It's Actually A Good Thing That Mindy Will Get Divorced On 'The Mindy Project'

by S. Atkinson
NBC Universal Television Distribution

According to Entertainment Weekly, in the final season, Ben and Mindy will get divorced on The Mindy Project. Of course, the article doesn't tell us if this will happen at the beginning or end of the sixth season or if she'll find someone new. But, if the series does close on Mindy flying solo, this would be the best ending for the show.

The Mindy Kaling-fronted series has functioned on many levels — as a swooning tribute to romantic-comedies, as a critique of the genre, and as a response to it, through its many, many homages to movies like You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. So the possibility of closing the show with its rom-com obsessed protagonist single feels radical and refreshing. Perhaps it feels like a more natural alternative than a happily-ever-after due to the couple we're left with. After Mindy and Danny's volcanic, complicated love, Mindy and Ben felt a little flat. He's sweet and he's kind and he's grounded, but he's on the forgettable side when it comes to the pantheon of the eccentric OB-GYN's lovers.

So, it felt understandable when the episode in which she popped the question ended with Mindy seeming to regret proposing to Ben, gazing out of the window looking less than overjoyed.

But it's not just about this one pairing. It's about television's tendency to force problematic couples together (or back together) for a happily-ever-after, even when those who first wrote the characters are pretty sure they wouldn't work out in real life. Sex and the City columnist Candace Bushnell famously argued that, "in real life, Carrie and Big wouldn't have ended up together," but claimed that the viewers had become too invested in the pairing for the show to end differently.

And that's just one example. Think of all the series that could be loosely categorized as rom-coms that forced together couples that made very little sense for their final seasons. Think about Summer and Seth of The O.C. (together since high school, but grew apart during college) or Ross and Rachel from Friends (if you're a believer, check out the Twitter thread on why Rachel and Joey made more sense as endgame), or Selena and Dan in Gossip Girl. It happens all the time, and The Mindy Project has a true chance to break that unrealistic mold.

If the pair get divorced, and if (and it's a big if) Mindy closes the show as single, it suggests lots of healthy things that Dr. Lahiri has been trying to learn since Season 1. It suggests that a woman doesn't need a partner to be complete; that it's better to be alone than in a couple that doesn't totally work, even if you love that person to pieces; and that she can make her happily ever after happen solo. And, honestly, nothing could be a better lesson for female viewers than that it's not a tragedy for a character to end a series single. It's just an alternative, not better, not worse.