Emily Nussbaum discusses the difference between feeling for a character and rooting for them, and how the latter can be limiting to the way we understand a story.
“’The Mindy Project’ is a sitcom about a woman poisoned by rom-coms, but it offers up its own romantic-comedy pleasures. Female viewers, especially, have been trained to expect certain payoffs from romantic comedies, vicarious in nature: the meet-cute, the soul mate, and, in nearly every case, a ‘Me, too!’ identification. Without ‘Me, too!,’ some folks want a refund.”
In other words, viewers want affirmation, rather than to experience true empathy.