Thanks to the success of shows like The New Girl and Girls we will be seeing an influx of news shows spotlighting the “quirky” girl; a new television archetype meant to be more relatable to women. The Mindy Project is FOX’s latest attempt to cash in on their success of The New Girl with both shows airing together so quirky girls the world over can enjoy one solid hour of representation without having to leave their couch. Or you know, not.
The problem with the quirky girl archetype is just that; its an archetype not an actual representation and those distinctions need to be clear. Most actual quirky girls don’t look like Zooey Deschanel or Mindy Kaling or even Lena Dunham and they certainly are not forgiven as easily for their blunders as any of these girls either. But that small tirade aside, The Mindy Project seems like a worthwhile show for anyone who enjoys their lady comedy with a side of awkward and extra helpings of neurotic.
The Mindy Project, co-created and produced by its star Mindy Kaling, follows OBGYN Dr. Mindy Lahiri as she struggles to figure out her life. At 31 Mindy breaks the mold of the typical young quirky girl, adding an extra layer of awkward around everything she does because really she should have gotten this shit together before now. The pilot introduces Mindy as a “typical” young girl who learned about love from Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and is still holding all her romantic involvements up to that impossible standard. It almost happens, too. She has a fairly cliché “meet cute” with a fellow doctor (Bill Hader, who hopefully makes some more cameos) who she obviously falls in love with and is promptly dumped for a (maybe) war criminal, (definite) bagel girl. The pilot begins at that wedding and Mindy’s ensuing emotional spiral.
The show is tackling well-worn territory, but the writing is sharp and fresh, the cast has great chemistry and the tweaks are just enough to set it apart from others of its ilk. From verbal sparring with nemesis (we all know what that’s code for in rom com land) Danny (Chris Messina who you might recognize from everything) to girly time with BFF Gwen (Anna Camp) and even booty calls with deliciously British Jeremy (Ed Weeks), there was not one weak point and most of it rang true enough for entertainment.
Of course, anyone who has seen as many romantic comedies as this leading lady can see where this eventually is going to go (television comedies are most closely related to rom coms, after all) and while it may not spread the “romantic comedies ruin your chance at love” message they seem to be going for in the pilot, those types of movies and TV shows are prevalent for a reason.
The Mindy Project premires Tuesday Sept. 25 at 9:30/8:30c on FOX. The pilot is currently available on Hulu.
– Devin Mainville