Tag Archives: The Mindy Project

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2015 Edition: 30-27

27 Apr

All comedy all the time in this entry. Here we go.

Intro here and 58-55 here and 54-51 here and 50-47 here and 46-43 here and 42-39 here and 38-35 here and 34-31 here.

30. The Mindy Project – 2014: 30

The Mindy Project

It’s easy to bash shows for what they’re not, rather than what they are. I’m as guilty of this as anyone; I can’t really complete a sentence about Brooklyn Nine-Nine without talking about how it could be better, even though I watch it every week and laugh. For years, and with good reason, there were complaints from others as well as myself that the Mindy Project was solid but felt unfinished, like subsequent and slowly improving drafts rather than a final product. In particular, the show had  a problem assembling solid supporting characters. But sneakily during the end of its run on Fox, and onto Hulu, it’s become a smart, funny, rom com with one of the great sitcom relationships, between Danny and Mindy. In so many shows I complain about the two leads getting together, and I was definitely initially doubtful here but when it works, it works, and in Mindy it works and propels the show forward. Oh, and Morgan is fantastic; no blurb is complete without mentioning that.

29. New Girl – 2014: 11

New Girl

New Girl’s second half of its fourth season, the only stretch of episodes that aired last year, as the fifth didn’t begin until early 2016, didn’t quite live up to the hit percentage of the season’s first half, but was still easily back on track from New Girl’s off-kilter third season. Damon Wayans Jr. continues to be an excellent cast addition to the season, and really rounds out the ensemble nicely, providing an extra character to spice up the A and B plot combinations. There are plenty of classic funny New Girl moments this season that continue in the line of what has made the show work when it at its best, particularly from Nick, where the show relishes its sitcomness, digging deep into its over-the-top silliness and ridiculousness,. Some of the segments that when described sound incredibly stupid end up as show highlights between of the specific word choices and the performances and chemistry of the cast.

28: Bob’s Burgers – 2014: 15

Bob's Burgers

Bob’s Burgers is the best kind of show to watch before bed because it will always leave you smiling and send you off to dreamland in a positive mood. Most TV is serial, and that’s great, I prefer it that way, and most comedies now even have occasionally wrenching emotional arcs. These are all good things. Most comedies that aren’t serial are awkward, hard to watch, laugh-out-loud affairs. As they say, though, variety is the spice of life, and Bob’s Burgers is something else, a largely non-serial comedy which isn’t awkward but is both funny and disarmingly heartwarming, Bob’s Burgers in some ways hearkens back to the old tried-and-true pre-00s family sitcom in a more successful way than any current live action example, with plots focusing on different combinations of Belcher family members in most episodes ending in moments where the family, though they may have been fighting or on each others nerves over the past twenty minutes, truly loves each other and stands next to one another against the world. This could be cheesy and I’m as skeptical of easy emotional manipulation as anyone, but because the characters and their relationships are so lovable and well constructed, it works. Last fall’s Halloween episode where the family teams up to scare Louise, leading a legitimately shocked Louie to thank them profusely is just one example.

27. Childrens Hospital – 2014: Not Eligible

Childrens Hospital

Goofy; silly, and only vaguely and arbitrarily serial when it feels like it (the hospital remains in Brazil), Childrens Hospital is about as close to a cartoon as a live action show can be. It’s all about the laughs, and it’s fun, light and silly; because everything is so over the top, and obviously so far removed from the real world, there’s not any sense of awkwardness or hard-to-watchness.  Childrens Hospital has an ear for parody, rather than satire; the barbs are spot on, but delivered with a gentle touch. The best episode of the season may have been “Fan Fiction,” in which a fan contest winner gets an episode produced based on her script, complete with many of the tropes of the genre. “Home Life of a Doctor’ was also excellent, where Jewish doctor Glenn Richie goes home to dinner with his parents, evoking a pastiche of Woody Allen/Neil Simon old-school Jewish families.

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 edition: 31-28

13 Feb

Four more shows on my list. A great show coming off its worst season, a cancelled show coming of its best, a new show, and a consistently good but not great sitcom.

Intro here and 43-40 here and 39-36 here and 35-32 here.

