Mindy Kaling loves rom-coms (and being the boss)
Mindy Kaling says she loves romantic comedies, even though she wrote last year in The New Yorker that saying so "is essentially an admission of mild stupidity."
Her new Fox TV show, The Mindy Project — which she created, stars in, writes and runs as co-executive producer — is essentially a serialized romantic comedy, where each week, viewers can check in with the character to see how her life is going, Kaling says.
Except she hopes her show is "actually funny," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Kaling plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a successful obstetrician/gynecologist, whose personal life is a mess and who struggles to do the right thing.
Kaling's late mother was also an obstetrician-gynecologist — and an inspiration for Dr. Lahiri's career.
Kaling says that even though their actual jobs were very different, she and her mother had similar work ethics and long hours.
"I would often be leaving work at 11 o'clock at night in [Los Angeles] and call her in Boston and she would still be awake, waiting for a baby to be delivered," Kaling says. "It's fun to be surrounded by women in all different stages of their lives — some who are married, some who are expecting babies, some with families. It seemed like a good board for a character to be bouncing off her own neurosis."
Kaling played Kelly Kapoor in The Office, for which she also wrote and produced. She says she initially thought running her own show was a chance to "correct any pet peeves" from her old job; she wanted to listen to her writers the way she wanted to be listened to as a writer on The Office.
But about five weeks into The Mindy Project, Kaling realized she had to stop asking for as much input. It was hard, she says, because her "personality is to be chatty and to talk to people and hear peoples' problems."
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