The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project
Tuesday | 9:30 pm | FOX

The Mindy Project was one of my most highly anticipated pilots for 2012. Mindy Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, a OB/GYN who’s great at her job, but not so skilled at finding love. Thankfully, there’s plenty to love here, and only a few minor kinks to work on as the season progresses.

The key selling point is that this is entirely Kaling’s vision: she’s the creator and star of the show. I always wanted more screen time for Kelly on the last couple seasons of The Office, but Kaling was busy writing some of the best episodes. It’s great to see her center stage here. And from the pilot, it’s nice to see that The Mindy Project probably won’t want for quality guest stars either. Kaling has a long list of hilarious pals to call up from her work on The Office and other comedies. The pilot was definitely helped by the presence of Bill Hader as Mindy’s ex-boyfriend and Ed Helms as an attractive first date. The supporting cast isn’t too shabby either. Anna Camp is a particular favorite, and it will be nice to see Chris Messina regularly appearing on my TV screen. And I might have squealed a bit to see Penelope of Gossip Girl (Amanda Setton) pop up as a receptionist.

It’s the romcom love that’s a real selling point for me too. The entire opening segment, featuring clips of When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Notting Hill was a simple and elegant way to set up Mindy’s character and I hope it’s a recurring theme throughout the show. Kaling’s whispering “IT’S HAPPENING” when stumbling into the romcom cliché of being trapped in the elevator with a hunky doctor was one of the best jokes of the episode. (I will be yelling “I’m Sandra Bullooooock” whenever it’s fitting, too.) In many cases this much referential material can be grating, but The Mindy Project manages to make it feel both fresh and relatable.

There were only a few minor things that annoyed me about the pilot. Hearing fat jokes about Kaling, especially when she’s the executive producer was confusing and upsetting. Mindy Kaling is a fairly gorgeous woman, besides being successful and hilarious, and when this show takes off, a role model for young women. Young women that don’t need to hear that a normal-sized person is “chubby” and could “stand to lose 15 pounds.” My other issue is an exhaustion with the “Will They Or Won’t They” business. It’s the one staple of any romcom that I can pretty much do without. Danny (Messina) was the pretty obvious set-up for Mindy’s eventual true love, with an option for a love triangle with FWB Jeremy (Ed Weeks). While this has been done well on many shows, I would prefer to see something, anything else. Hopefully, Kaling will either be clever enough to avoid it or sell me on.

Long Term Prediction:
I will watch every episode of this show, and Tuesdays could definitely outclass Thursdays in the “my favorite comedy block” department.

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