The Mindy Project, the new show created by and starring The Office's best one-lining customer service rep Mindy Kaling, premiered last night on Fox. The show has gotten a ridiculous amount of hype and is being touted as the next big sitcom. It only helps that funny ladies have been taking over television and film in the past year or so and that Kaling comes with a built-in fan club.
The Mindy Project focuses on Mindy, a gynecologist, who's got more issues than one of those moms who don't know they are pregnant and have a baby in the toilet. The episode unravels in voice over, not the most interesting way to give exposition, but we'll give it a pass. Kaling describes how she has been in love with love for her entire life, dating back to the first time she watched When Harry Met Sally. What woman out there can't relate?
But Kaling is unlucky in love. Her last serious relationship was with Bill Hader and it ended in disaster; he dumped her for a funky-toothed bagel girl and the episode opens with Kaling explaining to a police officer why she was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. She drank way to much at her Hader's wedding to the bagel girl, wound up biking into a pool and arguing with a Barbie doll. The conversation between Kaling and the Barbie was quite hilarious, especially when the Barbie reminds Kaling that even she has a boyfriend.
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After being bailed out by her BFF, Kaling is called into the hospital for an emergency delivery. It is here that we learn about her co-worker/rival Danny (Chris Messina). Danny is a macho doctor who thinks very highly of himself and loves to torture Mindy; obviously they are meant for each other.
But Mindy has issues; a point the show keeps slapping us in the face with. Kaling winds up on a date with Ed Helms, who almost seems perfect for her. But she is called into a delivery and has to abruptly run off. Apparently having to leave a date to deliver a baby means "blowing" a date, although this seemed a bit of a stretch.
The episode closes with Kaling and Danny bonding over her successful delivery and joking around together, which felt like a pretty quick turn in character development for only the first episode. How can they build on the "will they wont they" if we already know that they will?
Overall, this was a pleasant premiere. It had a lot of great one liners, it's a clever set-up and Kaling is absolutely engaging and lovely to watch. By no means was this a perfect opener, but it was a good start. There is a lot of room to explore the miseries of the single life, especially when they are funny. If Sex and The City taught us anything, it's that bad dates make good fodder for comedy. As long as Kaling doesn't fall into too many clichés, this show has a lot of potential.