Mindy Kaling: ‘It would be demeaning’ to discuss abortion ‘in a half-hour sitcom’


I am an unabashed fan of Mindy Kaling and The Mindy Project. TMP got really, really good in its second season, to the point where I stopped watching New Girl altogether just to focus on my love for TMP. Mindy covers the October issue of Flare to promote the third season of TMP, which starts two weeks from now. There were some concerns about whether Fox would order a third season, but in the end they did… they just ordered 15 episodes rather than a full season. But it’s fine. I hope it will be fine, because I think TMP has some of the best and funniest writing in all of current television.

As for this Flare cover interview…I’ve noticed something weird about Mindy’s profiles. It’s like journalists try to “force” her to be political, to take stands and to talk about how she’s a boss. Which is fine – she’s a boss and she’s one of the most powerful women in TV and she has political views and such. But I often feel like Mindy would rather be profiled in the traditional “fashion magazine” way, where she just gets to talk about clothes, makeup, exercise and all of that. Instead, she has to admit that she reads Politico and has opinions on abortion and sexism. You can read the full Flare piece here and here are some highlights:

She likes that The Mindy Project is “pretty”: “I think sometimes our show is seen as breezier than it is, because it looks beautiful and the people are dressed really well. On a lot of shows, the aesthetic is kind of cruddy, which seems to equal really funny, which I don’t think is correct. If you’re looking for this vérité thing, watch a documentary.”

Early TMP viewers thought the Mindy character was unlikeable: “I don’t think about it a ton, but I was surprised by how much not just men but also women felt like they wanted her to be less selfish. Because the show has this romantic aspect to it, Mindy Lahiri can’t be as edgy as I thought at the beginning.”

She worries about ratings & lack of awards: “I come from a hit show, and I am competitive and I am a perfectionist. So for me, ratings do count. Wednesday mornings, I always check, and it affects my demeanour for a while.”

TMP won’t address abortion: “It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom.”

On the criticism that she’s too confident: “Of course I’m riddled with doubts like every other creative, neurotic person, but if you don’t display them all the time, you’re seen as overconfident. I’ve worked in television for 10 years straight. If I were a man, it wouldn’t be considered strange [to have confidence] at all.”

She wishes her late mother could have seen the show: “She would love the clothes so much. I had zero rebellion against my mother. I was terrified of her, and I thought she was very glamorous, and I just wanted to emulate her all the time.”

Turning 35: “Though this has been the first year I realized that if I want to have three kids, I need to get going.”

Her job is her boyfriend: “In my 20s, I was not only boy crazy, but marriage and relationship crazy. Now it’s almost the opposite. My work is so rewarding and I’m so self-centred about it that I’m kind of excited about not having to go home and ask someone about their day.”

[From Flare]

I’ve read Mindy’s book, and I tend to think she’s going to have a difficult time finding a cutesy guy to marry. I’m not throwing shade either, I just think Mindy only likes guys who are cutesy, boyish hipsters and those types of guys aren’t looking to get married right away. But I like that she’s basically saying that her job is her boyfriend, that her job fulfills her in a deep way that it’s changed the way she looks at relationships – very few women will admit that publicly, you know?


Photos courtesy of Flare.

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84 Responses to “Mindy Kaling: ‘It would be demeaning’ to discuss abortion ‘in a half-hour sitcom’”

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  1. Renee says:

    I don’t know about the abortion comment, Maude was able to do it…but I agree that it could be messy.

    • FingerBinger says:

      Roseanne was able to do it on her show too.

    • NYer says:

      Things were different back then. TV was different. Shows like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” would be crucified today. Sadly.

    • Mia V. says:

      Well, if she doesn’t feel secure on talking about in the show cause she feels it wouldn’t be deep enough, it’s better to not discuss and make it shallow.

    • Marigold says:

      To be fair, Maude and Roseanne often delved into more dramatic fare. TMP doesn’t have the same sitcom personality as either of those shows.

    • bettyrose says:

      Not sitcoms, but while I was growing up, Fast Times & Dirty Dancing both had abortions as plot devices without contoversy. It wasn’t the point of the movies or the reason we watched them. But the decision was treated as a serious and life altering/learning experience in both cases.

