Monday, September 24, 2012

Fox Fall Pilot Review: The Mindy Project - Premieres September 25; 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Winners

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by skees53

Kelly Kapoor has "left the office," and now Mindy Kaling has moved on to a new series and a new life as Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN dealing with growing up and succeeding in relationships. It isn't that Mindy is completely hopeless. She's had plenty of relationships and has considered what it would be like to settle down in life... but it seems that things never quite work out as planned. In The Mindy Project, we get to follow Mindy as she navigates through growing up both professionally and personally.

Cast Details:

Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri
Chris Messina as Danny Castellano
Ed Weeks as Jeremy Reed
Anna Camp as Gwen Grandy
Zoe Jarman as Betsy Putch
Amanda Setton as Shauna Dicanio
Stephen Tobolowsky as Marc Shulman

Mindy Kaling plays the starring role of Mindy Lahiri, the OB/GYN "lost in love." Originally a "behind-the-scenes" person, even working as a production assistant on the series Crossing Over With John Edward (a job which she describes as her worst ever), her first big break came when she joined the writing staff of The Office. Eventually, she took on the role of the infrequently appearing Kelly Kapoor in the series, which ended up growing into a much larger role as the series progressed. Kaling also serves as creator, writer, and executive producer of The Mindy Project.

Chris Messina plays Danny Castellano, a fellow OB/GYN. Messina has appeared as a regular on Damages, recurring characters on Six Feet Under and The Newsroom, and made numerous guest appearances on other series.

Ed Weeks plays Jeremy Reed, another fellow OB/GYN. Weeks is new to the American small screen, but he has been around in Great Britain for a while, appearing in series such as The IT Crowd and Hotel Trubble.

Anna Camp plays Gwen Grandy, attorney and friend of Mindy's. Camp has appeared in recurring roles in both True Blood and Mad Men, and has also made appearances in Cashmere Mafia, The Office, Numb3rs, and Glee.

Zoe Jarman plays Betsy Putch, the receptionist who is always trying to impress Mindy. Jarman has appeared in Greek, Huge, The Office, and Modern Family.

Amanda Setton plays Shauna Dicanio, another receptionist who sees Mindy in a different way. Setton has had regular roles on Gossip Girl and was among the last group of people to appear on One Life to Live.

Stephen Toblowsky plays Dr. Marc Shulman, the head of Mindy's practice. He appeared as Ned Ryerson in the film Groundhog Day, and has also appeared in Glee, Seinfeld, Community, and even made some early career appearances in episodes of Designing Women, 227, and Alice, among others.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Tuesday, September 25 at 9:30PM ET/PT)
Guest stars: Ed Helms and Bill Hader

Dr. Mindy Lahiri seems to have her life all in order as an established OB/GYN. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend decides to invite her to his wedding, an event where she wasn't exactly expected to show up, and she ends up having a bit too much to drink. She's about to deliver a baby for a patient, but before she can do that, she ends up getting arrested for disorderly conduct.

Luckily for Mindy, her friend Gwen is able to bail her out. But the entire incident forces Mindy to reassess her life. Who is she? Where is she going? What exactly does she want out of life? She begins to realize that it is time for her to begin growing up, and that it is time for her to find the perfect boyfriend who meets her list of requirements, as well as to become a true professional in her own career.

Analysis:

I came out of watching this pilot in a deeply unimpressed mode. Kaling's performance on The Office as Kelly Kapoor has always been one of the highlights of that series, and she did an excellent job in that role. Of course, I can understand that she wasn't interested in being one actress among a rather large ensemble cast and wanted to move on to something new where she could be the focus... but this series, her project so to speak, is not where she is really shining.

To begin, this is a romantic comedy about "will she find love, or will she not?" Throughout all of TV history, we've seen plenty of sitcoms like this pop up on our screen. In fact, this isn't even the only one of this type for this season. But let's be honest with ourselves: how many of these have actually been successful or worth watching, especially in recent history? I thought about this for quite some time, and I really can't think of any. Of course, the format being successful doesn't necessarily mean that the show can't be good, but when the format is almost always poorly executed (as it is done here, once again), it makes for a bad show. And if it is a bad show, it doesn't stand much of a chance for success. I don't want to say that this is a bad show, yet, but I'm not impressed so far.

The series really isn't all that funny, to be honest. There were a few mild chuckles in the pilot episode, but nothing was particularly original or distinctive about the comedy style, and nothing was just laugh out loud funny. Kaling can be a funny person, so I'm not sure why she wasn't so funny here.

About the only good thing that I can say about this show is that Kaling does bring great acting skills to the table. I'm so used to seeing her as the "dingy" Kelly Kapoor on The Office for all of these years, and she has been able to adapt well to being an intelligent doctor... but still with some of those same "dingy" qualities we've come to love over the years (such as getting arrested after her little drunken incident at the beginning of the episode). She really is a great actress, I'm just not sure if this series--a series which she is involved with at every level--is the right fit for her.

