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Mindy Kaling Makes Impertinent and Incisive Digs at Hollywood

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood November 1, 2011 at 6:29AM

In an interview with NPR, The Office's Mindy Kaling, who writes and produces the TV comedy as well as starring as "perpetual teenager" Kelly Kapoor, displayed her unique and subtle understanding of the absurd logic of American pop culture. Among other brash statements, she hails the art of the diet: "We always think of a diet with a big groan. But I think diets are fun. I think it is an American pastime for a lot of women."
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Thompson on Hollywood

In an interview with NPR, The Office's Mindy Kaling, who writes and produces the TV comedy as well as starring as "perpetual teenager" Kelly Kapoor, displayed her unique and subtle understanding of the absurd logic of American pop culture. Among other brash statements, she hails the art of the diet: "We always think of a diet with a big groan. But I think diets are fun. I think it is an American pastime for a lot of women."

Her honest humor is evident in her book title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Her essays explore various facets of Hollywood, especially its take on women, which she reduced brilliantly in her New Yorker essay "Flick Chicks: A Guide to Women in the Movies."

She writes about her struggles and the rarity of being average in Hollywood. She calls herself "the nebulous 'normal American woman size' that legions of fashion stylists detest." She supposes they hate it “because it shows she lacks the discipline to be an ascetic or the confident, sassy abandon to be a total fatty hedonist. They're like 'pick a lane.'"

She embraces her nebulous place, writing about her awkward childhood and high school years:

"I can't believe how little effort my parents put into making me seem like an appealing little girl. I mean I feel like you hear celebrities, they'll show photos of themselves, and they're like 'I can't believe how unattractive I was.' And when you really were not an attractive little kid, you do want to be like 'Oh no no no, I was the real deal. See this photo.'

The full interview with Renee Montagne on NPR’s Morning Edition is here.

This article is related to: Genres, Hollywood, Video, Women in Film, TV, Media, Career Watch, comedy, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.