31. Jane the Virgin – 2013: Ineligible

Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin is an excellent new entrant to the TV sphere. The first word that comes to mind as emblematic of the show is delightful. Jane is more than that – it’s funny, clever, heartwarming, and emotion-packed, but on the whole, in the wake of so much heavy, humorless, prestige television, like the recently covered AMC’s The Walking Dead, Jane the Virgin is a real pleasure to watch. The writers traipse across the world of telenovelas and soaps with a winking meta-eye, but in the course of that wondering, develop a world of characters we care about. The best of these are Jane and her family, including her mother, grandmother, and recently discovered father, all of whom (except occasionally Jane, who is occasionally a little too sainted) are riddled with believable flaws, and then strung together by love and the ability to see past these flaws for the bigger picture. Gina Rodriguez delivers an absolute breakout performance as Jane who centers the show. The overall vision is occasionally muddled; from episode to episode, the tone can be inconsistent, veering more serious, or more humorous, more real, or more absurd, but on the whole, Jane the Virgin is a treat.

30. The Mindy Project – 2013: 30

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project has struggled to find itself, with many minor problems over its first couple of seasons. The one major problem was the show’s utter inability to develop solid supporting characters, which continues to this day. The show got one thing really, really right though, and it had the smarts, like The Bridge which I wrote about earlier, to recognize what the core of the show should be when it appeared even if it wasn’t part of the initial plan. In the first two seasons, Mindy went through a series of love interests, several which were more appealing than most of the other regular characters on the show, until she finally started dating Danny. While I’ve often complained about the cheap and unsatisfying strategy of going to the main-characters-dating-each-other well, Mindy is an example of a show in which that trope simply works. Mindy and Danny as the core of the show are strong, both as individual characters and in their relationship. The show is still constantly struggling to work around them. Side characters are in and out, the show has struggled to make meaningful plots using Jeremy, the only other remaining character from the premiere, while Adam Pally, who had been the best tertiary character outside of Morgan, is leaving. The Mindy Project has the Mindy and Danny relationship, however, despite all that, and that counts for a lot.

29. Justified – 2013: 5


Justified has been, over the course of its life, a great, not good, show, and it pains me to put it so low. Unfortunately, in this golden age of television, one slip, like this past weakest season of Justified had, and so many other show are ready to jump right ahead. The fifth season, after a promising start, was largely a disappointment. The writers didn’t really know where they wanted to go, and it showed. Justified relies on its antagonists to provide a strong contrast for our heroes; like the better seasons of Dexter, the antagonist is in some part, a vehicle against which Raylan Givens measures himself. The rival Crowe family, led by Wendy, a lawyer trying to go legit, and her brother, Darryl, part somewhat competent and somewhat incompetent crime boss, and the Kendal, a boy torn in the middle. Justified specializes in both competent and incompetent criminals, and it seemed as if it couldn’t make up its mind about which one Darryl, the lead antagonist should be. Eva’s prison side plot had potential but felt disjointed throughout. While even this inferior season had occasional highlights, including the performance of surprisingly excellent kid actor Jacob Lofland of Mud as Kendal, the season on the whole was a letdown.

28. The Bridge – 2013: 40

The Bridge

The first season of The Bridge was a mess. There was potential, and some things worked, but it never quite came together. The two main actors were fine, and the idea of exploring the border between Mexico and Texas and the drug trade which overwhelms everything else in the area was promising. That exploration though seemed to just be a stalking horse for a psychopathic serial killer with a personal vendetta against one of the protagonists, which was a disappointment. The second season, though, exhibited a rare quality. The creators clearly went back, saw plainly what worked and what didn’t, and doubled down on what worked, while slowly peeling away what didn’t. This seems like an obvious approach, but it’s shocking how infrequently it happens, either because writers don’t see what’s wrong with their shows, don’t want to see, don’t want to risk messing up what they have, or feel unable to improve it. The reporter side characters, a highlight of the first season, had much larger parts, while Charlotte and creepy Linder, obvious weak points, were slowly written out. Rather than one freak serial killer, the season dived into the murky corruption and government rivalries and tensions at the heart of the Mexican-American relationship. Because of this stark improvement, I was particularly saddened that The Bridge was cancelled. It’s sad to see a show really finding its feet only to have its head chopped off.

End of Season Report: The Mindy Project, Season 2

9 May

Mindy and friends

Overall, the second season of The Mindy Project was a success. The Mindy Project continues to get better season to season, and it has a fresh and new sense of humor that’s influenced by shows like The Office (where series star Mindy Kaling of course previously worked) and 30 Rock while having a voice all its own.

