The latest episode of Hulu’s The Mindy Project has seriously divided viewers after they watched the show’s title character spend the day living as a white male.
Created by and starring comedian and actress Mindy Kaling, the rom/sitcom is set in New York City and follows obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy Lahiri as she tried to balance her personal and professional life.
In Season five, Episode 12 titled Mindy Lahiri Is a White Man, Indian-American Mindy goes for a job interview for the role of head of the obstetrics department at the hospital.
She fails to get a second round interview from the all-white panel, after being posed questions including “Will you be able to keep your emotions in check and think logically?”.
Image: The Mindy Project/Hulu
Frustrated, she goes to bed wishing she was a white man. The next day, she wakes up as (you guessed it) a white, privileged man called Michael Lancaster.
Instead of a single mum, he/she's a "divorced baby daddy". It takes him three minutes to get dressed and groomed, everyone thinks he's funny, he gets every cab he hails - and unlike Mindy, he's been granted a second-round interview for the job.
And questions about juggling parenthood? Non-existent. In fact, in one scene Michael wonders to himself why he doesn't get asked about his leadership skills.
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"I can tell you’re a good leader just by looking at you," he's told.
Rather than going into touchy territory of Kaling dressing up as a white male, the show is smart, with actor Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) playing the privileged other-universe Mindy.
The aim is to make a loud point about sexism and racism which it does cleverly, presenting some harrowing reminders about the world that we're currently living in.
It's even more powerful given it was pitched and filmed well before the election, when many believed Hilary Clinton was a shoo-in.
"It has a whole new meaning now. I felt much more passionate about this episode than I think I would have a year before," Lang Fisher, series supervising producer and the episode's writer told The Hollywood Reporter.
It's a move that has largely been lauded by critics, with Vulture's TV writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong giving the episode five stars.
But not all viewers were impressed.
"Just want you know, you lost a viewer....," wrote one fan on Facebook.
"Hated this episode. This show is just getting so strange lately...not at all what it was in the beginning," added another.
However there were plenty more who were vocal about applauding the show's off-the-wall take.
"Well done on "Mindy Lahiri is a White Man"!!! It made me think and laugh! My kind of comedy," wrote one commenter, while another said, "This episode made my heart warm. It means so much to be understood and represented in media. Thank you Mindy Kaling, you're making a difference."
While Michael-as-Mindy does her best to help a fellow female doctor overlooked for the job (who even did a C-section for Michael as he was too drunk and hungover from a one night stand following a lads' night out) based on her gender, the episode shows Mindy (and as a result us) just how ingrained and pervasive these attitudes are.
"Your life is so carefree, you start wondering why other people don’t just help themselves. Because you think life is just as easy for everyone else," she realises.
And who said TV wasn't thought-provoking?