THE MINDY PROJECT
Tuesdays 9:30 EST, Fox
Premieres September 25th
OBGYN resident and lover of rom-coms, Mindy Lahiri, finds that she needs to turn her life around. After all, when a meet-cute in an elevator inevitably leads to her drunkenly riding her bicycle into a swimming pool and being arrested for disorderly conduct after embarrassing herself at her ex’s wedding, something must be wrong. The only thing that really seems to be going for her is her job, where she takes on too many uninsured patients and must guard the few she has from patient-stealing Danny Castellano, a fellow resident who she will most likely end up dating despite/because of the seeming clash in their personalities. The wedding serves as a wake-up call that challenges Mindy to take charge of her personal and professional lives. Of course, this may be derailed if she cannot resist the temptation of attractive colleague Jeremy Reed, a sex addict with no intention of ever setting down who sees no problem with having sex at work.
Familiar faces: Written by, produced by, and starring Mindy Kaling, best known for her acting and writing on NBC’s The Office. The pilot also features her Office co-star Ed Helms. Her best friend is played by Anna Camp, who has had smaller roles on shows like True Blood and Mad Men. Her fellow resident, Chris Messina, has been in shows such as Damages, The Newsroom, and Six Feet Under. And fans of Glee may recognize Stephen Tobolowsky, AKA displaced Glee club leader Sandy Ryerson.
This Reminds Me: Of a more romantically inclined Scrubs or a comedic Grey’s Anatomy. Already in the pilot we have inappropriate work sex (kind of), so there could very well be more of that. And the Grey’s comparison also holds when you consider the voiceover that starts the show to give you all the necessary background information (although it is unclear whether or not that will be standard for each episode).
Other Aspects to Consider: Not all of the jokes hit home with me. In particular, the moment where Mindy falls into a pool and starts having a drunken conversation with a Barbie doll stuck at the bottom, and the doll one-ups her by having a steady boyfriend. Of course, you can’t expect to laugh at everything a show tries, right? Just do not watch this show expecting that the hospital where Mindy works will turn into The Office.
Generally speaking, if you like rom-coms, you will like this show. Mindy is a flawed but likeable character that you will end up rooting for. And lovers of rom-coms will also enjoy the constant references to favorites such as While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, and About a Boy to name a few. This means that viewers not familiar with the recent history of romantic movies might find themselves lost, but if you have general knowledge of the appeal of actresses such as Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock, you should be okay.
Remaining Questions: Will there be any spotlight on other parts of Mindy’s life? There are really only so many bad dates you can go on before it stops being funny (at least, in a row). I am curious to see if we will meet the family that must have seen her watching all of these romantic comedies.
The verdict: DVR. I have always loved Mindy Kaling’s character Kelly Kapoor on The Office, and this more toned down version of a girl obsessed with the idea of love is even more likable and, I hope, more identifiable. The show is pretty predictable thus far, and does not appear to be breaking any new ground in the television world, but that could make it more enjoyable in the long run.
Interesting note: Both FOX pilots premiering tonight involve unexpectedly ending up in a swimming pool. Coincidence? I think not. Clearly pools are the epitome of funny. Maybe.