The major problems that tThe Mindy Project has and has had since the beginning are pretty much universally agreed upon both in everything I’ve ever read about the show and with every viewer I’ve talked to in person. Mindy’s character is fleshed out, three dimensional, and great. Chris Messina’s Danny is also a well-built full-fledged character and fantastic. Ike Barinholtz’s Morgan is a not nearly as complex, but is a perfect humorous side character to lead funny but less character-building  B plots. Outside of that trio, though, every other character just doesn’t click, and while this may sound like I’m simply repeating the problems the show had after the first season, it’s no less true now.

Actually, that’s not entire true. It’s slightly less true now. While Adam Pally’s character Peter Prentice seemed like an out-of-nowhere poorly fitting character when he was shoehorned in because TV unions promised to get the very talented cast of Happy Endings new jobs as soon as possible, he’s slowly emerged over the course of the season as a character who could actually be welcome in this universe. His frat-boy edges have been softened enough to actually feel for him somewhat, and his repartee with Mindy has sharpened. With her moving into full romance mode with Danny, Pally has emerged as a solid replacement as Mindy’s sounding board. He’s still not all the way there, but while I thought the show should not keep him around long term when he first appeared, I now think there could be a place for him.

As for everyone else, not so much. Characters have come and gone, welcomed into the fold and the discarded, more so than any program I can remember. Stephen Tobolowsky was the first, credited in the pilot, but gone thereafter (fair enough; many shows have pilot only character, but it was the start of a trend). Anna Camp as Mindy’s best friend Gwen Grandy fit the workplace vibe and was dropped. Shaunaa, the jersey girl administrative assistant was dropped soon afterwards. Jeremy, the other doctor in their practice, has made it through both seasons so far but hasn’t really found a place for himself and I would forget he ever existed if the show dropped him tomorrow (Mark Brandanowitz from Parks & Recreation style). Likewise, Betsy, who is actually slated to leave the show, old Beverly, and Tamra. A couple of these characters would be fine for background humor, given one or two lines an episode, something The Office mastered, carefully parceling out the use of one dimensional characters like Creed and Kevin. As anything more though, these characters are stretched beyond usefulness.  Mark DuPlass’s dastardly midwife (along with his more reserved brother) is better as a recurring character than any of these secondary characters.

That’s part of a trend as well. The recurring boyfriends Mindy has have been consistently excellent, and her and Danny getting together have made me despair for their absence. The show has been unafraid to have guys appear in solid multiple episode arcs, and the show is richer for that, as the boyfriends are often among the better characters in the show. Four or five episodes can be a perfect amount of time to build a character so that we care about him or her and wring all the comedy out without feeling stretched.  It’s to The Mindy Project’s credit that they’ve hit home runs with some of the choices.

The core is strong; Mindy does a great job of playing with rom com tropes, and particularly making stereotypically sexy scenes seem as silly and ridiculous as they should; her attempt to have airplane sex with Danny was a classic example of Mindy humor. The humor is a brand all her own and the show is very funny frequently. Mindy is a strong female character, but she’s a very different strong female character than her closest antecedent Liz Lemon. TV needs more strong female characters who are not necessarily just like any other existing strong female character and Mindy is a welcome addition to that growing group. The Mindy Project can do pathos as well, and its easy for viewers to connect with Mindy even through all of her (and Danny’s) ridiculous positions.

The core makes me return to Mindy, and it’s the most important part of what makes a show a success. It’s a lot better to have a strong core and struggle around the edges than the reverse. That is The Mindy Project’s problem though. It needs to fix those edges.  Comedies should get time to get the details right, and I can’t think of a great comedy that had the entire product together by day one – while dramas frequently peak with their debut seasons, comedies almost never do. Still, it’s two seasons in, and Mindy appears only marginally closer to figuring that out. Because the core is strong, I’ll follow it as long as it goes, even if it never solves the problems around the periphery. If it does though, it has a chance to go from a very funny show, to a truly canonical comedy, and with the strong writing, that’s a leap that I would greatly enjoy seeing it make.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Stephen Tobolowsky

3 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

An actor perhaps best known for his small role in an early ‘90s movie (Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, you know his quote “watch out for that first step, it’s a doozy!”), he’s come back to TV over and over in numerous recurring roles and many single episodes, and because his career has been constant for over two decades, please pardon the especially long entry today as we induct Stephen Tobolowsky into the Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame.