Conclusion:

I don't know where this series will go. It probably has been one of the most talked about series of the new season, and Fox has actually been moderately successful with their new series lately. It makes a perfect pairing with New Girl (another recent success story from Fox) and it isn't up against any really fierce competition, so it certainly stands a chance of making it through the season, if not longer. That really doesn't change the fact that it really isn't that great of a series in my view, though.

Still, it may be worth watching a few more episodes to see if this show moves into another direction besides just being about Mindy's love life. Kaling has quite a bit of potential, and it seems unfortunate to see it being wasted in the way that it was in the pilot. I'll be watching a few more (considering that it isn't in a stiff competition slot) and holding out hope... but if a miracle doesn't happen, I'll probably be giving up on this series very early.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 25 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Mindy Project Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards aired last night on ABC. Here are the winners!

    OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
    Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
    Girls (HBO)
    30 Rock (NBC)
    Veep (HBO)
    Modern Family (ABC)
    The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    WINNER: Modern Family (ABC). Hey, hey, we were right! Racked up a third straight win!

    OUTSTANDING LEAD COMEDY ACTOR
    Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
    Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
    Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
    Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)
    Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
    WINNER: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS). That was an upset. Thought Parsons would win his third straight even though he probably didn't deserve to for this season.

    OUTSTANDING LEAD COMEDY ACTRESS
    Zooey Deschanel, New Girl (Fox)
    Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO)
    Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
    Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
    Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
    Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly (CBS)
    OUR PICK: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO). I don't think she was deserving, but we were right in picking her.

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
    Ed O'Neill, Modern Family (ABC)
    Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family (ABC)
    Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
    Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family (ABC)
    Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
    Max Greenfield, New Girl (Fox)
    OUR PICK: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family (ABC). I thought it would be Ed O'Neill, but Stonestreet is great, too!

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
    Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
    Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)
    Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
    Sofia Vergara, Modern Family (ABC)
    Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives (ABC)
    OUR PICK: Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC). Thought Sofia would have it, but Julie wins for the second straight year!

    OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
    Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
    Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Mad Men (AMC)
    Homeland (Showtime)
    Game of Thrones (HBO)
    OUR PICK: Homeland (Showtime). We picked the right one in a tough category.

    OUTSTANDING LEAD DRAMA ACTOR
    Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
    Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
    Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
    Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime)
    OUR PICK: Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime). He beat Cranston. Wow.

    OUTSTANDING LEAD DRAMA ACTRESS
    Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife ( CBS)
    Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC)
    Kathy Bates, Harry's Law (NBC)
    Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
    Glenn Close, Damages (Audience Network)
    OUR PICK: Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime). A no doubter and the love for Homeland continues.

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
    Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Jared Harris, Mad Men (AMC)
    Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
    OUR PICK: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC). We thought Esposito would win but we were close with Aaron Paul.

    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS
    Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife (CBS)
    Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Christine Hendricks, Mad Men (AMC)
    Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS)
    OUR PICK: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS). We thought Hendricks or Maggie Smith would win, so we were half right, I guess.

    View the full list of winners.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

    09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
    09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
    09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
    09/20 - Veep - Season 5
    09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, September 29

    Superstore - "Back to Work" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin), the district manager from corporate, tells the Cloud 9 employees he is going to be around for the day to see what can improve in the store. Amy (America Ferrera) tries to impress him with a perfect day, but a workplace accident threatens her plan. Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) tries to come off as a tough boss in front of Jeff, Jonah (Ben Feldman) attempts to help an unyielding Dina (Lauren Ash) win over the employees she betrayed in the strike and Mateo (Nico Santos) discovers something about Jeff in his pursuit to win him over.

    The Good Place - "Jason Mendoza" (NBC, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Eleanor (Kristen Bell) faces her toughest test yet in her attempt to remain in hiding. Meanwhile, Michael (Ted Danson) enlists Tahani (Jameela Jamil) to help a fellow neighbor fulfill her true purpose.

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Earworm Reverberation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Sheldon has a revelation when he realizes why a song was stuck in his head. Also, Amy invites Dave (Stephen Merchant) over for dinner despite their previously awkward date, and Wolowitz and Koothrappali become obsessed with a fan of their band, “Footprints on the Moon.”

    Kevin Can Wait - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Kevin James stars as a newly retired police officer looking forward to spending carefree, quality time with his wife and three kids, only to find he faces tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

    Better Things - "Woman Is the Something of the Something" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Sam gets really looked at.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 26)

    Thursday, September 29

    • Judith Light (Transparent/Phenom/Who's the Boss?) - Catch Judith on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn/Marry Me/The Michael Richards Show) - Tim appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
    • Max Greenfield (New Girl/Modern Men) - Max drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community), Dave Foley (Dr. Ken/NewsRadio) and Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken/Go On) - Ken, Dave and Suzy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight. Ken will also be on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
    • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be) - Holland talks about The Front Page on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids) - Jamie-Lynn is a guest on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.