Welcome to Queer Fudanshi! It’s Monday again and that means I’m here to talk to you about a random topic that I feel like rambling about. Today’s topic is a Character Study of The Mindy Project’s Colette Kimball-Kinney… oh and Jean Fishman too I guess….
Now to start, I have to explain what a QF character study is and why I write them (as this is the first one). The point of Queer Fudanshi is to make media with LGBT themes/character more accessible to deserving fans. So far I do this by reviewing media to let you know they exist, and then try to give you links to where you can buy/read/watch said media.
The problem is what if certain media have LGBT characters that aren’t the main focus or even the sub-focus of the medium. For example, I will probably NEVER review the entire Game of Thrones. While the show has several Queer characters, including a new one that was revealed this past Sunday, most of these characters are not worth reviewing an entire series for them.
(Spoilers ahead, so if you are not up to date on Game of Thrones skip to the next paragraph) Ramsey Baratheon was made a laughing-stock and was murdered, Olyvar was a backstabbing prostitute, Oberyn Martell was killed for being too confident and for shock factor, and Loras Tyrell is currently imprisoned for being gay. While this show may get it’s own Character Study in the future, I wouldn’t bother wasting years posting separate reviews for each episode and each season.
So getting back to the main point of this post, I’m going to talk about the Queer characters in the show The Mindy Project, because honestly they’re not given enough air time to be worth reviewing the whole show.
Now who are Jean Fishman and Colette Kimball-Kinney? Colette is a new regular on the show, as of its fourth season, and is acted by Fortune Feimster. Colette is the a nurse at the OB/GYN clinic that the titular character Mindy works at. Don’t get me wrong, she seems like a great character. It’s the type of thing where you meet someone and you’re like, “hey, they seem like a cool person,” but you don’t really know them enough to say for sure.
The problem with Colette Kimball-Kinney is the problem with The Mindy Project overall. She get’s so little air-time! Generally what we know about her is she’s from the South, she’s a lesbian, she has a brother who adores her (almost to a complex), she’s a nurse, and she’s roommates with Morgan. That’s it. She’s basically just a third tier character used for occasional laughs.
Now, who is Jean Fishman (played my Niecy Nash)? Honestly, I had forgotten that this character existed until I was writing this post. When I was looking up info for Colette I came across images of Dr. Fishman. While Colette Kimball-Kinney is a regular on the show, Jean Fishman was just a 3 or so episode character. Ultimately, Fishman’s purpose was for the cliche of a lesbian falling for a straight girl and then once that story-line was over she was just “the boss.” Then she just disappeared.
As I said earlier, the thing that’s wrong with Colette Kimball-Kinney and Dr. Jean Fishman is the same thing that’s wrong with the show overall. The show is just about Mindy. While yes, the show is called the Mindy Project and yes Mindy is the main character, there are several times the show goes too far in focusing on Kaling and her character.
As an example, there are actual scenes where characters will be talking about their own lives and as soon as Mindy walks in they all turn to focus on her. While yes, this was the joke of the scene, it’s a joke because it’s pointing out a very obvious problem with the show. The story revolves around Mindy, her narcissism, and whatever character she’s currently focused. All other characters have to deal with leftovers.
Several characters, including Fishman, have been written off because Mindy and the writers no longer cared for them. This includes two employees, three best friends, one boss and several boyfriends. In addition, characters who remain are often fighting for screen-time and lines in which the minutes and sentences add up to single digits.
Dr. Jean Fishman seemed like competent boss and a nice woman who was just figuring out her sexuality, and Colette Kimball-Kinney is a down-to-earth woman who’s branching out into her single life in NYC. Sadly, most of that is lost in a show that focuses too heavily on what’s going on with it’s main character.
While I have enjoyed the show since it’s pilot, I see this problem of Mindy’s narcissism as a permanent detriment to the show. For those fans who are looking for representation, if that representation isn’t Mindy Kaling you better look elsewhere.