Tobolowsky’s first credited television role was as TV Clerk in 1983 TV movie Cocaine and Blue Eyes.  He then appeared in a series of single episode roles throughout the remainder of the ‘80s including Alice, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Cagney & Lacey, Stir Crazy, 222, Designing Women, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and L.A. Law. Then, a series of TV film appearances in Roe vs. Wade, Last Flight Out, The Marla Hanson Story, Tagget, and Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster.  Then, more single appearances in shows Lifestories, Down Home, Baby Talk, and Shannon’s Deal, and then on Seinfeld, as a holistic healer who diagnoses George and proscribes a tea which puts George in the hospital (Jerry accompanies George to the healer for the potential comedy value).

A few more bit roles followed, in single episodes of Picket Fences, Civil Wars, and Café Americain, as well as TV movie When Love Kills:  The Seduction of John Hearn.  Apparently this little TV movie starred Gary Cole as John Hearn, a real life ex-marine, who Debbie Bannister, played by CSI vet Marg Helgeneurger, convinced to kill her husband and her sister’s ex-husband.  The movie also featured Michael Jeter and Justified main cast member Nick Searcy.

Next, he got his first main cast role on Against the Grain, a show I can’t believe I’ve never heard of for two reasons.  First, because one of the other main cast members was Ben Affleck a good couple of years before Good Will Hunting.  Second, because the show is based on a little book by Buzz Bissinger called Friday Night Lights which went on to become a somewhat more successful show a few years later (not to mention a feature film).  I’m going to have to investigate this show more in the future, but the coach role was played by John Terry, best known as Jack’s dad in Lost (and unrelated, as far as I know to the controversial Chelsea defender).

He appeared in an episode of Harts of the West before getting another main role in a series called Blue Skies that doesn’t even have a wikipedia entry.  He did act in it next to possible future Ivanek nominee Richard Kind.  After two episodes of Chicago Hope, and two of A Whole New Ballgame, he co-starred again in the 1995 CBS sitcom Dweebs.  Dweebs seems like an earlier take on The Big Bang Theory idea or possibly the British IT Crowd.  A normal human woman, played by Farrah Forke, is hired to manage a bunch of uber nerdy software workers.  Bosom Buddies’ Peter Scolari owns the company, and Tobolowsky is an employee aside other luminaries such as Corey Feldman.  The show aired six episodes before cancellation.

Next up were single episodes of The Home Court and The Pretender along with an appearance as Principal Flutie in the unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Tobolowsky was back in a regular series in 1996 with Mr. Rhodes, starring comedian Tom Rhodes, and yet again, bizarrely, Farrah Forke.  The show co-starred Lindsey Sloane and Veronica Mars’ Logan, Jason Dohring, and lasted 19 episodes.  After four straight failed series, Tobolowsky spent the last few years of the 20th century guesting in a number of series.  These included three episodes of Murder One and Snoops and single episodes of The Naked Truth, Promised Land, The Drew Carey Show, The Closer (the less heralded Tom Selleck one), Suddenly Susan, Vengeance Unlimited, Mad About You, The Practice, That ‘70s Show, and Odd Man Out, along with TV movie Don’t Look Under the Bed.

He recurred in 2000 in one season USA mystery show Manhattan, AZ, as a small town veterinarian who also works as a regular doctor (hey, it’s a really small town).  After that it was back to one off appearances in Any Day Now, Hollywood Off-Ramp, That’s Life, Bull, The Lone Gunmen, Roswell, Malcolm in the Middle, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Oliver Beene, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Las Vegas, The West Wing, Married to the Kellys, It’s All Relative, According to Jim, Will and Grace and Complete Savages (seriously, this only covers about four years) and TV movies with amazing names like Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion, The Gene Pool, On the Edge, Black River, The Day the World Ended, and Twins.

