Around the Water Cooler: “The Mindy Project” – The Season 2 Premiere (SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Mindy Project” currently airs on network TV, specifically on FOX, Tuesdays at 9:30 PM.

What: “The Mindy Project,” a situation comedy about a thirtysomething, Indian gynecologist, Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), who is looking for love and life fulfillment, despite being a unique personality with a curvy body type and despite the fact that she works in an OB/GYN office filled with other unique personalities (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/mindy_project_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 2 premiere aired on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, on FOX at 9:30 PM.

Where: The show is set in New York City (Manhattan specifically), primarily in the OB/GYN office in which Mindy works.

Why: I think Mindy Kaling (formerly Kelly Kapoor on The Office) is one of the funniest contemporary writer/performers.  She’s got a unique sense of humor and line delivery that makes her somewhat easy to relate to and yet awkwardly off-putting all at the same time, and this quality elicits the laughter, at least for this viewer.  Also, this program seems to be the Bridget Jones equivalent of the 20teens, and since I’m America’s answer to Bridget Jones, I had to check it out.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

The Mindy Project is still finding its footing as a viable sitcom in many ways.  Mindy the character is a scatterbrained, high energy woman with high expectations that define the situations in which she finds herself.  Sometimes those situations are laugh out loud funny; sometimes, they are a bit too cringe-worthy and awkward to be truly funny.  This includes her current relationship with her fiance, “cool minister” Casey.

At the end of the season 1 finale, Mindy chopped off her hair and agreed to go with Casey to Haiti, where he ministered to the local population, but a gall bladder infection resulted in Mindy being flown back to Manhattan for removal of her gall bladder in the season 2 premiere (because it’s necessary for her to be flown all that way?).  Nevertheless, she and Casey decide to speed up their wedding plans – and then they decide not to get married in a rush because Casey wants to go back to Haiti and believes that Mindy belongs in New York.  This whole Casey the “cool minister” was never a story line I bought completely – it all felt too contrived as an obstacle to the real relationship potential between Mindy and Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), which also feels contrived, in the sense that it’s a trope of all romantic comedies, and The Mindy Project truly presents like the Bridget Jones’ Diary of the 2010s.  In some ways, the romcom formula plays well because Mindy the character believes in them wholeheartedly.   Yet, the show is at its funniest when it skewers that formula, thanks to Mindy the show’s head writer.

Still, Mindy and Danny have a certain bickering chemistry that is fun to watch.  In addition, the supporting cast, including handsome Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) and crazy nurse Morgan, are so zany, and the dialogue, supplied primarily by Kaling herself, is so rapid-fire and witty, that The Mindy Project is filled with some laughs.  The hope is that season 2 capitalizes on the moments that are funny, and that Mindy Kaling, as well as Dr. Mindy Lahiri, continue to push the envelope in order to find a stride that works.

 

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Mindy and Casey in a long distance engagement?  Yeah, that’ll work.  How much time will pass before Danny becomes a factor, since his affection for Mindy is really starting to show?

2) Dr. Jeremy getting “fat” feels like a nonsensical story line.  Especially since he still doesn’t look that fat. Frankly, he and his English glibness are too underutilized.  Fix it!

3) James Franco has a recurring guest role as Dr. L, the second, Mindy’s replacement in the practice.  His character is already extremely off-putting in an unfunny way.  I hope it’s over sooner rather than later.

4) Bring back the shady midwives!

5) The collapse of Danny’s short-lived rekindling of his romance with his ex-wife (played by Chloe Sevigny) was really rushed.  Of course, so was most of this romance/engagement/flying off to Haiti/wedding piece.  I hope some light is shed on it all.

PARTING SHOTS

The Mindy Project is a funny show and probably appeals the most to thirtysomething women still finding their footing in the world (of which this author would fall into such a category); yet, it’s also uneven.  It all rests on Mindy (the actress, writer, and character) to steady the ship and keep it sailing straight, or the show has real potential to suffer from a sophomore season slump. Right now, it balances upon the line between funny/absurd to ridiculous/stupid.  Let’s hope it doesn’t teeter off the line onto the wrong side.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Mindy Project was ordered for a full season by FOX as part of the comedy block with New Girl at 9. Time will tell how it all fares.

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