Mindy Kaling wants CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta to know that her love for him is genuine. And that goes for his entire “Never Have I Ever” family, too.
The Netflix series co-creator and ‘Office’ star sent love to the famed neurosurgeon after telling his CNN co-hosts he wasn’t sure if the show was making fun of him or flattered him with a goofy reference in the new season.
In the fourth episode of Season 3, Gupta’s likeness makes an appearance at a party celebrating the Hindu festival Navratri. Protagonist Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a teenage girl from the San Fernando Valley, compliments her grandmother’s golu display which has been adorned with a “DIY Sanjay Gupta” – a figurine bearing the doctor’s face – which Grandma (Ranjita Chakravarty) describes with “hubba hubba” and as “too sexy”.
The Gupta scene did it unexpectedly on the cable news channel on Wednesday, when CNN’s “New Day” co-anchor Brianna Keilar introduced him and told Gupta she was thrilled to see him referenced on one of her favorite Netflix shows.
“The standard for idols on this show is high, Sanjay, and you’ve reached it,” she said.
“At this point in life — I have three teenage girls — I don’t know when I’m being laughed at or flattered, but I guess that just comes with the territory,” Gupta said.
But he quickly steered the conversation away from his looks and praised Kaling’s show for its far-reaching impact.
“I will say that watching this clip as an American Indian – and seeing the mother with the deities installed – I never imagined in my life that I would see it portrayed this way on a Netflix show and Brianna Keilar is watching this show . It’s amazing to me just to see that. But mocked or flattered? I do not know. I do not know which.
Although Kaling didn’t write the episode “…made someone jealous” herself (longtime collaborator Akshara Sekar did), the “Mindy Project” and “Late Night took to Instagram on Thursday to clarify that the series was most definitely aimed at flattering the medical expert.
“Dear @drsanjaygupta,” she wrote while reposting the clip, “Let’s be clear: we’re all obsessed with you. You’re the golu star, baby! Love your family @neverhaveiever. PS. We hope your daughters love the show!
Commenters flooded Kaling’s post with “this is amazing” and missives saying “the doc was hot.”
“Never Have I Ever” star Poorna Jagannathan, who plays Devi’s mom, also chimed in with “Haaaaa!!!! We’re doing stunts with @drsanjaygupta,” picking up a line of dialogue from the episode.
The medical correspondent’s idol status was also noticed by Darren Barnet, who plays one of Devi’s love interests on the show, Paxton Hall-Yoshida.
“More competition? @jarenlewison we are doomed!! 😩,” he wrote, tagging co-star Jaren Lewison, who plays another of Devi’s flames, Ben Gross.
The comedy, which will end with its fourth and final season in 2023, has held on to the top spot of Netflix’s top TV shows in the US rankings since its release last Friday.
On Tuesday, Variety reported that ‘Never Have I Ever’ season 3 landed second place among the streamer’s most-watched programs (just behind ‘The Sandman’) and had been watched for 55 million hours after three days. of availability.