He appeared in five episodes of CSI: Miami as Assistant State Attorney Don Haffman.  He became likely one of if not the only person to appear in both series titled The Closer (the more famous Kyra Sedgwick one this time) and showed up in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Jeff’s conservative brother-in-law Len Dunkel.  He followed this by guesting in Reba, Ghost Whisperer, and Desperate Housewives.  He was in 9 episodes of Deadwood, mostly in the second season as Commissioner Hugo Jarry, a politician trying to angle for the inclusion of Deadwood into the Dakota Territory, negotiating with Al Swearengen, Cy Tolliver and occasionally Sheriff Bullock, with mixed results.

He was a regular cast member in the short-lived Big Day, a show which takes place on a couple’s wedding day, and in which he portrayed the groom’s father.  He was then in TV movie Valley of Light and episodes of Boston Legal, Raines, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Entourage, in which he played the mayor of Beverly Hills.  He was in three episodes of HBO’s one season John From Cincinnati and one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

He appeared in 11 episodes of short-lasting phenomenon-before-turning-terrible Heroes as Bob Bishop, a member of the evil company who also has the power to turn anything to gold, which allows him to fund the company, and is a member of the older generation of heroes that had some large conspiracy in place from years ago and well, trying to explain more about what he does, it would just make less sense than this.  He did two episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine as a principal, one of Community as a professor, and episodes of The Sarah Silverman Program, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Defenders, and kids show True Jackson, VP.

He’s been in eight episodes of Glee as recurring character and creepy ex-teacher Sandy Ryerson (a nod to Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day I assume?).  Sandy is the former director of the Glee club and is super creepy and one of those says-he’s-not-gay-but-is-obviously-gay types who apparently has had disturbing incidents with harassing male students (yeah, it’s kind of creepy).  He’s meanwhile been in 19 episodes of the can’t-believe-they’re-on-their-sixth-season Californication.  He was in the last two seasons as movie producer Stu Beggs who dates and then marries Marcy, played by Louie recurring actress Pamela Adlon, who used to be married to Evan Handler’s character, Charlie.  He also appeared in two third season episodes of Justified as a an agent out to get Raylan Givens.

Tobolowsky is now a main cast member (though he hasn’t been in at least a couple of the first batch of episodes, so maybe he’ll end up simply recurring) on The Mindy Project as Mindy’s practice’s head and veteran doctor Marc Shulman.

Fall 2012 Previews and Predictions: Fox

18 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

Fox, loaded with terrible competition shows, which kill scripted tv, and with an hour less of programming than CBS, ABC and NBC, only features three new shows this fall, coming off a fairly successful season.  Let’s take a look.

The Mindy Project – 9/25

Mindy Kaling, The Office’s Kelly Kapur plays a gynecologist just over 30 who is only now realizing that her life is not a romantic comedy and trying to put it together.  If I created some sort of buzzometer based on internet chatter, this would go up near the top.  She’s basically a slightly more fleshed out, less extreme, and more competent version of Kelly, and co-stars include Groundhog’s Day Ned Ryerson, Stephen Tobolowsky, recurring character actor Chris Messina (The Newsroom, Six Feet Under, Ruby Sparks), True Blood anti-vampire crusader Anna Camp, and some British dude named Ed Weeks.  I’ve seen it, and while it’s not great off the bat, I have hope.

Verdict:  Renewal – I think Fox will be all behind The Mindy Project and looking to make it a success in any way possible, and pairing it with New Girl is a fantastic idea.  If it opens even okay, I think it’ll cruise towards renewal and hopefully develop into part of the new answer to the dying NBC Thursday night comedy block.

Ben and Kate – 9/25

Academy Award-winning writer Nat Faxon takes on the titular role as Ben, a mid-30s happy screw up who moves back home to live with his mores responsible and serious sister Kate, and help watch over Kate’s young daughter.  The premise does not sound particularly good, and the previews didn’t look great, but I’ve seen it, and it’s definitely promising.

Verdict: Renewal – I would never have given it this review if I hadn’t watched it already, and I honestly shouldn’t be giving it this review now, since it’s more of a vote based on my personal thoughts than on it’s objectively likelihood which always leads one to trouble (see:  picking 2 Broke Girls to fail quickly).  That said, it looks pretty good, and it’s on what could shape up to be a nice little Fox tuesday comedy block, so maybe if it gets caught up in that with New Girl and Mindy Project it’ll get just enough love.

