The Mindy Project S4 Ep19 - "Baby Got Backslide."
We got into The Mindy Project when it started on network TV. Mindy Kaling, the creator and star of the show, was in The Office prior. I never really watched The Office, just a few random ones here and there, but everyone talked about it all the time, so I felt familiar with it. However, I didn't really know her from that show. I remember people at the time saying telling me they didn't like her on The Office, and I figured they wouldn't like her show then because I think you needed to like her a bit because there's a lot of her in it. Anyway, I did like The Mindy Project a lot, and I thought the cast around her was really good - a good ensemble comedy.
There had to have been a lot of references to female masturbation and orgasm in that show that I could have SSL Reviewed, but I think at the time I started watching this, I wasn't so stringent about noting every single time I saw an SSL Reviewable moment in shows...or I noted it on a random envelope on my coffee table that eventually made its way to the trash. I have a system now, though. So, by the time that Mindy got cancelled on network TV and made its way as a Hulu original, I was taking notes, and that's why I'm starting on season 4. I will say, sadly, I don't really love the show any more. It had a lot of cast changes and tone changes and really lost its charisma and humor for me, but I still watch from time to time if I just want a quick show.
All that said, here, my friends is an SSL review of S4 E19 - "Baby Got Backslide." As most of you already know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?), and I also look at what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality. A show could be good with a bad SSL review or vice versa, and I really try to keep an SSL review to the SSL reviewable scenes, but if I feel like it, I can talk about anything I want to - because it's my blog.
You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).
This is one of my easiest SSL Reviews in a long time. I love that there is this show and the main character in it speaks about masturbating with such ease. She has no shame in the fact that she masturbates. I mean the joke here is not based on how wierd or funny it is that she masturbates. It's about the fact that she doesn't get exercise above and beyond what exercise rubbing off might give her and that she is indignant that her exercise counter won't accept it as exercise.
First off, obviously, I'm all for any normalization of masturbation - male or female. There's still too much stigma around jerking it. However, males are way further along on this normalization thing than women. We have a lot of ground to make up. Jokes about and depictions of men masturbating are pretty dang common. The jokes are often not about that men masturbate. That part is an obvious truth by now. That frees the comedy around it to be more about how they do it or how their masturbation fits in with other parts of life - like that the guy in American Pie masturbated by fucking a warm pie his mother made and his dad catches him in the act. It's how he did it, not that he did it.
For females, we're still not quite there yet. It's out there for sure. There's definitely comedians and jokes out there speaking on it, but they're kinda cutting edge because of just that (think Amy Schumer and Broad City). It's still so wierd and new that the simple fact a woman might masturbate is in and of itself something to bring about uncomfortable chuckles (think the sex crazed lady that scared all the guys in The 40 Year Old Virgin).
Anyway, Mindy owned her masturbation so much she used it in a joke that took for granted that, of course, she absolutely would orgasm. I also love that she spoke that to a person she has had sex with. Her ex-lover clearly knew and didn't worry that she masturbated, which means that neither of them see her need to masturbate as somehow contrary to a sensible sex life. And that, I think is important. There is a feeling in our culture that a woman should be fully satisfied sexually through sex with a man, that women need an emotional connection to really enjoy sex, and that just getting an orgasm for orgasm sake (as happens in masturbation) is not really that interesting to women. This simple joke breaks down all those stereotypes about female sexuality and female masturbation. And that's important, because if women are ever going to really reach orgasm equality, we need to figure out for ourselves what we physically need to orgasm. Then both we ladies and our sexual partners are going to have to get used to the idea that those things that make us orgasm by ourselves need to be fully and consistently incorporated into our parnered sex (spoiler alert: It's gonna include outer clitoral/vulva stimulation - and just ramming the vagina ain't gonna cut it)
So, obviously, I think this is a progressive step towards orgasm equality. Discussion of female masturbation that assumes women do masturbate and speaks about it without shame or making it seem exotic is exactly what we need. For this, I give this episode 4 1/2 vulvas (This is somewhat progressive, but I would have needed just a bit more progressiveness to give it the the final 1/2 vulva).