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!

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    WINNER: Modern Family (ABC). Hey, hey, we were right! Racked up a third straight win!

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    Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
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    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)
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    OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
    Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
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    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)
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