Last night, Mindy Kaling sat down with New Yorker's television critic Emily Nussbaum as part of the New Yorker Festival and talked business and pleasure. And last week's anal-themed episode of The Mindy Project.
In the episode, Mindy's boyfriend Danny tried his hand (tried his penis?) at anal sex—something that came as a surprise to Mindy. Danny claimed that he "slipped," and a good part of the episode was dedicated to figuring out whether or not Danny slipped or did so on purpose (of course he did it on purpose). The episode ended on a pretty positive note, though some have expressed concern about the role of consent. At the New Yorker event, a fan wanted to know Kaling's perspective on the response, asking: "Were you at all surprised by any of the negative reactions that you got from some of your biggest supporters and what is your response to that?" Kaling responded:
I would say this, I think I disagree with you. And I think that Danny is a wonderful character, a wish fulfillment character, and he loves Mindy and they have a relationship that is very understanding with each other, and he tried something because he was trying to see what he could get away with. But I don't think that in that relationship that Mindy's reaction to it was 'I feel violated' it was 'Hey man, run that by me!' I think that, we have to, in knowing what their relationship is, and knowing that the way it was portrayed it wasn't something that made her feel unsafe or degraded…you can love someone and be in a relationship with them when you're both consenting adults and people can try things and you can be like… 'I busted you on that'.
It was not an issue of sexual unsafety. I understand people felt that way and I disagree… In a larger sense, we have this card — this red card — of stirring fear in men about certain things. I was sad about that because I thought, 'Is that a situation where we want to use that card for that?' It bummed me out a little bit. There was no sexual peril in there; it was not a situation where she felt unsafe or was objectified. She just was startled…I was sad about that.
I don't think the "red card" is about stirring fear in men as it is addressing women's sexual safety, but personally, I thought the episode was about exploring the idea of consent in a comfortable relationship.
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