I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday than meeting friends for brunch, eating my weight in poached eggs and butter croissants, then heading home to put on the largest, rattiest sweat pants I own and settling in on the couch for an afternoon TV marathon.
This Saturday I did just that. Somehow I managed to be out of the house most nights last week and so had a stocked PVR at home waiting for me..AKA: my idea of
a boyfriend heaven.
Besides spending four hours of my life I’ll never get back watching Kris Jenner stalk Angie Everheart on Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Britney Spears diss X-Factor contestants while hopped up on bath salts, I also caught the premiere of Mindy Kaling’s new show, The Mindy Project.
I loved Mindy as Kelly Kapoor on The Office and think she’s a hilarious writer, so I thought this show could have potential.
In the show, Mindy plays a moderately overweight, 31-year-old OB/GYN who was recently dumped by her oral surgeon boyfriend and is having a tough time getting over it; as evidenced by the opening scene where she makes a drunken, inappropriate speech at his wedding, then proceeds to gets arrested for public intoxication after driving a bike into a nearby pool.
It becomes immediately clear that Mindy is a bit of a tragic case: She’s awkward, overweight, anxious and wears her heart (and neuroses) on her sleeve. She’s obsessed with romantic comedies. She google stalks potential suitors. She makes cringe-worthy comments on dates. But while it can sometimes be hard to watch, it also sort of makes you love her a little bit.
I’ve been noticing this trend for a while now- from Zooey Dechanel as Jess, the adorkable elementary school teacher who makes macaroni art and is physically incapable of saying the word “penis” in The New Girl:
……to Lena Dunham as the neurotic, unemployed writer Hannah in HBO’s Girls,
to April, the deadpan, underachieving animal lover played by Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Recreation-
the fact is, that quirky is hot right now.
Saturday Night Live picked up on this last season when they did a sketch called “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Dechanel“, where Zooey (played by former SNL cast member Abby Elliot) hosted a talk show and invited fellow quirky guests such as Mary Kate Olsen, Bjork and Drew Barrymore to knit and make weird art projects with her while Michael Cera stood giggling in the background.
I suppose the idea of a neurotic leading lady isn’t really all that new- just a new iteration of an old trend. As pointed out by this article, the quirky girl has been around since the days of Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore. Plus, the quirky, manic pixie dream girl has always been popular in indie films- from Diane Keaton as Annie Hall to Natalie Portman in Garden State. But recently, with women like Tina Fey blazing the trail on 30 Rock, the quirky girl has achieved more mainstream success.
Today’s women of TV are being lauded not for their physical, shall we say, assets, tight clothing and signature haircuts, but for their own particular brands of neuroses.
But is that necessarily a good thing? If you were to believe everything you saw on tv these days, you might think that all women are awkward, moderately virginal introverts who can’t carry on a normal conversation, let alone get a date, and spend every Friday night at home with their cats watching Meg Ryan Films and planning their imaginary weddings on Pinterest.
And maybe that’s not so far off. This blog certainly doesn’t seem to suggest otherwise. I can’t say for sure, but I do know that it is damn funny to watch… so Pinterest on, ladies. Pinterest on.