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.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, October 18

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Planetarium Collision" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Amy doesn’t have time to work on super-asymmetry, Sheldon goes to great lengths to ensure she’s available to work with him even it if means accidentally sabotaging her career in the process. Also, Koothrappali doesn’t want Wolowitz to join him in hosting a show at the planetarium. Emmy Award winner Bob Newhart returns as Arthur Jeffries.

    Young Sheldon - "A Research Study and Czechoslovakian Wedding Pastries" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) recommends Sheldon and Missy for a university research study on twins, and Mary is unhappy when the test results go to Sheldon’s head.

    Mom - "Big Sauce and Coconut Water" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Christy is certain that Bonnie is in over her head when she invites a freshly paroled Tammy (Kristen Johnston) to stay with them.

    Murphy Brown - "Three Shirts to the Wind" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Murphy and the team weigh the pros and cons of accepting the offer to have the first interview with a headline-grabbing former White House senior advisor (David Costabile) who wants to promote his divisive book and agenda on “Murphy in the Morning.” Also, Avery moderates a lively political discussion on his show with locals in Buffalo, N.Y.. Original series cast member Charles Kimbrough returns as Jim Dial in his first of three episodes, and Merle Dandridge guest stars as the team’s arrogant network boss, Diana Macomber.

    Superstore - "Toxic Workplace" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) get combative to keep their new relationship hidden from their co-workers. Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) spirals when he learns Kelly (Kelly Stables) wants to transfer to a new store, and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggles to organize a Cloud 9 carpool.

    The Good Place - "Jeremy Bearimy" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The group explores the three main branches of ethical thought.

    Will & Grace - "Tex and the City" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack (Sean Hayes) visit Jack’s grandson, Skip (guest star Samuel Faraci), in Texas to watch him perform at his church’s talent show. But when Jack learns Skip plans on singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” he becomes afraid for his grandson’s safety. Karen (Megan Mullally) tags along to check out the portion of the border wall she sponsored, only to discover that Beverley Leslie (guest star Leslie Jordan) has claimed it as his own. Back home, Grace (Debra Messing) and Noah (guest star David Schwimmer) try to figure out if something is wrong in their relationship because their numerous attempts to have sex have failed.

    I Feel Bad - "I'm Vain A.F." (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    An upcoming launch party at GamePunch throws Emet’s vanity into overdrive. Intent on scrubbing a bad picture off the company website, Emet is dead set on redeeming herself and getting the perfect photo at this year’s party – that means getting her hair done, professional make-up and toning up a problem area: her husband.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 15)

    Thursday, October 18

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Stockard Channing (Out of Practice/The Stockard Channing Show/Stockard Channing in Just Friends) - Stockard visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) - Jenna appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • John Stamos (Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House) - John talks about You on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Michael Fishman and Maya Lynne Robinson (The Conners/Roseanne) - Michael and Maya Lynne are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET. Michael and Lecy Goranson can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.
    • John Goodman (The Conners/Roseanne/The Trouble in Normal, Ohio) - John talks about The Big Lebowski reunion on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Bailee Madison (Trophy Wife) - Bailey talks about Hallmark Channel's Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

    09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
    09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
    09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
    09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
    09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest