So while I loved Mindy Kaling as Kelly on “The Office,” it’s rare for me to get into a new sitcom. I’ve got a lot of shows on my plate, you know? But I found myself chuckling at the ads for “The Mindy Project” on Xfinity on Demand, and ended up checking it out.
HOO boy. I fell in love with this show something fierce, and it’s become possibly my favorite current sitcom, and definitely one of my favorite shows. And with no further adieu, here are:
5 Reasons to Watch “The Mindy Project”
- The Cast
Of course, this is always the first thing on my lists, because casting is absolutely key for me. I’ll love a lesser movie or show if the cast is awesome. In the case of “Mindy Project,” it’s definitely not a lesser show, but I also couldn’t imagine it with a different cast. Everyone brings his or her own kickassery to the show. Zoe Jarman is a refreshingly unique presence as nerdy youngin Becky, and does a great job holding her own around the older cast. Ed Weeks as Jeremy plays a kind of British Joey Tribiani. Not in a himbo way, as a confident player who gets disappointed in the endless cool-point failings of his castmates, especially Morgan, who is played by Ike Barinholtz, and one of my favorites because he is so unapologetically ridiculous. His enthusiastic “I’m gonna gel up and put on my dragon shirt,” upon receiving an invitation to party that night is priceless.
I’m catching up with the show in a weird order, due to watching it On Demand, so I haven’t seen as much of Amanda Setton as Shauna, nor Anna Camp as Mindy’s BFF Gwen, but they rock, as well. Setton takes an archetypical TV character that I also grew up around – hot girl with a thick New York accent, and instead of being full of herself and/or bitchy, is a sweetheart who very much supports her girls. And Anna as Gwen was awesome the one or two times I’ve seen her, and after watching “Pitch Perfect,” get very psyched I do see her on “Mindy Project.”
Regarding Chris Messina as Danny Castellano: I have spoken about this actor before, because I think he is the bee’s knees. The two other things I’ve seen him in, “Six Feet Under” and “Julie and Julia,” he obviously had a good sense of humor, but played more serious characters. So it’s awesome to see him get to display his impressive comedic chops on “Mindy Project.” He has such dry wit and because he’s also such a good dramatic actor, fleshes out Danny in a way that doesn’t often happen so soon into a sitcom. His will-they-or-won’t-they relationship with Mindy is surprisingly compelling, and one of my favorite undercurrents of the show.
On top of all that, “Mindy Project” does something that many sitcoms, even the best sitcoms, can easily fail at – casting guest stars/friends of the show. Chloe Sevigny, Seth Rogen, and B.J. Novak in particular were inspired choices, and none of the guest stars IMO ever interfere with the integrity of the show.
- Mindy Kaling herself
Perhaps it is cheating to separate the cast into two separate list items, but on a show like this, it would feel remiss to not give Mindy her own honor. Josh and I rewatched “The Office” like it was our job several months ago, and though I’d been a fan of that show, was struck by Mindy Kaling, watching it all marathon-y like that. She was always really funny, but as “The Office” went on she evolved so much as an actress. Here on “Mindy Project,” she carries the show and leads an already-awesome cast with impressive aplomb. Her muttering delivery/indignant yelling of uber-clever lines is perfect, and there are MANY clever lines. “I’m fine; don’t worry about it” in response to Becky’s horrific “How old ARE you?” made me guffaw till the cows came home. It’s not funny as a standalone line here in my blog, but that’s the twist – you have to watch the show for context! Plus, MK is super-gorgeous in this show, but/therefore, it is awesome to see her being self deprecating about the ways in which she doesn’t fit the traditional supermodel stereotype. In doing so, she radiates a hotness that is inspiring. Mindy looks even younger and lovelier now than she did nearly a decade ago when the American “Office” first aired.
More on Mindy’s awesomeness in Number Five.
- The LOLs
Obvi, I think the show is funny. But it’s more than that. “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother” are two of my favorite sitcoms. Both shows can make me LOL hard, even the “Friends” eps I’ve seen a million times. With “Mindy Project” though, it’s different. Like I spend the entire episode with this excitement and anticipation, because I know that humor just like…awaits me. Not every laugh in this show comes from a joke, and I love that. It’s just constantly humorous, even in its serious scenes.
- New York
A lot of shows are based in New York, but “Mindy Project” is the first new one I’ve seen since moving out of New York. “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “30 Rock,” and “How I Met Your Mother,” can all make me miss New York, but watching “Mindy Project” in Colorado makes me feel…weird. Like hearing an ex talk about his new girlfriend or something. It’s a reminder that the life you used to know is still going on full-force without you, and it’s all pretty humbling. Still it is nice to see those streets again, even if they’re just sets. Josh and I watched the Valentine’s Day ep the other night, and both of us Native NYers felt very nostalgic upon seeing Danny take Mindy to his favorite pizza joint. Even when he told Mindy that it’s the worst pizza in the city, it’s like – dude, New York pizza.
- The Bimbo Twist
I have always loved me an intelligently written and acted bimbo. Christina Applegate’s Kelly Bundy, Brooke Theiss’s Wendy Lubbock, Alicia Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz…the list goes on. But that role has often been relegated to teenage girls who even if they’re not as dumb as they seem, still don’t have Mindy’s resume going on. It’s awesome to see an accomplished OB/GYN rave about “Sleepless in Seattle” and indignantly accuse Danny of never even watching “Sex and the City.” Mindy is more like a really financially successful Bridget Jones than anything else. That success in a way makes it all the more poignant, what a vague mess she is. Very not dissimilar to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon in that regard, but “Mindy Project” feels in no way “30 Rock”-ripoff, either.
That is my favorite thing about the show, and major props to the writers, who rock in a big way. I loved reading Bridget Jones’s Diary as I approached 30, and I love watching “Mindy Project” now that I’m in my 30s. I’ll never be a doctor, but it kicks all kinds of ass to have a show that reminds me that age really can be just a number, and that flaws really can make us more beautiful. So long as to paraphrase what my friend Jackie said earlier, we use our inherent strengths to yang those flaws’ yin.
Thank you, “Mindy Project.” You’ve truly made my life a happier place in which to exist. Congrats on Season 2, can’t wait!