Is Mindy Lahiri The New Liz Lemon?

The Mindy Project, Mindy KalingFOX Broadcasting Co.

“Mindy Lahiri is the new Liz Lemon” is not a phrase we say lightly. After all, they’re very unique ladies, on very different career paths, with very distinct personal and romantic goals.

But even so, there is one thing our two favorite leading ladies share in common: in their own ways, they are each the quintessential everywoman. They both despise exercise (in fact, each tries her hand at a hip hop class, only to leave utterly discouraged), they both love food (just last week, Mindy almost ate a bear claw she dropped in the street, and we’ve all seen Liz shotgun a pizza), and they both struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and love life. While Liz is “working on her night cheese,” Mindy’s busy falling asleep and spilling copious amounts of red wine on herself during viewings of Amélie – in short, they’re women that everyone from reclusive recent grads like myself, to church-going single moms like my aunt can look at and go, “That’s me.”

But Mindy takes the relatable-ness a step further – in addition to being a New York City woman trying desperately to “have it all,” she’s also got a secret weapon: her narcissism. Yes, you might expect that a self-absorbed, at times morally-questionable heroine might act as a huge repellant to viewers. But Mindy is anything but – in fact, her flaws only serve to make her even more relatable. Because if Mindy can proudly proclaim her ignorance (“I’m not dumb. I’m ignorant, sure, very. But I’m not dumb!”) and admit that she cares more about celebrity gossip than she does about the environment, well then, so can I (though to set the record straight, I probably care about celebrity gossip and the environment equally). I’m not endorsing self-centered ignorance, but hey: it’s a side that all but the very best of us have, and it’s nice to see someone who can cop to it while still remaining ultimately likable.

So Dr. Lahiri? Keep doin’ you, and Liz Lemon and the women of the world salute you.