Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: The Mindy Project 1x01, "Pilot"

I love Mindy Kaling. I find Kelly Kapoor, her character on The Office, to be hilarious. I particularly enjoyed Kelly's music career. I read both of Mindy Kaling's blogs, The Concerns of Mindy Kaling and Things I've Bought That I Love. I check her Twitter fairly often. Most of all, I loved her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

All of this is to say that it was pretty much a given that I'd be watching her new show The Mindy Project. When I saw that the pilot had been released early on Hulu, I was really excited, and of course, watched it instantly.

Given how much I like Mindy Kaling, I'd pretty much committed myself watching The Mindy Project before even watching the pilot. It could have been completely wretched, and I'd still probably watch a minimum of half a season. Thankfully, it is far from wretched. However, it is also fairly far from perfect.

One of The Mindy Project pilot's weaknesses is that it doesn't offer much new. It focuses heavily on rom-com cliches and fails to add a fresh twist to them. I particularly didn't care for Mindy's drunken wedding speech. The whole scene feels particularly tired and a bit lazy. Rom-com cliches can be fun, but I'm hoping that The Mindy Project will eventually find a way to help its use of them to feel a bit fresher.

I enjoyed Mindy Kaling's character, but I'm a bit iffy on some of the supporting characters. Anna Camp who plays her sister friend Gwen doesn't have a lot to do in the pilot but does well with what she is given, and I enjoyed the appearances by Bill Hader and Ed Helms. Everyone else is either bland or unlikable. The two main love interests are particularly disappointing. It took me a while to tell them apart, and when I finally did, it was mostly because of Jeremy's accent. Mindy's British-accented fling Jeremy is like a watered down, doctor version of Russell Brand. The show is presumably setting up Danny as Mindy's hate-turns-to-love romantic interest; he has the hate part down pat, but I'm curious how convincing the love part will be because Danny isn't very likable.

After all of that criticism, you might be starting to think that I hated The Mindy Project, but I actually did enjoy it. I'm a sucker for Mindy Kaling's brand of comedy: cute, girly, slightly shallow, and a little immature. The Mindy Project reflects all of these concepts. Most of the pilot's references, ranging from Downton Abbey to Sandra Bullock, are right up my alley. The pilot had plenty of fun lines, although none really stick out in my mind. Most of all, I thought it was a really likable show; I want it to succeed.

So yes, The Mindy Project's pilot is a little rough, but I strongly believe that it's going to find its voice.  Mindy Kaling's brand of humor isn't for everyone, but if you're a fan of hers, I suggest you give The Mindy Project a shot. I know I'll be sticking with it for a while

If you want to check out The Mindy Project, you can watch the pilot now on Hulu or wait to watch its television premiere Tuesday, September 25 at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.

Have you seen The Mindy Project yet? Did it live up to your expectations? How do you feel about the romantic interests? Do you plan to keep watching? Let me know in the comments.

Edit 11/21: I'm not sure why I assumed Mindy and Gwen were sisters, but apparently that's not the case. I've corrected my mistake above. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100% with your assessment. Like you, I adore Kaling. I even interviewed her once. She's great. I love her books, her twitter, all of it. But I watched the pilot and I was like... HM. It fell a little short!

    I am SO glad someone else wrote this, because I was feeling really badly that I was wanting more from the show.

    I'll continue to watch, of course, but I really had higher hopes. Maybe it'll get better, though.

    P.S. I want you to follow me on Twitter so I can DM you. @ThisJessicaRae