Remember hearing Rihanna’s mega-smash “We Found Love” for the first time? From the first line, you became hooked. You were pulled into a foreign territory- something you never quite experienced before. And just when you thought you figured out the song, the production completely changed into an epic anthem that you, still to this day, would never dare to stop. Ladies and gentlemen, what I present to you is the sitcom equivalent to “We Found Love”- FOX’s and Mindy Kaling’s love child: The Mindy Project. (Stay with me)
From the first scene of Project you know you’re in store for a treat: “You have an idea of how your life is going to turn out,” Mindy Kaling’s character “Mindy” opens the show uttering. “When I was a kid, all I did was watch romantic comedies in our living room while I did my homework. In high school Tom Hanks was my first boyfriend. In college everything changed. No supervision, total freedom. I could watch romantic comedies whenever I wanted to. And then two years ago, when I finally became a doctor, I didn’t have time for any distractions.”
It is then, after a simple yet effective way to give some personality to Mindy, we are taken to the hospital where she works. We’re introduced to Jeremy and Danny, Mindy’s fellow doctors and closest friends at the hospital. After making a pass to a patient who was obviously hot off an epidural, Jeremy (Ed Weeks) immediately is perceived as the male equivalent to a “femme fatale” who would stick Jeremy Jr. into anything that moves (even if that includes a married women covered in after-birth). He becomes Mindy’s guilty pleasure (and I mean pleasure) throughout the episode, as the devilishly handsome British babe abuses Mindy’s insecurities and discontent of her not so rom-com life. Danny (Chris Messina) is introduced as the wise yet Danny Downer friend that seems to have a love/hate relationship with Mindy. After further analysis, Danny’s jaded personality traits seem to stem from an ill-fated marriage that ended two years ago. Once he learns to love again, mark my words, Danny has the potential to be Mindy’s Ross to her Rachel…or Jim to her Pam…or Harry to her Sally…or Jack to her Ro- well, you get it.
While still at the hospital, the audience is reminded Mindy is still telling them a story, as she gleefully spews the cliche rom-com line, “And that’s when I saw him.” We are then front row of her first chick-flick-esque run-in with “him” (SNL’s Bill Hader) in a fateful elevator ride. What I find to be the most entertaining quality of Mindy’s is her constant comparisons of her personal life to the lives of Hollywood female leading ladies. Consciously or not, most females are guilty of doing so, but Mindy takes it to a whole new level through a relentless “what would Julia Roberts do?” thought process. Mindy hilariously projects one of these comparisons into her current situation during the elevator run-in as her hair naturally transforms from a bun to total sexretary status: “Met in an elevator. My hair came undone. Are you kidding me? I’m basically Sandra Bullock.” The rest of the scene becomes even more Sandra Bullock rom-com as the elevator proceeds to get stuck, the two doctors give introductions (we learn his name is Tom and he’s an oral surgeon), and the chemistry between their scrubs brew.
Just when we become confident in the direction the show is headed, we are thrown a curve ball and find out Mindy and Tom didn’t work out so Notting Hill like. We are taken to the present as Mindy is in jail, sporting more Lindsay Lohan than any form of Sandra Bullock (see image above). It is in jail when we find out Mindy has been narrating everything up to this point to an unimpressed police officer in efforts to give motives behind why she, after “four vodka sodas”, drunkenly disrupted Tom’s wedding with the “Serbian bagel lady” (the Angelina home-wrecker), proceeded to steal a bike, and then consequently rode into a pool where she encountered a rude awakening from a talking “hot mean doll”. Luckily, with the help of television’s magical timing, BFF Gwen (Anna Camp) arrives to bailout the hot mess.
Folks. Listen. That’s just the first few minutes of Project. It will take everything in my power not go over and gush about every other golden minute Project has graced us with, but there is no way I’ll be able to give it the justice it deserves. Do yourself a favor, head over to FOX, and just watch your soon-to-be favorite pilot of the year. (Incentive: Ed Helms)
Mindy’s character in Project is a far cry from Kelly Kapoor of The Office. Unlike Kapoor, the audience is able to constantly relate to her woes and flaws, creating a strong attachment to the character. From witty writing to Emmy worthy performances, The Mindy Project effectively transports the audience into Mindy’s 90’s romantic comedy mindset while keeping them on their toes through refreshing comical situations. I’ll keep watching in anticipation to see where Mindy’s love life takes her. Here’s to hoping she’ll find love in a hopeless place.
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Look- it even got fall television’s fieriest judge crying from happiness!