Her endearingly desperate (and mostly failed) attempts at balancing her career and personal life is the root of the majority of the storyline.
Kaling loves delving into the heart of the American workplace—in fact, the Harvard Business Review recently wrote a feature on Kaling and her expertise in chronicling the American workplace, particularly how we all deal with the everlasting struggle on balancing work and life.
In The Mindy Project, the workplace happens to be a doctor’s office, where Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, an obstetrician/gynecologist who offers some ways to be really awful at balancing work and life:
1. Flaunting Your Love Life at the Office
We’re first introduced to Mindy as a bright-eyed—and sometimes delusional—doctor who sees life as a romantic comedy. Since her job soaks up most of her life, the office is a great backdrop for her own “real life” romantic comedy.
After a terrible break up and a cliché drunken toast at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding, she ends up in jail for public intoxication only to blow off an important delivery at work, a huge missed opportunity for Mindy. She loses a little dignity and a patient, all in one night.
2. Saying ‘Yes’ to Everyone at Work
When a pregnant woman without insurance comes to Mindy’s office hoping to be accepted as a patient, Mindy simply can’t turn her away. This is against her better judgement because, as a partner at a private practice, she knows she has been accepting far too many patients without insurance.
Rather than realizing her own misstep, Mindy walks into her office and playfully blames the admin staff for sending her a patient with no health insurance. When asked why she didn’t turn her away, Mindy says, “I am not good at saying no, okay? One time I left a flea market with a Samurai Sword!”
It’s the patient’s son who later interrupts her dinner date with Ed Helms (AKA Andy Bernard from The Office). At first she tries to say no and pass this delivery onto a colleague, but the patient’s son insists that Mindy deliver his mom’s baby, to which she replies, “Do you know how difficult it is for a chubby 31-year-old woman to go on a legit date with a guy who majored in economics at Duke?” Priorities, kid!
After he “pulls on her heart strings,” as she says, Mindy stays true to her pushover self and abandons her date to kick into OB/GYN beast mode and deliver the baby herself. Work: 1, life: 0!