beauty, brains and smashing success. Now, join us on our mission to find her Mr. Right and make the rom-com happy ending of her dreams come true!

She's Just A Girl, Standing In Front of a Boy, Asking Him To Love Her...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Not Me? Book Review

I have finished reading Why Not Me? 

Before the book was released, I wondered how it would compare to Mindy's best-selling Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), which I loved. 

As with any other anticipated sequel, you don't want it to be a departure from what you loved about the original but it also shouldn't be a regurgitation. The more you love the source, the taller the order for what follows. 

I almost was preparing myself for Why Not Me? to be a letdown, assuming that Mindy's rising fame since the best-selling performance of her first book would make her more guarded, less vulnerable, less relateable and therefore less entertaining. 

I am pleased to announce that Why Not Me? was deeply satisfying. If you loved her first book, you're going to love her second. The voice is still familiar, as endearing, and surprisingly revealing - once again, Mindy Kaling is willing to wear her heart on her (now haute couture) sleeve to get you to like her, and when she does, you wind up loving her (unless you're a monster or the victim of unresolved childhood trauma).

When Mindy's first book debuted in 2011, I did not read it. I barely followed Mindy Kaling back then. I did not regularly watch The Office, although I'd be amused if I happened to catch snippets of the show in reruns. Somewhere between then and 2012, when The Mindy Project started airing on FOX, I started noticing Mindy more. From an admiration of her background and her accomplishments, sprung a desire to learn more - almost obsessively. This is not unlike the aftereffects of watching "Eminem - The E True Hollywood Story," except there hasn't been such an expose on Mindy Kaling (as far as I know). 

I can't tell you when exactly I became so fascinated with Mindy Kaling that I am now inspired to blog all about her - I, a notorious, blogging lothario, who has ardently gone through multiple blog domains only to abandon them after toying around with weak and inconsistent posting, have somehow managed to stick with this creepy little blog for a record showing (maybe to Ms. Mindy's chagrin). It can't last... but it sounds like love to me (at least the romcom kind). 

Why Not Me? is blogging gold from my muse herself. Theoretically, it deserves an individual blog post per chapter. Realistically, there are at least a couple of more posts about the book that I plan to write wielding my insane profiling abilities but with great responsibility (I got you girl). Stay tuned. 

Mindy Kaling's actual signature in a pre-autographed Why Not Me?

The Mindy Project - Season 4 Episode 2: "C is for Coward" - 9/22/2015

Oh snap! Mindy had her baby! I know I advocated a slow build up to climactic moments but now I'm thinking I was totally wrong. I love that we're only two episodes in and baby Castellano has already debuted. Leo is the perfect name. This makes me even more excited to see what happens next episode*.

*Breastfeeding versus Formula?

The Mindy Project Season 4 Premiere: "While I Was Sleeping" - 9/15/2015

This was a fantastic start to the new season of The Mindy Project on Hulu. What a difference the extra five (?) minutes that the show gets on Hulu versus Fox makes!? I'm really feeling the show's new home.

I LOVED the guest stars (Regular Joe!!!!), the way the episode picked up right where last season's finale left off with Danny in India, the alternate reality, Mindy's parents (Sakina Jaffrey as Mindy's mom was a dream) - it was all thoroughly entertaining.

What I could have lived without - Mindy referring to herself as a "fat-ass." The other instances of self-deprecating humor, including "always being hungry," being mistaken for a Native-American man from behind because of her build and denim jacket, and her exchange leading into sitting on Freida Pinto, were very funny. 

The "fat-ass" line was superfluous however and also at odds with the "Unlikely Leading Lady" chapter of Mindy's new book Why Not Me? which I plan to review on this blog. 

Not to mention, I happened to glimpse her loveliness from a distance in the dark (not unlike a creeper) at her book tour discussion with Tina Fey (which was amazing and which I have not yet blogged about), and girlfriend is NOT FAT. I tell you, it's like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the freaky aliens made that gorgeous blonde believe she was hideous. Are we all a planet of freaky aliens to make Mindy Kaling feel like she is humongous when she is not? She's actually tiny in person. 

I love Mindy's writing. However, here's my unsolicited advice for Mindy when writing for the character she plays: if it would offend you coming from John Heilpern, then don't have Mindy Lahiri saying it. Even if you have another character say it, Mindy Lahiri should be schooling that dumb-ass. 

Also, what's up with the terrible caricature of Mindy Kaling that Vanity Fair insists on using - her nose does not look like that!? What the hell!?

P.S. Mindy, I know it couldn't possibly be, but when you dropped that Jason Derulo reference, I really did feel like it was for me

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Not Me? Promo REMIX!!!

Today the new season of The Mindy Project debuts on Hulu and also marks the release of Mindy's new book, Why Not Me? Celebrate good times, come on!