    • joan says:

      People like Kaling think they’re SO much more sophisticated, but Maude did this way back. I’m tired of current arrogance.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        There is no arrogance in her words. She didn’t come across to me as putting herself as “SO much more sophisticated” than anyone else, she was simply saying that it won’t be covered on her show because the show presents limitations that would hinder her ability to communicate her views about that topic.

        I think people might assume that she would make the same points as Maude, but maybe she has different ideas on the subject that would take longer to make? Maybe the topic wouldn’t fit into the tone of her show?

  2. Nev says:


  3. Kali says:

    I think many people can’t quite conceive of a woman who isn’t a size 0-2 blonde little thing (not saying that’s necessarily BAD, just that it’s essentially the Hollywood default for women) actually just being a bit fluffy and girlie and just wanting to talk about how much she loves clothes/makeup/fashion in general. Because she doesn’t necessarily fit the “little starlet” archetype, they’re trying to push her into the “ballbusting female boss” archetype.

    Now, in more important news, if anyone knows where you could find a version of that striped dress and the yellow dress, I would thank you most sincerely. And so would my dire looking wardrobe. *sob*

    • Sarah says:

      You should send an email or tweet to Sasha, over at Lainey gosssip, about this two dresses. She does articles every week where she hunts down the exact clothing, or very similar clothes, that celebrities are shot wearing. The clothing she posts is based on what people wrote in asking her to find.

  4. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I love these pics of her.

    I want her to be my friend. I love what she said about turning 35 and I love that she’s from Boston. Well, Cambridge, but same thing 😉

    • Erinn says:

      Can we just keep her, OKitt?
      I’ve actually convinced the husband that he LOVES this show. He only started watching it because I was sick on the couch one day and instead of depressing Hannibal, he put Mindy on. And actually, genuinely was amused by it – he’d be the one to click ‘next episode’ haha.

      She’s just so genuinely funny, and I love her clothes. I want her wardrobe.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        That’s awesome that you converted her husband into a fan. Mindy’s just that awesome I guess.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I love her so much. I could come up to Boston and be the older sister friend. Please?

      Did you know there’s a website about her clothes? It’s called The Mindy Project Style and it tells where to get all of her outfits. Now can I come?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Did you read her book? I really enjoyed it, and I don’t even watch her show (its on my “to watch” list). I really like her, she is hysterical and strong.

    • sadezilla says:

      Yes to all of this! We need more people like Mindy, especially in the gross plastic-world that is Hollywood.

      @Tiffany :), yes, her book is amazeballs. Mindy fans, if you haven’t read it, you need to. I even liked it better than Bossypants. Even though I’m a Tina stan, I probably relate more to Mindy as a 30-something, non-size-zero, lamentably single girl.

  5. feebee says:

    I think she’s great. I loved character Mindy in the beginning, her selfishness at her age was something that I found humorous and endearing in it’s utter unapologetic cluelessness. She’s growing up a bit, still love her.

    I hope they order more episodes, it’s a lovely 22 minutes each week.

  6. tmh says:

    I like Mindy, I’m glad she made that comment about abortion. It’s like we have to make everything out of a joke she maybe pro abortion but that doesn’t mean she sees it as a funny topic.

  7. tila says:

    She looks gorgeous in that yellow dress

  8. Delilah says:

    I just love Mindy and think she’s very funny. I tremendously enjoy TMP. I hope it stays around for a long time. I hope viewing on HULU or DVR still registers and counts toward the ratings (a little ignorant how that works). It seems like everytime I read an excerpt of an article featuring Mindy there’s always controversy about who she’s allowed to be, i.e., her preference for White Male romantic leads, weight, diversity on her show and now this – politician vs fashionista. Can we just free Mindy and stop trying to box her in???

    • Georgia says:

      +1 she’s a multi-faceted human being, let her do her! The world can only benefit from giving all different types of women a genuine platform

  9. Buttock Fatock says:

    Dartmouth alum FTW. Love Mindy!

  10. paola says:

    I’m turning 35 today and I agree with her. Love Mindy, she has such a positive attitude and I love her style.

