Fox’s highly anticipated new comedy, “The Mindy Project,” delivers with its series premiere; top-notch writing paired with comedy veteran Mindy Kaling in the starring role proves to be a winning combination. Not only is the writing clever and relatable, but audiences are also sure to find Kaling charming, making “The Mindy Project” a likely hit.
In the series premiere, Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, a 31-year-old obstetrics and gynaecology doctor who doesn’t quite have her life together. The show begins with Kaling describing her love of romantic comedies and her desire for her life to become one. It’s a dream shared by many young women, and immediately establishes Kaling as an every-girl heroine.
However, what makes the scene memorable is when the audience realizes that she is telling this to a police officer while explaining a series of drunken escapades following her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.
The rest of the episode properly establishes that Mindy has issues in every aspect of her life, and she is very much a work in progress — making the show’s title rather apt.
Also introduced in this episode are Mindy’s best friend Gwen (Anna Camp), her smug co-worker Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), and sexy British doctor Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks). While the story appears to be setting Danny and Mindy up for a will they or won’t they relationship, the show is too smart to make that overtly obvious. Discussing appropriate date outfits for women, the two end up having a biting conversation that goes beyond playful banter, making the audience question whether the two are compatible at all.
During her first actual date in a long time, Mindy is interrupted by her job and her perfect evening turns into a panicked scramble. Kaling’s character is deeply flawed, which in another show might prove fatal, but this one handles it properly. Mindy’s flaws work to her advantage and are, in fact, part of her appeal. They make her a fully rounded character and someone you want to watch develop.
Kaling is often compared to Tina Fey for her writing and acting double-threat, and now it seems fair to say Kaling holds her own against the reigning queen of comedy. This is the time of the female-driven TV comedy, From “Saturday Night Live” veteran Amy Poehler in “Parks and Recreation” to Lena Dunham in “Girls,” women are proving that comedy is no boys club. “The Mindy Project” deserves to stand proudly with those great shows and Kaling’s biggest achievement in the pilot is doing women in comedy justice. Mindy may get relationships all wrong but, like her show, she has plenty of wit and heart.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 25 print edition. Keerthi Harishankar is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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