The Mob Doctor – 9/17

My Boys’ own Jordana Spiro is a doctor with old famiy mob connections.  Somehow or other she gets pulled into managing some combination of regular doctoring and doctoring for the mob, and well, I’m not really sure.  I guess it was only a matter of time before we figured out a way to merge doctor show and gangster show.  I’m glad we did in theory, but probably not in practice.  It also co-stars fantastic that guy William Forsythe (He already has gangster experience as Manny Horvitz on Boardwalk Empire), former Dillon High QB Zach Gilford, and my all-time favorite TV recurring character actor Zeljko Ivanek.

Verdict:  13-  On my confidence meter, I think I’d be put this one up as fairly likely to be cancelled.  Looks bad, not supposed to be good, not a whole lot of advertising, and I’m just not feeling it, in my arbitrary “feel” method of prediction.

Fall 2012 Review: The Mindy Project

17 Sep

The Mindy Project had the blogs and entertainment sites a buzzing, probably moreso than any other comedy this season.  Mindy Kaling who was best known for both acting, as Kelly Kapur, and writing for The Office for many seasons, has become a star on the grow at least since she published her memoir, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me ?(And Other Concerns)” last year, if not earlier.  In the show, Mindy plays a gynecologist, honoring her mom who was an actual gynecology.  Let’s take a look at the first episode.

In one of my least favorite plot devices, we see a craaazy point in time where Mindy is now and then are shown, via flashback, the events that preceded.  Mindy’s in her pretty dress sitting down cuffed after being arrested by the police for a drunk and disorderly.  HOW DID SHE GET THERE!  I MUST KNOW.

Okay, that’s a bit much.  Anyway, it turns out that Mindy, and this won’t be a surprise for anyone who has read anything about or by Mindy Kaling, grew up obsessed with romantic comedies and obessed with the idea that her life would be one.  We see quick flashbacks of her obsession through high school and college and all the way up to being a doctor, when all of a sudden she has the perfect meet cute situation.  She runs into her perfect guy on an elevator, and all of a sudden, the elevator malfunctions, after the guy accidentally dropped his papers and she helped pick them up.  (Pause: Bill Hader is her dream guy?  Seriously?  Was Will Forte not available?)  They’re dating, and everything’s going well until he dumps her for someone else, and flash forward she’s at the wedding, getting wasted and giving a vindictive speech, and then running away, and into a pool where she has a conversation with a doll about how life is not a rom com and she needs to shape up.  She drunkenly bikes away and then gets arrested.

Boom, Mindy’s gone through a traumatic experience and it’s time to change her life.  She’s going to settle down, drink less, and earn more.  She meets with best friend Gwen (played by Anna Camp, Reverend Newlin’s wife in True Blood and some recurring character in The Good Wife).  Gwen, who is married with a young daughter, sets her up with a nice guy, which turns out to be Ed Helms, and the date is going more or less just fine until she’s interrupted when she has to attend to the birth of a poor mother she took on out of sympathy.  Frustrated by the way the date ended, Kaling wavers on her resolution and decides to have meaningless sex with vapid Brit doctor Jeremy.  In terms of other characters, we also have arrogant but honest doctor Danny (classic that guy Chris Messina, who recurred on The Newsroom and the last season of Six Feet Under) who will be a constant thorn in Mindy’s side and possibly a hate-turns-to-love interest?  We also have two clerical assistants for Mindy, whose names I don’t remember, one of whom seems like they’re supposed to be Erin from The Office type stupid, and also amazing that guy Stephen Tobolowsky as Mindy’s boss.

So, on the whole I’d say the project isn’t a complete success so far, but there are elements that work or will work with some fine tuning.  Honestly, this was my most eagerly anticipated new comedy and I was a little bit disappointed, relative to expectations.  It had a number of funny parts but definitely didn’t all come together (few comedies do in the first episode; for every Community with a hilarious debut, there’s a 30 Rock and a Parks and Recreation that take a few episodes to gel).  Mindy Kaling may still be finding herself.  Her character unsurprisngly shared some aspects with Kelly from The Office – over-talkative and overdramatic, but she’ll have to develop fuller as the star of the show rather than a side character.

Will I watch it again?  Yeah, I will.  I like Kaling overall, and I like Chris Messina, and though I actually thought Ben and Kate was better, I think there’s enough combination of potential and pedigree here.  I think I’d try it again without having the preconception of this being a good show doing to the people involved, but it’s hard to say for sure.