Tag Archives: Mindy Kaling

What Happened to Shauna on The Mindy Project?

It’s a question that I asked myself fairly early on, back when I first started Mindy Kaling’s sitcom [eleven days ago, I’m currently close to wrapping up the third season]. As a little bit of background for those of you unfamiliar with the show, The Mindy Project primarily takes place at [the originally named] Shulman & Associates, a medical practice where the titular character works as an OB/GYN. Here’s a promo picture of the cast Season 1:

The character in question is second from the left. Shauna Dicanio, played by Amanda Setton, was a receptionist with an extremely thick New York accent. I say “was”, of course, because here in the third season, with the fourth beginning in a few weeks, she’s nowhere to be seen. In fact, she didn’t even make it past the halfway mark of Season 1.

Which, I should mention before I really get into things, is a darn shame. Setton’s character had a great deal of potential as the young, hip woman around the office, in particular due to Mindy’s frequent assertions that she is the young, hip woman around the office.

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The Mindy Project – Season 1 Episode 3: “In the Club”

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Body Positivity and “Healthy” Double Standards, or Why I Need Fat Acceptance Even Though I’m (Relatively) Thin

The moment you mention “fat” and anything positive in the same sentence you get a response that’s meant to put you in your place. It will usually go something like, “I don’t believe in encouraging unhealthy behaviour” or “I’m all for self-acceptance, but…”.

I certainly do understand this sentiment. I think social stigma can be a powerful way to discourage bad behaviour. Just look at MADD’s entire campaign against drunk driving, for example.

However, I do think there is an unnecessarily strong reaction against Fat Positivity. Below I’ve outlined 3 reasons why I think that reaction is unfair.

1) We overlook healthy individuals with large bodies because they don’t fit our cultural beauty standards 

The number one criticism of fat acceptance is that it encourages unhealthy behaviour. However, there are more and more examples that prove body size doesn’t always dictate health. Olympic hammer-thrower Amanda Bingson encountered this type of assumption when she was kicked off her high school volleyball team for not losing weight. Years later and she has been able to prove that a large body is just as capable of amazing things as a small body. It’s been encouraging to see her featured in this year’s ESPN Body Issue, the magazine’s “annual celebration of athletes’ amazing bodies”.

Another large and healthy individual who has come to my attention is yogi Jessamyn Stanley. I try (emphasis on try) to practice yoga every week, and yoga is, for me, one of the few physical activities I’m actually kind of okay at. That’s why I was stunned to see Stanley doing moves I am still far away from accomplishing. It’s clear to me that Stanley has the kind of core strength that most of the slender yogis in my classes still haven’t managed to build.

I cannot do this pose without assistance. I can maybe do a headstand on a good day, but just on my arms like this? No way.

Examples like Bingson and Stanley aren’t meant to prove that all large people are healthy. Instead, they offer a great reminder that size doesn’t necessarily dictate health. While large individuals are sometimes much more healthy than they look, some slim individuals can be much less healthy than they appear. Continue reading

This is how The Office Ends: Not with a Bang, but with a Spinoff

It being a Thursday morning and all, I felt it an appropriate time to wax poetic on the fall [and fall] of NBC’s The Office. It doesn’t take a die-hard fan to realize that the show was on shaky ground once Michael Scott moved to Colorado, and like a newborn giraffe it had to struggle to get to its feet. Unlike a newborn giraffe, however, it was not ready to start running within the first few hours.

The first nail in the coffin came in the form of talks about a Dwight Schrute spinoff in which Rainn Wilson’s character would headline a show set on his bed and breakfast/beet farm. Apparently executive producer Paul Lieberstein and Wilson have been “joking for years” about this concept, and they’ve finally decided to do something with it.

The second sign that the show is on its way out is actress Mindy Kaling [who plays Kelly Kapoor] and her move to Fox to star on her own show. The program would feature Kaling as a “Bridget Jones-type OB/GYN doctor balancing her personal and professional life,” which sounds like yet another title to add to the list of shows revolving around a single woman and her zany existence [See: New Girl, Whitney]. So we have that to look forward to too, I guess.

Reasons we know the show’s coming to a close aside, I suppose the question to ask is why the show fell. It can’t simply be because of Steve Carell leaving, because the writers have demonstrated time and time again that they have a solid cast, with over a dozen well-rounded [funny] familiar characters. What they haven’t always demonstrated is the ability to use them.

Andy Bernard as boss is a great choice, but his having to compete for the spotlight with Robert California is uncomfortable at the best of times. Pam has been gone on maternity leave for weeks now and has a brunette replacement whose name doesn’t come to mind because she has no personality. Angela is still married to the supposedly gay senator, and no one really cares. I could go on, but I think you get my point: the show has stagnated.

While there have been good episodes this season, they’ve been few and far between. My only hope is that this season doesn’t become remembered as the new Scrubs: Interns, the ninth season of an excellent show reviled by both fans and people of good taste alike. “Goodbye, Michael” was a fantastic episode that ended well, and actually the fourth to last of this past season. If things end up the way they have been I’m going to have to consider it start considering it the last of the series.