So, I've received some flack for my last post "Mindy Kaling is Victim to Mindy Kaling." Critics think I should take a chill pill; I can swallow that. Mindy is just having fun, entertaining us - why can't I enjoy it without being such a dorywhore, I mean doryphore. Whatevs.

Also, don't I get that Mindy was skeptical about Anders interest in reading her book, not in her romantically? Well, I think the romcom set-up in the elevator conflates the concepts, but sure, the distinction would mean Mindy is not using her own desirability as the punchline but instead, her typical fan demographic.

Okay, I get it. I don't mean to be such a harpy. If I'm going to nitpick, then I should at least present my alternative book promo. I will stick as closely to the original in terms of setting/budget and casting, which means even if I want to cast Idris Elba against Mindy, I'll stick with her pal Anders.

Now presenting my take on a promo for Why Not Me?

Mindy Kaling & the Magical Elevator Ride To The Penthouse in the Sky

INT. The Exact Elevator Set Used on The Mindy Project - DAY

MINDY KALING is texting on her phone as ANDERS walks into the elevator holding folders and bunch of that long rolled paper that suggests he's an architect.

Excuse me.

(dodging rolls pleasantly)

Mindy checks out Anders and politely asks:

What floor?

Oh 18th floor.

Oh, me too.

Mindy reaches to push elevator button as Anders moves to intercept her.

Oh I got it.

As Anders and Mindy collide, he drops what's he holding.

Oh God I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!

Anders waves his hands, smiling.

Oh that's fine. No, don't.


As Anders and Mindy bend down together to pick up his belongings.

Believe me, I'm used to it.

Used to what? 

Women tend to have that reaction around me all the time. Especially women like you.

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Come on? Do I have to spell it out for you?

Yes, I would love for you to enlighten me elevator rando.

Well, minority women especially go crazy for me- you know, with my all-American good looks, hazel eyes. Plus at 6'4, I'm way taller than the guys you're probably used to dating.

Exsqueeze me?

Anders looking right into Mindy's startled eyes as they're on their knees on the elevator floor.

You probably have a type and my bet is, you're looking right at it.

Mindy standing back up, holding a paper roll.

Oh you mean, obnoxious narcissistic jerk? Oh sure, yea - but I'm so Katherine McFee over it.

Anders stands to join her.

Come on. You don't have to fight it.

Anders seductively leans in towards Mindy, who is now backed into the corner of the elevator clutching the paper roll.

The elevator dings as it arrives on the 18th floor, the doors opening.

(slowly, seductively) 
You lust who you lust.

Mindy is frozen, staring into Anders' hazel eyes.

The doors close on the couple, Anders hovering over a hynotized Mindy.

Suddenly, the moment is broken back inside the elevator as Mindy bops Anders on the head with the roll of paper to repel him.


MINDY noticing that the elevator door has opened and closed on the 18th floor during this time.

You know we just missed our floor.

No worries babe. You ride with me, and it's penthouse all the way.

Mindy reaches over to press the button again.

Yea okay. What were you doing going to the 18th floor anyway?

Anders showing off his props, taking back the paper roll Mindy is holding.

Come on, you can't tell? I'm clearly an architect.

You're an architect??

Well, no, not an ACTUAL architect. But I'm auditioning to play one. It's this great part in this fantastic comedy. I'm really pumped.

Oh really?

Yea. Are you here to audition too? You going for the cute little sidekick or the fiery Jamaican nanny?

Oh, I already have a part.

No kidding!? You're an actress? You know, I thought you looked familiar but then again, you guys always do.

That's inconvenient.

Well, I picked up this book to prepare for my meeting today. The show-runner is a best-selling writer. 

You don't say?

Anders looking through his file folders to find the book. 

Yea, I started flipping through the book and it's actually really funny. There's a story about Bradley Cooper, not that Bradley Cooper has anything on me, you know.

I'm sure.

And a chapter on a starlet's confessions for how to look spectacular in Hollywood, which you should totally check out.


No offense. I mean, you think I'm a natural blonde, don't you?

I didn't doubt it for a moment.

Yea, can't say the same thing for BRADLEY now can you.

Well, obviously you haven't ever met Bradley in person.

Anders looks stunned and leafs through his folders more frantically.

But no really, do I know you from somewhere?

The elevator dings as it reaches the 18th floor again and the doors open.

Good luck with your audition.

Mindy cooly exits the interview, just as Anders finally retrieves the book and stares wide-eyed at the cover.

CLOSE UP: Mindy Kaling on the Why Not Me? book cover.

Anders holding up the book shouting out, walking towards the now closing elevator doors.

Omg! Mindy Kaling! Why Not Me!? I'm your biggest fan!

Elevator doors close in his face.

The End.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mindy Kaling Is Victim To Mindy Kaling

A promo for Mindy's new book Why Not Me? was posted on YouTube: "Mindy Kaling Is Victim To An Elevator Scam." 
A more fitting title would have been "Mindy Kaling Is Victim To Mindy Kaling." 

