We’re only approaching the fourth episode of this new series and I’m afraid I’m going to have to the leave the party early. I was eagerly awaiting the premiere back when the show was first announced back in May. Then I started to get antsy when the actual hype promos began to roll out. And pairing it with “New Girl” and “Ben and Kate”? Why FOX, why? I think I’ve been clear about my feelings regarding the adorkable trend (which just shows networks still don’t get how to sell audiences on funny women). In case you missed it, I’m very ready for it to go away. Yet, that is not the problem I have with “The Mindy Project”. I’m not sure if it’s the acting or writing (or both), but at this point I’m not a fan of any of the ensemble cast members on the show and I don’t think that was the intention.
Critics everywhere have had their say about the show. I nodded along in agreement with the praise: Kaling’s one of the first Indian-American female TV creators starring in a lead role on a network station, healthy bodies on the small screen, women can be funny, etc. I even chewed on the recent criticism that there might not be as much gender equality in the writers’ room as we all are led to believe. I still wanted to give Mindy a fair shot.
Who didn’t love the evolution of Kaling’s character Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” or tear up at Jim and Pam’s wedding episode for which Kaling received a well-deserved Emmy nomination? But here’s what I finally realized. While the PR campaign and tweets from Kaling herself might have pimped the show as a quirky sitcom like their primetime neighbor “The New Girl” (but only in a hospital), I feel completely let down. Aside from Mindy, I’d say the most tolerable character is her co-worker Danny (played by Chris Messina of JULIE AND JULIA). Maybe it’s because he seems to be the only sane one, often asking why no one in their functioning hospital workplace does any sort of medical work. I could no longer look the other way when in the latest episode one of the receptionists gained a horrible New York accent from out of nowhere and Mindy’s best friend appeared again in a phone call insert scene .
It was a conversation with fellow Indies Unchained blogger, Chris B. that gave me my “Ah-hah!” moment. We were talking how we gravitate towards ensemble comedies. For example, two of our favorite shows are “Happy Endings” and “Community”. Both comedies feature a cast of players who are eccentric beyond belief. Yet they fit into some weird relatable family that you can’t wait to watch each week. I may have my favorite characters on the two shows, but there’s not question that I genuinely like them all.
I know it’s called “The Mindy Project” after all. I was just expecting sort of the same vibe that I got from “Scrubs” or even “The Office”. A balance between showcasing a well-developed central character alongside the equally developed people who populate his or her world. The supporting characters I have seen in the recent episodes of “Mindy” feel like a handful of stereotypical personalities forced together into a time slot. Hopefully they’re still working out each character’s backstory for this first season and things will improve. On paper, Mindy Kaling’s new show shines with potential in the genre of female-driven TV comedies. I’m really pushing for her success and would love to hang with her on Tuesday nights. I just wish she didn’t have to bring all of her friends.
Are you feeling “The Mindy Project”?