The Mindy Project: A Television Rant

Sometime whilst I was in the Peace Corps, a couple of shows came out that I quickly fell in love with: Broad City and The Mindy Project.

Most people don’t think of this, but at least in Peace Corps Peru, TV and movies were a big deal, they were our connection to home and our zone-out (rather than freak out) tool. We showed love and made new volunteer friends by passing along all of our favorite media.

So during the passing off of our favorite shows at conferences, I championed my two favorite shows, not only giving people the episodes but insisting that we watch the first one together, to get them hooked.

Broad City remains one of my favorites today. Abbi and Ilana are my girls. But the Mindy Project…I don’t know.

After a pretty long hiatus from the show, I recently picked it up again and I’m not super impressed. I’ve watched almost two seasons in the last couple of weeks and found that witty humor and silliness have been replaced by confusingly low brow humor, moderately racist/sexist comments, and big themes that should be addressed but are more often ignored.

For a lot of people I’ve spoken to, the decline started when Danny and Mindy got together, but that was ok for me. Whatever they’re in love, it’s cute, we can do comedy and love.

For me it all started with the anal sex episode. The episode centers around a moment in the bedroom when Danny “accidentally slips” leaving Mindy angry and startled. Where this gets really dicey is when Danny explains that he was just “trying something.” Seriously? 2017, and we’re still playing this game where sex is not an act between consenting adults involving conversation and consent, but a scuffle where people decide to do whatever they want without warning.

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As it turns out this episode was just one in many incidents showing the absolute bullsh** that is Danny and Mindy.

Danny incessantly complains about Mindy’s eating habits, cleaning habits, and personality traits which eventually started to get at me. That’s so unhealthy in a relationship. Do I expect that my boyfriend loves everything about me? Absolutely not. But I also don’t want him to constantly pick at every aspect of my life.

The big issue is that Danny can’t compromise despite the fact that he believes he’s always compromising.

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He expects Mindy to stay home with their son when he’s born and when she expresses discontent he shames her for not being a good mother. When she eventually returns to work (and starts her own business on the side), something he should be proud of her for, he shames her further and accuses her of threatening his vision for the future where they have many children. A future he did not consult her on.

Again, it’s 2017.

It seems every time Mindy finds happiness in her work life, Danny drags her down. There is no lack of love for her son here as she continuously shows how much she loves spending time with him, but because she working (something Danny is doing too), she’s a monster.

How are we still thinking like this and pushing these ideas into popular media today? How? In a world where this actually happens to so many women, can we put it on the small screen so unapologetically?

Sure, Danny and Mindy eventually break up which at least shows Mindy opting for her own happiness. Thank god for that. But the real issue is never addressed. She never says “hey I don’t have to stay home because I’m the mom, you staying home isn’t heroic babysitting, I’m going to work, stop mommy shaming me.” So we’re left to believe that they just wanted different things, rather than seeing that when Danny wants is sexist and damaging.

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I’ve written before that I’m scared to have kids one day because I am so career driven, that I fear I wouldn’t have the time to be a truly good mother. And it’s no wonder that this is a sentiment heard from many women and very few men.

What we need is for media to reflect a life where women and men can stay home or go to work or do a little of both. We need to normalize that life because while art reflects life, life also reflects art. With the number of young people watching these shows we’ve got to give them something better.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show, feminism, working parents, etc. Even if you disagree with me, hell, especially if you disagree with me. Let me know your thoughts.

Best of luck.

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9 thoughts on “The Mindy Project: A Television Rant

  1. I was in the same situation as you- I watched some of the earlier seasons, and then caught up on the newer episodes. It’s definitely an entirely different show, and every character (aside from Morgan) is unlikeable and quite frankly, kind of a shifty human being. I was super disappointed, given that Mindy is revered by many as a female role model for millenials- she has a fairly vocal platform, and THIS is what we are given? Why? I’ll stop ranting now 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Morgan is absolutely the most pure and wonderful character ever and I will always love him. And I absolutely agree. Young women in media, especially in comedy really need to represent and she is not doing it. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  2. I’ve only ever seen a few episodes of this show (from before they got together). Their relationship sounds like he was basically emotionally abusive!

    My boyfriend is awesome and even though I feel lucky, guys like him should be the norm. He doesn’t care what I’m wearing or if I have make up on, that I’m not a great cook, that I’m trying to work on my career (or rather my uncertainty about what I want to do!) and he always encourages me when I doubt myself. Cause that’s what men should do.

    My dad worked nights and looked after me and my brother in the day…so my mum could work days. They shared the responsibility and my dad still looks after us just as much as my mum! Now my dad is retired and my mum still works.

    Gender roles are silly and shouldn’t be forced on anyone 💁🏻

    This was an interesting post to read, I think things like this get passed over because it’s “just a sitcom”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My Boyfriend is the same! And men supporting their SOs/putting in half the work should absolutely be the norm. I wish we saw more of that in media.
      I completely agree that a lot of sitcoms and other shows/movies get a pass because it’s just fluff. But the fluff definitely matters. So many people only ever watch the fluff so it should represent reality, and definitely not abuse.
      Thank you for your thoughts and for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG YES. My mom went back to school when I was in third grade and my dad traveled a whole lot. While they always figured out a way to take me to my activity or pick me up from school (until I was old enough to take myself), it was still different than having one parent at home all the time.
    There were a number of times I got sick at school and had to just hang out in the nurse’s office because neither parent could get away to pick me up.
    I’m not saying I had a terrible childhood, because I really didn’t, but there were some times that I wished a parent was around more. I am also super ambitious like you, and don’t want to have kids because I don’t want them to spend their lives in daycare or with a nanny because I see how much even a little bit of my parents being gone hurt me.
    I think if we were shown better examples in TV in movies, instead of the mom that leaves her kids with a nanny being awful, it might be an easier lifestyle to fathm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree, agree, agree. My parents scrambled raising me as well; they both worked, they both liked working and they figured out the rest as it came. I honestly think that’s the truth for most couples, but it isn’t what we see. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t watch much TV and have never heard of this Mindy show – but from your description it sounds absolutely creepy!
    As to your questions – I started my career at 22, my marriage at 27 and my family at 38. By that time, it was absolutely clear that parenting would be a 50/50 split between me and my husband. Gender roles are almost non-existent in our household. When our girls are hungry, they go to dad. When they break a toy and need it fixed, they go to mom.
    Every couple is free to make the rules and create the standards within their own household for themselves. That is the true meaning of feminism. It is good for everyone – but especially for dads.

    Liked by 3 people

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