Biographies: Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns by Mindy KalingIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns
by Mindy Kaling

After reading this biography, I felt affirmed in my love of romantic comedies, ambivalent about the giant blanket I crocheted for me and J, proud of my marriage, comfortable with my size and weight, and cooler for loving the Irish exit before I knew it was a thing.

The title certainly caught my attention because the question whether everyone is hanging out without me constantly plagues me (and lately the answer is “yes” as I’ve been in this self-imposed solitude, but I got shit to do! These websites aren’t gonna write themselves). Also I love The Mindy Project even more than New Girl, which is saying a lot. I also liked The Office, though I didn’t start watching until season 4 and then I didn’t really like it once Michael went from weird to kind of fucking scary.

I think Mindy Kaling is adorable and I appreciate that her writing style reminded me of lines from her character in The Mindy Project as well as Kelly Kapoor from The Office: a little flighty, very funny, and unapologetically ridiculous. I like all that in a woman.

I thought that most women find her character in The Mindy Project to be very relatable, but a quick survey of some (2) girlfriends revealed otherwise. But the way she is totally unreasonable and prone to unnecessarily dramatic displays of emotion definitely resonate with yours truly. It’s like a very quirky old lady who wants everything “just so” and can’t imagine that it would put anyone out to aquiesce to her demands, only Mindy isn’t old enough to get away with it without causing problems with her peers (and that’s basically the plot of every beloved episode).

I enjoyed the peek behind the scenes of the effortless comedy of anesthesizing television sitcoms at the hardworking daughter of Indian parents who didn’t even indulge in handicrafts. (I have a bone to pick with her description of a hand-knit scarf as “a backlog of idleness”, but she she’s currently successful, famous, and on some kind of recognizable career trajectory and I’m currently unemployed and spending my days looking up bulgogi recipes, I’ll save my bones for later.) She knew what she loved–comedy–from a young age and she pursued it. She even starved for it a little while, living in cramped quarters with two of her friends and babysitting for a living until a play she had written eventually led her down the path toward The Office. That’s actually my favorite thought from the whole book (which I read in order to get inspired to work on my own version of success):

Babysitting did not pay the bills or give me health insurance, which I guess is good, because otherwise I would probably be an au pair somewhere.

This. This, I sincerely believe, is the root of the existential crisis so many of us seem to be facing; that we got that job that pays the bills and gives health insurance and we just stopped there, just buckled up to go along for the ride and are too afraid to ever bail and look for something new.

A final observation from Kaling re: being hired to write for The Office:

I started dreading the weekends, because weekends meant saying goodbye to this creative, cheerful atmosphere.

When the fuck has anyone said this about a job ever? This is all I want for myself and for everyone.

I end here because I had the book for so long that the lady at the library could barely hide her contempt when I called to renew it. “That reserved. I cannot renew it. Someone else is waiting for it, and you will be charged a fee for every day it’s late.”

 Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? What are you willing to do or give up to reach your goals?

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