Mindy Kaling Shares What Lessons She’s Learned From ‘Sex Life of College Girls’ and ‘Never Have I Ever’

·3-min read

Mindy Kaling knows a thing or two about balance. As an actor and producer, she’s juggled multiple jobs for years. On “The Office,” which aired from 2005 to 2013, she not only starred as Kelly Kapoor, but also served as a writer, executive producer and director. In fact, after the comedy, which won five Emmy Awards, she went from staff writer to trailblazer.

So it’s no surprise that she’s performing another juggling act, this time as a creator of two very different series with two very different audiences, while being a mom of two youngsters.

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Never Have I Ever,” created by Kaling and Lang Fisher, is a coming-of-age story focusing on an Indian American high school student. The third season comes to Netflix this summer while the show has already been renewed for the fourth and final season.

Meanwhile, Season 2 of HBO Max’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” which she co-created with Justin Noble, is in production. The 30-minute dramedy follows four freshmen roommates with very different experience levels as they venture through the struggles and hardships of college life.

“It’s been wonderful to see the response to the show,” says Kaling. “I knew it was a juicy and relatable premise, and I was proud of the writing and the performances, but you can never tell how anything is going to be received.”

That said, she knows that she could have benefited from a series such as “Sex Lives of College Girls” when she was that age.

“When I was growing up, the college experience on TV and film was largely confined to this kind of fratty, East Coast, ‘nerds overtaking the jocks’ narrative. It’s been cool to expand the scope of what college can look like, and I think audiences appreciate that.”

There is a personal connection as “Never Have I Ever,” starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, is loosely based on Kaling’s childhood.

Still, it hasn’t been easy to work on both shows at the same time.

Those aren’t her only projects, either. In 2021, Kaling appeared on Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show,” voiced 10 episodes of Disney+’s Pixar series “Monsters at Work” and starred in rom-com heist film “Locked Down.”

Kaling is also co-writing a third “Legally Blonde” film and a Priyanka Chopra Jonas wedding comedy with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-creator Dan Goor.

Plus, she’s executive producing “Velma,” an upcoming adult-oriented “Scooby-Doo” spinoff series at HBO Max, in which she voices the lead character.

Luckily, the mother of two really loves being busy.

“I work on every project every day. I may be writing an episode of ‘Never Have I Ever,’ editing a cut of ‘College Girls,’ approving animation for ‘Velma,’ Zooming with an actor we’re excited to work with and taking a pitch out with [production company] Kaling Intl. That’s what’s so fun about the job.”

Though the messaging is completely different for each project, both “College Girls” and “Never Have I Ever” shine a light on diverse groups in a natural way.

For Kaling, that’s the silver lining.

“I want to make television and film that people can relate to, that entertains them and makes them laugh. That’s the most important thing. If I can introduce audiences to characters and worlds that don’t traditionally get airtime, even better.”

Through the process of working on the two series, Kaling has learned a little about herself: “Writing for young, unapologetic, sex-positive women has shown me that I am more repressed than I could have ever possibly imagined.”

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