Girls & The Mindy Project
As the proud new owner of a ghetto-lookin’ Direct TV dish, I felt compelled to take a day off work last week and familiarize myself with the DVR system and new channel numbers (what do you mean MTV isn’t channel 30?? It’s been channel 30 since I was 13!) After getting the hang of my new remote, I decided to break out Entertainment Weekly’s fall television preview and add all of the new shows from their recommended list, about 20 total. As of today…. I’ve watched two. Yup. Two. It’s incredibly difficult to dive into a slew of new series when you just got HBO on Demand and all 10 episodes of Girls is right at your fingertips. I’ve watched all 10 episodes twice. Yup. Twice.
|As divisive in the TWL camp as the Awards Witch's column.|
|The reason why Kelly Kapoor said "later bitches" in the opening minutes of The Office.|
The first ten minutes of The Mindy Project were unlike anything on network television and immediately had me musing “The Mindy Project is basically Girls for women over 35 … aka my life.” After a particularly hilarious and hitting-too-close to-home scene of Mindy giving a drunken speech at her ex’s wedding, I thought that maybe I had found a show sharp enough to bridge the age gap between myself and Girls. Unfortunately, too many wrong turns and a network muzzle drain the life out of this potentially witty rom-com. Mindy is an awkward, self-absorbed, clueless and potentially-racist character who tries to play it off as “quirky.” Which could work on show starring, say, Zoey Deschanel, but on The Mindy Project the viewer is expected to believe that this loopy, self-destructive, 31 year-old woman is also a respected physician.
|Mindy Kaling, shown shortly after reading her show was basically Girls for women over 35|
|Following in Sarah Jessica's debatably not as cute as her supporting cast footsteps|
The Mindy Project straddles something between Girls and Sex and the City, both of which appeared on cable television. You can see how Mindy is trying to bring something new and edgy to the table (and kudos for being the first U.S. series with a South Asian American lead), but the constraints of network television clip its wings. This show requires raunch. It needs to be raw enough for us to be repulsed (yet amused) by her actions, but instead it counteracts all of Mindy’s flaws by forcing us to buy that she is a great and responsible obstetrician with a heart of gold. Who also happened to have 4 glasses of wine before a delivery.
I’m not buying it, but I’ll invest in one more week.
|The beefcake casting couch. One of the perks of having your own sitcom.|
Mindy is a hot mess of an OBGYN living in New York City who is obsessed with romantic comedies and dreams of meeting her prince charming. She whines to her best friend Gwen (Anna Camp of True Blood) over wine-fueled lunches about how hard it is to balance a successful career and relationship. In the first episode, she meets the “perfect” boyfriend in the “perfect” broken elevator scenario, who eventually leaves her for a younger blond. Her profanity-laden toast at their wedding lands her in jail overnight, before she rushes to the hospital (hungover in a sequin evening gown) to make her rounds. Mindy has two hunky male co-workers, one is a beautiful British bloke who she is having casual sex with (Ed Weeks), and the other is an equally handsome toolbag (Chris Messina) who plays the “will-they-or-won’t-they” antagonist … a la Kate and Sawyer on Lost. When an uninsured woman arrives at her office looking for help, an uncomfortably racist conversation occurs with phrases like, “I thought she had oil money, she was wearing a burka!” and “Please schedule me more white patients.” *Cringe* When it is time for Mindy to go on a dinner date (with The Office’s Ed Helms) she is coached by Dr. Toolbag on what exactly men are looking for in date attire, primarily “Shoes that won’t hurt her feet.” Instead, she shows up for the date stuffed into a too tight Herve Leger dress that she “just threw on” after surgery. Of course, Helms is the perfect potential partner, but in the middle of their awkward blind date, Mindy is called away to the hospital to help the uninsured burka woman give birth. An exchange between Helms and Kaling about first-date sex prospects is hilarious, but an over-the-top music montage of Mindy preparing to go to battle falls flat. We see Mindy wiping off her lipstick and putting on scrubs in slow motion, set to rapper MIA’s “Bad Girls.” Total and utter cheese. The end of the episode finds Mindy right where it started, plopped dejectedly on a couch watching When Harry Met Sally.
Laugh Factor: 7 out of 10
Breakout Star: Chris Messina deftly manages to balance toolbag and charming.
Sex Factor: 2nd base
Who will enjoy it: Single ladies, liberals, fruit flies, winos, and those who have one-night stands.
Who will not enjoy it: Men who watch football, people who like camping, your mom.
Next Week on Marja’s Box … Girls alum Andrew Rannells hits the mark in Ryan Murphy’s fabulous apology for Glee, The New Normal.