Pop culture just wouldn’t be the same without Mindy Kaling’s contributions both in front of and behind the camera. The actor, writer, and producer made a name for herself in 2005 with The Office, simultaneously showcasing her writing and acting talents that would come to define her career.
Kaling is known for her quirky and often chaotic characters as they navigate life and love. While she stars in many of her own projects, Kaling’s not always involved in the writing and production process of her acting roles. Similarly, she doesn’t act in every show she creates, produces, or writes for. It’s all about balance for Kaling. However, she does tend to stick firmly in the comedy genre with her TV and movie projects. Here are five of the best shows with Mindy Kaling involved.
No one had any clue just how vital Greg Daniels’ American version of The Office would become to the pop culture landscape back when it debuted in 2005. Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais’ BBC iteration of the series was certainly popular, but the Steve Carell-led show quickly became one of the most influential sitcoms of our time.
Of course, fans recognize Kaling’s on-screen work as Kelly Kapoor, but she was just as vital, if not more so, behind the scenes. Kaling immediately signed onto the project as a writer and actor. By the end of the series, Kaling had penned nearly three dozen episodes. She also became an executive producer in 2008. So, while fans loved to tune into Kelly’s toxic on-and-off relationship with B. J. Novak’s Ryan Howard, the show wouldn’t be what it is without her work as a writer and producer.
Alongside Kaling and Carell (Michael Scott), the actors were joined by Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly), John Krasinski (Jim Halpert), Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson), Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Oscar Nuñez (Oscar Martinez), and a slate of other talented performers. The 9-season show ran until 2013.
Watch on Peacock
The Mindy Project
It’s a pretty baller move to create a show, name the main character after yourself, and star in the series. In 2012, Kaling created The Mindy Project, a series about OBGYN Mindy Lahiri’s quest to find love and become a better person. While Mindy goes through a slate of immature and ill-suited men, her enemies-to-lovers relationship with her coworker Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) takes center stage.
The show stars a number of comedy staples like Ike Barinholtz (Morgan Tookers), Ed Weeks (Jeremy Reed), Xosha Roquemore (Tamra Webb), Beth Grant (Beverly), and Adam Pallu (Peter Prentice). In 2015, the series got axed by Fox, but Hulu breathed a second life into the sitcom, giving it three more seasons.
However, Messina’s decision to step down as a series regular before season 5 forced the show to take an unfortunate turn in the plot, leading to some pretty sexist storylines when it came to his character. By the end of the show, fans didn’t even know if they wanted a happy ending for Danny and Mindy. Still, The Mindy Project boasts more than a few laughs every episode and stands strong in the sitcom landscape.
Watch on Hulu
The Morning Show
In 2019, Jay Carson and Kerry Ehrin created The Morning Show, a self-explanatory dramedy that follows the lives of a fictionalized, you guessed it, morning show cast. The series boasts a star-studded cast with names like Jennifer Aniston (Alex Levy), Reese Witherspoon (Bradley Jackson), Billy Crudup (Cory Ellison), and Mark Duplass (Chip Black).
Though Kaling’s character Audra has only appeared in five episodes to date, her first episode was the second of the series and she was in the season 3 premiere. Kaling’s peripheral yet impactful character works as an anchor on the rival morning show, Your Day, America. She ranges from supportive competition to poaching rival anchors (for the right reasons).
Watch on Apple TV Plus
Never Have I Ever
Kaling doesn’t star (or even appear) in every series that she creates. Her 2020 show Never Have I Ever showed off Kaling’s affinity for young adult content, and she didn’t need to appear on-screen for the Netflix show to become a hit. Kaling created the series alongside Lang Fisher, penning a story about grief, coming-of-age, mental health, and honoring culture.
The diverse cast includes Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi Vishwakumar), Poorna Jagannathan (Nalini Vishwakumar), Darren Barnet (Paxton Hall-Yoshida), Jaren Lewison (Ben Gross), Kee Rodriguez (Fabiola Torres), and Ramona Young (Eleanor Wong). Of course, tennis icon John McEnroe narrated the show.
Sure, Devi’s love triangle with Ben and Paxton takes center stage for much of the four-season show, but Devi working through the loss of her father, coping with her anger, and her journey to connect with her Indian heritage are far more important plotlines. Meanwhile, finding common ground with her mother proves to be the most important relationship arc we see in the series.
Watch on Netflix
Monsters At Work
Back in 2001, Monsters Inc. cemented itself as one of the most beloved Pixar films of the early aughts. The story hinges on an organization of monsters tasked with scaring kids but quickly receives a mission overhaul that focuses on laughter. While fans got a franchise prequel with Monsters University, Bobs Gannaway gave fans a direct sequel in 2021 with Monsters at Work.
Actors like Billy Crystal (Mike), John Goodman (Sulley), Jennifer Tilly (Celia Mae), and Bob Paterson (Roze) reprise their original roles. Meanwhile, several new characters appear in the Disney+ show. Henry Winkler plays Fritz, Ben Feldman stars as Tylor, and Kaling takes on the role of Val. Fans can expect a second season of the animated show.
Watch on Disney Plus