The Mindy Project, New Girl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Man Seeking Woman, and How I Met Your Mother.
What do all those shows have in common?
Well, for one, they all feature a millennial as their main protagonist. This protagonist is also single. In fact, most of them even kick off their pilot with a break-up of some sort.
This introductory break-up signals that love is going to be the end goal of the series. Of course there will be other ambitions and goals to meet along the way- especially for female protagonists (apparently women still have to prove that marriage isn’t our only goal in life)- but each of these comedies revolves around a quirky protagonist’s struggle to find a partner.
The “searching for love” trope has become even more common in contemporary sitcoms than the “quirky but loveable family” trope that was so common when we were kids.
Even just by comparing hit TV shows, I think it’s safe to say that we Millennials tend to struggle with different issues than our parents did at our age. After all, what is a sitcom for but to mock our deepest fears and help us laugh at ourselves?
Having binge watched most of The Mindy Project, New Girl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Man Seeking Woman,and How I Met Your Mother,I’ve noticed a couple of common themes running through these shows.
1. Women worry that they’ve been too successful, while men worry that they haven’t been successful enough
Mindy (The Mindy Project) is a OB/GYN, Jess (New Girl) is a school principal, Rebecca (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) is a lawyer, and even Liz (sister of main character Josh in Man Seeking Woman) is a lawyer. When all of these women find themselves unexpectedly single, they are introduced to a kind of panic none of the male protagonists are forced to face: will I be too old to have kids by the time I find someone?
In contrast, Nick (New Girl) and Greg (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) are bartenders, Josh (Man Seeking Woman) is a temp, Josh (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) works at a “laid-back” tech store, and even Mindy has dated the occasional DJ.
This is a bit of a red herring, since Ted did eventually become a pretty successful architect.
According to CBC’s sources, Vickers “dove to the floor around the pillar [where Bibeau was shooting from], turning on his back as he landed and simultaneously firing his weapon upwards at Bibeau”. Pretty impressive for an almost-60-year-old.
Yet the story of Cirillo’s death and Vicker’s heroism was quickly pushed aside when the news about Jian Ghomeshi hit.
When John and I first heard that Ghomeshi was going on leave we didn’t think much of it, and both said, “Well, we know he isn’t going to get fired. People love Q.”
EVAN: Welcome, one and all, young and old, to what I am dubbing as the first ever Valentine’s Day Edition of Evan and Gordon Talk!
I had originally come up with this topic to rile my co-writer, but then realized that it fit in perfectly with tomorrow’s holiday.
GORDON: Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t rile me. My vindictive co-writer understands that I am a deeply unemotional individual who knows more about the surface of the moon than human interactions.
EVAN: I had mostly planned on this being me asking Gordon about what traits he appreciates in a woman, and I will start thusly:
Gordon, what is the first thing you notice in a woman, physically [that appeals to you]?
GORDON: You know that I am partial to redheads.
EVAN: Our readership did not. What do you like about them, exactly?
GORDON: No reason springs to mind, I guess it’s just an irrational preference. Similar to your irrational detestation of the ladies of your own ethnicity.
EVAN: Oh, I don’t detest Asian women, I’m just not as attracted to them as almost any other race. But we’re getting off topic, you can ask me potentially embarrassing questions in a moment.
What woman would you hold up above all others as an ideal example of physical beauty?
GORDON: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
This is beautiful to someone. Just not me. Or anyone I know. Or will ever know.
In my case, I’d cite Bryce Dallas Howard or Olivia Wilde as being prime examples. At least of physical attractiveness.
Obviously there’s plenty more that goes into it.
EVAN: Like what? I mean, I know there’s more, but what else do you think there is to it?
GORDON: Intelligence, obviously, is a major factor.
EVAN: So what’s the standard for your future significant other?
GORDON: I’ve answered quite a few- I’ll let you answer that first.
EVAN: I’d like to be with a lady who reads. Not being able to talk to her about a book [or, let’s be honest, a comic] that I’m reading would be pretty terrible.
