We all love Tina Fey, don’t get me wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice to have more than one path set for women writing comedy? She has really has set a new standard for what it means to be a female comedy writer and I’m sure it’s hard to be developing new work under that shadow. Enter: Mindy Kaling.
Mindy Kaling, who we all know as Kelly Kapoor from The Office, is also the show’s co-writer and producer. With The Office now in its seventh season, Kaling has begun work on a new series. And a feature film. And a book. Phew!
What makes Kaling different from other female comedy writers in the mainstream is that what she is really working on is to write romantic comedies in a more realistic way, for her generation. We’re not talking cutesy-indie-completely-reinvent-the-genre romantic comedies. She just wants to create something… more like her. “I’ve led kind of an interesting life, and I drink and party and I am funny and have a good group of friends. And I wonder, why isn’t that on TV or in the movies?”
Even in The Office, she adds sentimentality and an inner life to the characters. She doesn’t treat them as vessels for jokes or completely satirized people. She finds a way to insert “real emotions without clichés” into the hilariously dry humor the show is so well known for. The show may very well be on its last season; Kaling’s contract is up this year along with Steve Carell’s, but we haven’t heard the last from Mindy Kaling.
In her big-screen writing debut, Kaling is working hard to do away with the boundaries between men and women in romantic comedies. The Low Self Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, which is currently still in preproduction, focuses mostly on the interactions between three female friends. Kaling wants to write movies where girls actually talk the way they do in real life. No more dumb conversations or klutzy-yet-beautiful women.
What makes Mindy Kaling different from Tina Fey is that she is more of a funny writer than a comedy writer. She just wants to represent her life on screen and if it’s funny, so be it. “Anytime I play a role, it will just be a version of myself… Woody Allen is really the ultimate [role model]. I love that he believed in himself enough to do what he did. And I have that same feeling—that there’s nobody that looks like me in movies, nobody would cast me as a romantic lead, but I want to do it and I feel confident that I can.”
All quotes were taken from the New York Magazine article here.