We’re hovering dangerously at 8% on the Sky+ box this week, but have managed a good few episodes of the first season of this rather good sitcom.
If pushed to name my least favourite regular character on The American Office (and I don’t know why I should, it’s just mean), then I’d probably have to go with…hmm, probably Ryan actually. He’s a bit inconsistent and always pretentious for no logically funny reason. Above him I’d put Meredith simply because my favourite bit of the programme involving her was when Michael ran her over in his car – again, not really through any fault of her own, but there are a lot of characters I like better.
But definitely low down there somewhere would be Kelly Kapoor, the role played by creator, star, producer and writer of The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling. That being said, Kaling did write two of my favourite episodes of The Office – ‘Ben Franklin’ and ‘Golden Ticket’ – so when she created her own programme for NBC which was eventually picked up by Fox instead, I was definitely interested to see what she came up with.
It’s shown here in the UK on E4 after New Girl, the one about the Zooey Deschanel character who’s kooky and wacky and all the guys love her (from the ads I’ve seen it looks like a reverse Bechdel test – even when she’s not on screen the guys are talking about her and how zany and kooky she is). So I wasn’t expecting a lot, to be brutally honest.
It did take a few episodes, but I’m in. Not so much for Mindy’s own acting – although she performs very well under a more intense spotlight – but for the other great cast members; my personal favourite so far being the nurse Morgan played by Ike Barinholtz. (“I could spend the rest of my life in jail, if I so much as KILL someone.”) Kaling plays an OB-GYN doctor at a practice staffed by a number of diverse characters with differing amounts of charm and snark. Eventual love interest Danny provides much of the professional and personal conflict in Mindy’s life, while she tries to live her life like a romantic comedy, name-checking so many of her favourite films from which the show’s postmodern style lampoons. Mindy’s ditzy and naïve like so many of her favourite leading ladies, but the programme does a great job of bringing home the awkward truth for her, her colleagues and friends.
I dunno if it is anything like New Girl to be honest, but I’m certain that The Mindy Project benefits greatly from having Kaling’s own hands on most aspects of the production. Give it a go if you’re not sick of single-camera sitcoms yet.