  11. in_theory says:

    I like that she’s fine with saying she’s self-centered and doesn’t need someone to come home to at night. I feel like this is something women her age are usually made to feel defensive about by society.

    OT: The line on the cover: our fashion director frees the nipple – what the heck is that all about?

  12. Hissyfit says:

    I love TMP and loves her annoying but hilarious Ms. Lahiri character. I follow her on IG and you can really see how she and her team works hard for the show so I am glad it is working out great.

  13. KolaKubes says:

    V. Interesting what she says about cruddy aesthetics coming from The Office…possibly one of the most aesthetically ugly shows around. Not that I’m throwing shade at The Office – it’s brilliant!

    • Dolce crema says:

      Yeah I was just thinking about that remark and wondering if she made the connection. Obviously the look of the office is deliberate and works perfectly though right ?

      • KolaKubes says:

        Yeah, I think so. But still an odd thing to say!

      • lucy2 says:

        Definitely deliberate, it was part of the tone of the show. But I can see how after all those years there, she wanted a nicer looking environment for her next workplace.
        I love her, and am so happy her show got renewed and she is who she is.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      It’s funny, I didn’t think of the office at all, I thought about Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and the Big Bang Theory and all the ugly “everyday” apartments and decor in those shows.

  14. Zimmer says:

    Love the Mindy Project too! Often makes me laugh out loud!!!

  15. Victoria1 says:

    I love her show and am happy it’s coming back, I can relate to her character. My bf is like Danny’s character, you know old fashioned and cranky, so we both watch and laugh. Also, she looks gorgeous on the cover!! Go Mindy

  16. Dolce crema says:

    I just watched the whole thing (2 seasons) about a week ago as it’s on netflix canada now and it is fantastic! What it reminds me of most is 30 rock, not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s the quirky characters at work, the type of humour, the successful and mature single chick who feels desperate about being single at times archetype? I’m curious why amada setton (from gossip girl) left the show early on. Was there nowhere to go with her little character? She is so gorgeous..
    Out of all the characters I most love the 4 partners of the practice and their dynamic. I also liked mindy in the office.

    • Hissyfit says:

      I think I remember there was in issue back then about Setton but I can’t remember exactly what. Mindy had to get rid of one character and it was between Setton and Camp which doesn’t make sense because after Setton was fired, she added Xosha. But I’m not going to complain because Xosha as Tamra is hilarious. She and Morgan are my favorite!

  17. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I liked season one Mindy, had no problem with her at all. I find it sad she felt she had to be less edgy to be likeable. Weirdly maybe because at that time New Girl was the hot show, and Zooey D.’s brand of girly feminism was more palatable to the masses. Season 3 of New Girl has just started in the U.K., and it succccks. I would happily watch it alongside Mindy but am on the verge of giving it up. (What is the point of the Wayans guy? Why did they change a successful formula so drastically? Why are Nick and Jess so yucky? gah!). I don’t think she needs to address abortion in her show, they are just putting that out there because of that new movie with the hipster non rom com abortion. I picture Mindy’s dream guy as probably someone like John Krasinski, she needs someone smart, funny and down to earth, and in her business and locale that’s probably going to sadly be a challenge. But she’s awesome, I’m sure there’s a Dr.Danny out there for her somewhere (is Dr. Danny married?! ooh).

    • Marianne says:

      New Girl was especially great in Season 2, but Season 3 got worse by the minute. My main problem is I felt like they were trying to hard to make of all of their characters be “quirky”. It got to the point where they dont feel relatable in any way. I hope Season 4 gets back on track.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        Totally agree, it was quirky before but it was funny. Now it’s just all jazz hands and annoying shenanigans repeated and bombarded in the hopes that people will think they’re funny when they’re not. Please tell me they get rid of Coach? I have nothing against the Wayans dude, he just doesn’t add anything to the show imo and has thrown the chemistry of the rest of the cast off.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      Geez, does that show ever stink, now. I bailed early on the season.

