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When The Mindy Project began, it functioned as a rom-com, with Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) actively choosing and dating multiple partners (one character, Danny Castellano, was singled out as her soulmate in the pilot).
(After Greta Lee’s turn as Homeless Heidi on High Maintenance, and a presumed-to-be-homeless woman on New Girl, we’re left wondering if this is a new East Asian stereotype.) Dev’s main love interest this season is Rachel, played by Noël Wells, formerly of SNL.Wells is of Hispanic and Tunisian descent, but her character is presented as white.(Dev playfully calls her a “honky” before the couple goes to a honky-tonk bar, and we meet her white grandmother in one of the later episodes.) For a show that so deftly takes on race and how it influences how we see one another, and where every actor’s ethnicity informs his or her character, the decision to not engage with it romantically on any level feels like a missed opportunity.But it’s much easier to list television shows with white/person of color relationships.There’s Troy and Britta (Community), Jay and Gloria (Modern Family), Tom and Helen (The Jeffersons), Angela and Shawn (Boy Meets World), Brad and Jane (Happy Endings), Toni and Todd (Girlfriends), Jasmine and Crosby (Parenthood), Santiago and Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Captain Holt and Kevin (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), to name a few. Many of these shows were conceived with interracial relationships at their center.