Skipping “The Mindy Project”

Fox’s new The Mindy Project began with good intentions, but that objective was quickly soiled with the typical inappropriate elements that contemporary television programming can’t seem to part with: crude humor, and poor role models who reek of imitatable negative behaviors.

We can only hope young people won’t be gleaning “wisdom” from Mindy this fall. Sadly, the show, premiering Tuesday, September 25th, is already creating a lot of buzz.

The show’s biggest momentum is probably from the popularity of Emmy Award nominated author/actress Mindy Kaling who both writes and stars in NBC’s The Office (Mindy plays Kelly). The Mindy Project is… well… Mindy’s new project where she plays a young woman named Mindy (yes, Mindy is playing a woman named Mindy) who, despite her successful career, is unlucky in her love efforts.

I can’t help but respect the producers’ intent, striving to provide a realistic lead character who young women can actually identify with. In an interview about the show, she confessed, “When I watch movies… I always resonate more with the best friend character than the lead because the lead is always really gorgeous, really thin and I’m like, ‘why are you single?’”

Mindy is excited that the producers are steering from the norm, and casting a more realistic lead. “I get to be the lead of this show,” Mindy declares. “I think it will be nice to the girls that relate to me more than the beautiful blonde.” Mindy is excited to play a lead character who isn’t perfect and anorexic.

So, will this show provide a positive example to young girls today?

Not so fast.

I saw the show on the free programming on United Airlines, something any kid with a set of headphones could have tuned in to. The show was creative and funny, but couldn’t go more than a few minutes without inserting a regular dose of inappropriate humor.

Yes, “inappropriate” is subjective, and parents should be the ones to help their kids learn how to discern what is truly appropriate based on the values they hold. When families screen The Mindy Project, they’ll quickly discover they have to discern the appropriateness of…

  • Mindy praying before her date, asking God for a man with “the penis of Michael Fastbender…”
  • Mindy getting completely plastered at a wedding, and during a toast, bad talking the groom in a drunken rant.
  • Frustrated with her lack of sexual activity, Mindy “hooks up” with a guy from work that she doesn’t even want a relationship with, purely for fun.

And that’s just a glimpse.

Let’s just hope that parents will help their kids identify inappropriate media, recognizing poor role models, course talk, and imitatable behaviors that might be a negative influence, subtle or flagrant.

My guess is, they’ll find The Mindy Project one to skip.

Too bad. This show had real potential.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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