First things first, I greatly admire Mindy Kaling, despite my trollish ways that have alienated me from my beloved. But does Mindy want fans who follow her blindly? Maybe? However, I don't feel being a fan is mutually exclusive from having an opinion rooted in critical thought. 

Well, I just sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that Mindy Kaling is co-opting her own insecurities to rally the masses into buying into her brand of humor - which seems to be, hey, isn't it comical that anyone could actually be attracted to me? I'll cast myself as the unlikely leading lady against the most unimaginative leading men but I'll also wink wink, acknowledge that I'm ridiculously unappealing.  

Let's really dissect this elevator promo. The punchline is basically Mindy's disbelief that a guy like Anders Holm would be interested in her or in reading her book. 

In order for this comedy to fly, we have to buy into the premise that a nondescript "white guy architect" would of course never be into a girl like Mindy Kaling, even Mindy Kaling playing Mindy Kaling (and not Mindy Lahiri, her television show sitcom character which is indistinguishable from herself in this promo, which is another gripe I have about this promo). 

In the promo, Mindy slaps Anders, but Mindy might as well have slapped herself. It may be lucrative but there's little empowerment in this brand of female slapstick. What message does this send to girls, especially minority girls, or girls with varying body types, or even grown-ass women or even gay guys who are ever stereotypically neutered? 

Mindy Kaling in no way challenges the mold of the romantic comedy hero on her show or in her promo, which is her prerogative. The sadder part is that she also bases her comedy in perpetuating that she's not a good enough heroine for the narrow archetype. It's pandering to an audience instead of commanding one. 

Sorry love, casting yourself as the heroine is not per se bold or brave when you tear yourself down in order to make it more palatable for your audience. This is actually cowardly. If you did it to anyone else besides yourself, it would be readily apparent that it is hateful. 

And gosh, it's lazy! We've seen this before! Here (Eff You Matt Damon) and here and here (everything Amy Schumer). Not to mention the on your knees meeting in an elevator here in the pilot episode of The Mindy Project.

Mindy Kaling grew up loving romantic comedies featuring good looking white people falling in love with each other. Progress would be people falling in love with each other. Progress is not white man falling for Mindy Kaling despite the fact that she is Mindy Kaling, and I don't think great comedy is either (unless you are trying to be satirical, which I just don't think you are girlfriend). 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Mystery of Brenda Withers

I wasn't going to go there but really, I can't help it anymore. What more do I have to lose - I've already been shunned. I know Mindy won't appreciate this one bit but I've been wondering about this for a while now. 

Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers

Mindy fans know how she got her big-break alongside her college best friend, Brenda Withers:
In August 2002, Kaling portrayed Ben Affleck in an off Broadway play called Matt & Ben,[17] which she co-wrote with her best friend from college, Brenda Withers—who played Matt Damon. The play was named one of Time magazine's "Top Ten Theatrical Events of The Year," was "a surprise hit" at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival.[3] Initially, Withers and Kaling had "for their own entertainment, mockingly pretend to be the best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; that pretending spawned “Matt & Ben”, the goofy play that reimagined how Damon and Affleck came to write the movie Good Will Hunting."[3]  (Wikipedia)

In 2006, Brenda did have a brief guest stint on an episode of The Office, the memorable "Booze Cruise."

As of 2011, they were still tight. Mindy not only discussed her BFF Brenda in her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), there were pics included of them evidencing their best friendship. Mindy also thanked Brenda in the acknowledgments. 

I'm pretty sure I saw a pic of them at an awards show together back in the day because Mindy had brought Brenda as her guest (maybe the one below?).

Brenda's acting credits on IMDb end after a stint on Law & Order in 2010. In 2011, she was acting in a play and in 2013 and 2015 also. So it doesn't seem Brenda has abandoned acting.

All of this brings me to the obvious - Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers are no longer best friends. Even if they maintain a pretense at a friendship, or they choose not to comment publicly on the dissolution of their friendship, there is no way they are really best friends anymore. 

More rabid Mindy fans may be outraged by my assertion. But, if you exploded into stardom and had your own network television show which is now continuing for its fourth season on Hulu, and said show featured guest stars all the time, would you not cast your struggling actress BFF on even one episode, forget creating a recurring role?

Yea. Exactly. I rest my case.

I'd love to know what happened between Mindy and Brenda but we'll probably never find out. They seem way too private to expose these vulnerabilities to the media. Even if they're both perfectly fine with things as they are, as an outsider I find it kind of sad. I'm guessing it's not what they envisioned as kids when they shared their dreams of making it some day and it must suck for Brenda to feel left behind, even if Mindy has legit reasons for moving on without her. 

Mindy, is there no room for forgiveness? For making amends? Maybe not. Just wondering. 

UPDATE - I called it!

OMG EVEN BETTER UPDATE (2017)!! - Read my reply to (Mindy's???) comment on this post "Why Mindy Blocked Us On Instagram."