So reasonable well-read, I’d say. She doesn’t have to have read Joyce’s Ulysses, but knowing who the Romantics are would be nice.
GORDON: Certainly we can agree on this.
I’m going to describe who I’ve always seen you marrying/dating, since I feel like it’ll touch on another area of life you deem very important.
I’ve always imagined you getting together with what you would call “a dirty hippy.” Dreads, doesn’t shower very often, a conscientious consumer in that she pays for products that are ethically produced, someone who goes to rallies but knows what exactly she’s protesting.
GORDON: This is the part where I’d describe who I’ve always thought you’d wind up being only, only I don’t speculate on that because I’m not a pervert.
EVAN: I feel like your skirting around the subject and avoidance of outright denying my speculation gives it validity.
GORDON: Then here is my outright denial: I don’t like hippies. They’re pacifists.
EVAN: Fine, she advocates violence in certain situations.
GORDON: I don’t like vegetarianism or veganism or any of those other affronts to god and nature.
EVAN: So you’re saying being a vegetarian is a deal-breaker for you?
GORDON: Totally. My little sister is a vegetarian, and I am so ashamed of the fact that I just tell people that she’s actually a meth dealer.
If cows had the chance, they’d kill you and everyone you love…
EVAN: While we as an audience are probably relieved that you would never date your sister, I think now would be a great time to list off the [presumably] many deal-breakers you have when it comes to a significant other.
GORDON: Emotions. Talkativeness. A need for companionship or validation of any kind. Playing any music which isn’t heavy metal without earphones. More than three pairs of shoes. Adherence to any political belief that Glenn Beck wouldn’t decry as being forged in the fires of hell.
This could go on, you know this.
EVAN: I’m going to take it from your second deal-breaker that you prefer your women to be seen and not heard. How are our readers supposed to perceive this?
GORDON: The readers can take it any way they want- my own point is that I don’t like people who I hang out with to have to talk, as a baffling number of people on this little blue rock apparently feel obliged to.
EVAN: You live a hard life, Gordon.
GORDON: I truly do.
EVAN: To switch our places while still hopefully making you equally uncomfortable, you can ask me a question about my feelings. My feelings about women.
GORDON: . . . why are you doing this to me?
EVAN: Gordon, I am doing this for our readers.
GORDON: In that case, I guess what the reader apparently wants to know is. . . I have no idea. I have literally no idea. . .
EVAN: Gordon, if a girl wanted to send you a Valentine, what sort of gift/card would you most appreciate?
GORDON: Can cigars count? You can write on the little labels. . .
EVAN: Only if we’re allowed to read something Freudian into your choice.
GORDON: Do I still get cigars?
GORDON: Then I can live with that.
EVAN: Conversely, what sort of Valentine would you give a girl?
GORDON: . . . Cigars? They’re like chocolate, only they don’t taste lousy and make a mess.
EVAN: Also, they don’t go straight to your thighs.
GORDON: This is true.
EVAN: I’m going to try to come up with one more question you don’t want to answer, and then we can wrap this up. When was the last time you had a crush on someone?
GORDON: Ah, an easy one. Never.
EVAN: The last time you considered a woman you saw to be very attractive [not counting on TV/on the internet]?
GORDON: That’d be when I went to Toronto with you. Though it must be noted that I had been stuck in a tiny college town with the same people for the past four years. So I wouldn’t put much stock in my judgment at that point.
EVAN: The women of Toronto will try not to read too much into your comment. And I suppose that brings this Special Evan and Gordon Talk Valentine’s Day Edition to a close!
GORDON: For next week, I suggest: Drugs, Legalization, and Culture. It won once before, I think it deserves another shot.
EVAN: Oh yeah, it did. I think we talked about Django instead.
EVAN: Cool stuff. You should end this by telling our readers how you feel about them.
GORDON: You people make me sick. Prying into a dude’s personal life at the cackling delight of Evan. He’s an impressionable child and easily led astray. You should be ashamed of yourselves for encouraging his bad behavior.
EVAN: I think you are all wonderful people, and should consider yourselves lucky to have been privy to Gordon’s life. Tune in next time, as always!