In this week's New Yorker, Mindy Kaling - writer for, executive producer of, and actress on the American version of The Office - has a comic essay excerpted from her new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
After describing a bummer pitch meeting for a low-budget romantic comedy with a big Hollywood production company - "Yeah, but we're really trying to focus on movies about board games." - Kaling goes on to defend her love of Hollywood rom-coms, and then sketches out exactly what roles for women exist in the movies she loves.
Among her very funny list of character types - The Skinny Woman Who Is Beautiful and Toned but Also Gluttonous and Disgusting, The Woman Who Works in an Art Gallery, The Klutz - is this recognizable gem:
The Forty-Two-Year-Old Mother of the Thirty-Year-Old Male Lead
If you think about the backstory of a typical mother character in a romantic comedy, you realize this: when "Mom" was an adolescent, the very week she started to menstruate she was impregnated with a baby who would grow up to be the movie's likable brown-haired leading man. I am fascinated by Mom's sordid early life. I would rather see this movie than the one I bought a ticket for.
I am so brainwashed by the young-mom phenomenon that when I saw the poster for "The Proposal" I wondered for a second if the proposal in the movie was Ryan Reynolds' suggesting that he send his mother, Sandra Bullock, to an old-age home.
Check out the entire essay here.
Luckily for Kaling, however, she needn't worry about shoe-horning herself into one of the roles she gently mocks; next year she might be too busy with her own NBC sitcom, which she'll write and star in (a la Tina Fey), to continue her tenure at Dunder-Mifflin, let alone audition for the role of The Sassy Best Friend.