28
Sep
2012
The Mindy Project:Season 1, Episode 1
Pilot
Gaila
So. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must admit that I am insanely obsessed with Mindy Kaling. I devoured her book, I read all of her old blog entries, I stalk her twitter. I'm obsessed. So there is definitely a significant amount of bias in terms of my reviewing her show. Which is probably why, though I wasn't super impressed with the pilot of her new show, The Mindy Project, I am chalking almost all of my complaints up to pilot problems, and not show problems.

The show begins with a trip down sad, humiliating memory lane, so we can understand where Mindy is at this point in her life. She's obsessed with romantic comedies, she's recently been dumped by her own romantic comedy lead (in favor of a younger, blonder European model), and she's a moderately successful gynecologist. In the first few minutes, we are privy to a truly awful moment of public embarrassment (something I feel Mindy, from her work on The Office, is particularly adept at), an excellent drunken hot-mess montage, and what I assume is meant to be her rock bottom moment: an arrest. From there, we travel to Mindy's office, where we are introduced to her merry band of co-workers: bland sycophantic office girls, absent-minded older doctor guy, hot British dude (with whom Mindy apparently has some sexytime history) and grumpy Bruce Springsteen fan doctor (whose sexual tension-filled back and forth with Mindy implies some potential making out later). Honestly, I felt the office stuff was a little clunky. I understand the difficulties in trying to convey a sense of real, obvious, longstanding community in pilots, so it makes sense that this scene would be a little awkward.

Mindy then goes on a date with Ed Helms and attempts to be normal. It's a funny scene, and definitely fits into the romantic comedy niche the show describes itself as. It was a little silly, and demonstrated one of my major problems with the first half of the episode. I don't like the shallow, kind of mean, relationship-obsessed characterization of Mindy. I understand that those things are part of her, but I don't want them to be the whole focus. Mindy Kaling represents something really important to me. She's a brand-new kind of heroine for network tv, someone likeable and relatable and real in a way that the vast majority of female television stars are not. I know it's a lot to project onto one person, but I think Mindy Kaling is amazing and I think she is more than capable of creating and embodying this new kind of female character. So I don't like when she is relegated to silly, awkward, superficial girl.

The awkwardness of the first office scene, and then the weirdness of the date with Helms are definitely overcome later in the episode, when Mindy rushes from her date to the emergency room to deliver the baby of a patient whose monetary status made her at first hesitant to help. The show really comes into its own at this point, as Mindy displays a competency and self-confidence completely absent in the first half of the episode. She's good at her job, and she likes it, and she remarks upon the potential and progress of her life in an admittedly adorable scene with grumpy Springsteen guy towards the end of the episode. This scene proved to me that this show is going to be awesome. Mindy is just like me and so many other girls I know, and I absolutely love that. She's silly sometimes and worries about dumb stuff but she knows she's smart and competent and that her life is awesome. And I personally cannot wait to see more of it.

Grade: B

Strays:

-I will be attempting to cover The Mindy Project on a week to week basis, but no one should be surprised if that occasionally doesn't come through.

-Can I just say how wonderful it is to see a not-skinny brown girl be the lead of a show?? I am so happy.

-"I'm basically Sandra Bullock."

-SO MANY SPARKLES I LOVE IT

-"I think that he is Hugh Grant in real life."

-"Don't just repeat it and expect me to understand what you're saying."

-"This is working. This is progress." I love her so much.

-Also, I am so happy she gets to make out with that hot British dude. I'm just sayin.
Tags: The Mindy Project
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