      For whatever reason, Jess became the most normal character and the voice of reason, which doesn’t work for me at all. Not just because that’s dull, but because everyone else had to become really stupid for it to happen. When did Nick Miller turn into Homer Simpson? Why are so many people stuffed into that apartment, they’re supposed to be in their thirties, are they afraid of the dark? What are they doing with Winston other than waste him? How many times can they Schimdt and Cecelia date for an episode. And, so on.

  18. Backwards says:

    I think we’re just killing time till BJ and her get together again 😛

  19. ashley says:

    I just love her!!!! TMP is so funny,can’t wait for season 3! Whew!

  20. S says:

    Love Mindy. Love her show. I don’t really have anything else worthwhile to say, but I wanted to add a comment because I’d love to have more Mindy stories on the site!

  21. happymama says:

    Mindy, feel free to address women’s issues and reproductive rights in your show if you’d like. Any airtime is better than none. One smart product placement or even just a few seconds of dialogue can spread major awareness. Appreciate it!

    • lucy2 says:

      They did have an episode about Mindy sticking up for a young woman getting birth control, but if they don’t want to address abortion, I can’t really blame her.

  22. wow says:

    Um, no, not really, Mindy.

    They did it on that show Degrassi High back in the day and the newer version. It was far from demeaning. Controversial? Yes. But it was educational as well.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      But for HER show, maybe she thinks there are all sorts of nuances and points that she would want to make that are different from what Degrassi did?

      Just because other shows have done it, doesn’t mean that they handled it with the care and message that Mindy would want for her own version.

    • Alyssa Callaway says:

      Degrassi High was NOT a sitcom, it was a teen DRAMA and the show’s “thing” was to tackle serious topics like AIDS, sexual assault, alcohol and substance problems, etc. And if I remember correctly the episode you are talking about was controversial in the US and was not aired in full here, even in later reruns.

      I agree that someone might be able to pull it off, but if she doesn’t feel she can do it justice or in a way that’s in keeping with the tone of the show, then she shouldn’t. And she shouldn’t be shamed for it. She is just talking about her show, not all shows future and past.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        Ooh was it original Canadian Degrassi? I don’t remember that ep – I was obsessed with that show! Degrassi was not in the same vein as Mindy Project AT ALL, though I would love if Mindy threw in an obscure Degrassi reference…um ok maybe too obscure for her show but it would be funny. I bet Danny watched Degrassi, cause he’s so old and out of touch ba dum bum.

      • Alyssa Callaway says:

        @Mrs. Darcy: Yep Degrassi High was some OG Canadian Degrassi (though I was under the impression that it was all Canadian). It might not have been the first but it was at least one of the first three in the Degrassi-verse. But I’m sure they use the same serious issues on whatever is on “The N” now. I went through a phase of watching one of the newer versions for a while and one of the story lines was about one of the main characters getting an STD from oral sex in a ravine. I don’t know why that has stuck with me.

  23. ralyra says:

    It would make sense for TMP to address abortion since it is set in an OB-GYN office. I’m not saying they have to, but having a patient with an unwanted pregnancy would be an interesting narrative choice.

    I love the show. Right now the local FOX station is off my satellite offerings while the satellite and the local affiliate fight out money issues. I hope it’s settled before TMP and other shows premiere .

  24. Debbie says:

    Love her and her show best sitcom on tv. On show I have to watch. She is funny and just brilliant. Can’t say enough how big of fan I am of her.

  25. Tassi says:

    I absolutely adore Kaling & The Mindy Project! I just found the show a few weeks ago & fell head over heels for it. Sitcoms aren’t my favourite – but TMP is so funny & engaging I don’t even realise it’s a 22 minute show.

  26. JessSaysNo says:

    I am a Mindy fan AND a big fan of her show. She reminds me a lot of my former bff, very self-centered, hilarious, impossible to please, over-analytical.. I do think it will be hard for her to find the type of husband she wants, which happens to be boyish hipster who also acts like a father -figure. I dont think she NEEDS to have a man but she does want that life (marriage + kids) but I have never even seen her with a confirmed boyfriend so I dont know. And I think she is way too flirty with the married men on her set (Messina esp.) which irritates me as a married women who hates those type of girls that try to befriend my husband on some fake-bro-ish level. Her personal life is her business but I am very excited for the show to start up again!

