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Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Comedy - The Mindy Project, pilot review

NoHoDamon [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This pilot is on hulu nearly a month early, so you can check it out. Going into this, we had high hopes. Not only were Mindy’s episode of The Office comedy gold, her book was funny, and she wrote and performed a hit stage play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. With two women playing those actors. We thought, “If she can make that work, she can do anything.” We were anxious to see what she would do with her own TV show. 

Mindy plays Mindy, an OB/GYN who is unlucky in love. Her boyfriend left to marry someone younger. At his wedding, Mindy gets drunk, gives an embarrassing toast, and then rides away on her bike. She crashes her bike into a pool, trying to take a shortcut. Er…we’ve all been there? This gets her arrested. Mindy is bailed out by her friend, Gwen, who reminds Mindy that her life is not a romantic comedy. Mindy then hangs out with her male coworkers, deals with potential patients, and goes on a date. Bill Hader and Ed Helms guest star.

The show has potential. Comedy pilots are usually weird and shows require time to get a good tone. This one plays like a romantic comedy, and we think that’s intentional. It reminds us of Bridget Jones' Diary. But there is something about the tone and show that doesn’t work. There’s something that feels forced and icky. Maybe it’s that it’s almost demeaning to Mindy, mildly anti-feminist, and possibly stressful for single women who don’t look perfect. It’s like she thinks of herself as a heartless piece of meat, and so does everyone else. The show needs to not be so mean to Mindy. It needs to love her so that we can. 

Also, it feels like a show that would have been great fifteen years ago. Is this still where women are and what they find funny? We know Mindy loves romantic comedies, but she needs to keep her character from becoming a cliche, clumsy, and successful woman like in all those movies. She needs to keep that dark streak she's got going, and only take what WORKS in rom-coms, not what annoys us and makes everyone hate women. Whatever weirdness we are sensing will hopefully get worked out in later weeks, because there were clever moments.

For a doctor, Mindy isn’t very pulled together, plus there are the chubby jokes. A few of the jokes worked, like the Downton Abbey and Elton John ones, as well as her date prayer. We dream of the personality of Jon Stewart and the penis face of Michael Fassbender as well. Good taste, Mindy. We also liked when she rushed to a patient because the person had insurance. On that note, the Mindy character was really selfish. That might wear on some nerves, but we thought it was funny. We also liked that it wasn’t politically correct and there was some cursing (bleeped out, of course).

Mindy’s impression of her fellow doctor was funny too. She’s obviously going to end up with Danny, right? We didn’t think it was fall on your face, smack your ass hilarious or anything, but we want to see a few more episodes before we make a decision. Mindy is good in the pilot. She has good comedic timing, she’s relatable and self-deprecating, and the character is a lot like the real-life Mindy.
Episode grade: B

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