If you're a fan of The Office you may remember Mindy Kaling -- she played Kelly Kapoor, a character who stayed mostly on the sidelines. That's because Mindy was also a writer for the show. And this fall she left The Office for her very own show, The Mindy Project.
The Mindy Project kind of sounds like it's going to be some reality-documentary-type show, but it's a comedy. Mindy plays a 30-something Ob-Gyn who is trying to change her chaotic, self-destructive ways. Hence the title -- turning over a new leaf is Mindy's project. And she's off to a great start. Within the first five minutes of the show she gets drunk at her ex-boyfriend's wedding, drives off on a bicycle which she drives into a swimming pool, and has a conversation with a Barbie doll she finds there at the bottom. And it's pretty much that conversation with a Barbie doll that kept me watching.
Well, that was the show's only surreal moment, actually. But it definitely captured the spirit of the show. After a brief stop in jail (disorderly conduct) she runs off to deliver the baby of a patient, still in her torn, sequined cocktail dress. Oh it's like that with Mindy. And it's not the only time in this episode where we'll see her run off to deliver a baby in a date dress.
Mindy is part party girl, part serious professional, one of my favorite TV types. Only with Mindy there are no adorkable, goofy, redeemable moments. She's selfish, superficial, un-self-aware, and rude. It's funny -- but it also keeps you from going all warm and fuzzy on her. She's abrasive and she (the writer now, not the character) makes no apologies about that.
Oh we see Mindy have a heart sometimes. She takes on an immigrant patient with no health insurance -- but she does it mostly out of guilt and because she has a hard time saying no. She considers not turning down the patient a personal failing. And when that patient goes into labor during Mindy's date she tries really, really hard to blow her off before finally running off, to the tune of M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls," changing into her Doctor Super Hero outfit, and delivering a breech baby like a gangster.
So then you kind of have to like her for a moment there -- until you see her do something else irredeemably stupid. And then she's just that brilliant jerk friend you have, who you kind of hate sometimes, but also can't help rooting for. We're starting to see more and more of these cranky, almost-unlikeable female characters (like Lena Dunham's Girls). I'm loving Kaling's own particular spin. And if I'm perfectly honest with you all I have to admit, having the delectable Chris Messina along for the ride doesn't hurt, either.
Did you catch The Mindy Project tonight? What did you think?
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