    • Alyssa Callaway says:

      That seems to be pretty judgmental of her character, especially for someone who says they are a fan of hers. Not that you have to just blindly love her, but what do we really know about her character and personality in real life? I would hold back on implying that she wants to get into Chris Messina’s pants unless you know it for a fact. Seems like projection of your personal frustrations onto a presumably innocent bystander.

      They may just have a very close-knit set “family,” which often happens in the film and TV world bc you spend such long hours together. Watching one of the Paley Center panels, it seems like they’re all very affectionate and apparently Messina’s the one who tells everyone “I love you!” all the time.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      Dude, I would flirt with Messina too, he’s hot. But I don’t get that vibe from their relationship, I didn’t know he was married but I don’t see how taking cutesy pics for the fans is annything to get heated up over.

    • Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

      but you don’t hang out with your bff anymore, is it because of the characteristics you described?

  27. Nancy says:

    I love her and The Mindy Project it’s one of the best comedies on TV right now.

  28. yoyogabba123 says:

    What about she and BJ Novak? I think they used to date, and I’ve seen pics of them together on her instagram.

  29. word says:

    She didn’t say she was in a hurry to get married. She said she enjoys how her life is right now. Good for her for having the guts to say it…without worrying about people bashing her for not wanting to get married and knocked up before a certain age.

  30. Nicole says:

    TMP is amazing. I love her!

  31. Tiffany :) says:

    Throwing Mindy another comment, because she deserves more posts than some other regularly featured…”stars”.

    Go Mindy!

  32. Kate says:

    I hated her character in the first few episodes. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if she’d made a show like It’s Sunny In Philadelphia where all the characters are terrible people and you’re never meant to like them as people or root for them. But she was awful and selfish and just deeply annoying yet it was still written like we were meant to feel bad for her and hope she gets the guy?

  33. MG says:

    I love LOVE The Mindy Project! And I love Mindy Kaling, too. I’m happy TMP was renewed but sad for only 15 episodes. What were they thinking to not give it a full season?!

    I guess the good news is the episodes are so rich with little comedic and visual details that I can totally see myself hosting a little TMP marathon. It’s really the only show I can see watching more than once.

    I’ll be so sad to see this series end and hope it is renewed for years to come. If Seinfeld & the Simpsons could do it, why not this series?

  34. JessSaysNo says:

    Also, I hate how often she refers to herself as “hot.” I would hate anyone who continually referred to themselves as hot a lot. Man, woman, teen, famous, non-famous. It’s just conceited and annoying. But I do love her show!

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      What, Mindy irl or on the show? I think it’s adorable, yes sometimes it’s a joke like when Kevin Smith guests and tries to act like they’re the same size, she’s in on the joke that some people wouldn’t think she’s hot, so she’s like “In your face”. I think it’s awesome, how else are we going to get lead actresses in more than one show who aren’t Cameron Diaz skinny (yeah not counting Melissa McCarthy because isn’t the whole show about how fat they are?). Mindy demands that you regard her as a normal,attractive girl who is just as viable as a romantic lead as anyone else, and in such an un-Lena Dunham “look at my fat belly, look at it!” annoying way. My favourite line this yr was when she was dressed like a bum and was all “I look like Keira Knightley”, I don’t know, it just chimes with me, we all think that sometimes don’t we? Self confidence is not always annoying when it’s funny and smart imho.

      • JessSaysNo says:

        I totally agree with you! She is super beautiful too, I guess I feel its something she should feel we already know and not need to say it. It rubbed me the wrong way but I love that she is a normal size woman lead, having lots of male attention and dating.

  35. Lucy says:

    Queen! She’s amazing.

  36. Mrs. Darcy says:

    On an unrelated note, I just noticed the stunning headline right beside Mindy’s bosom that reads “Our fashion director frees the nipple” Are you kidding me?!

  37. mj says:

    I just wish that more people would realize she not a plus-sized woman. In Hollywood yeah yeah sure whatever. Actually she looks super healthy. And I’m not thin-shaming; you can be many different sizes and look super healthy. Also it’s not *just* that it’s refreshing to see someone not-white be so successful–it’s refreshing that a smart, funny, and talented woman is successful.