The Mindy Project Deserves to Be The Biggest Comedy on Television

Last week, I risked a credit card overdraft so I could purchase season two of The Mindy Project on iTunes.

It’s the second time in the past twelve months that I have purchased a full season of a show from iTunes, even though I don’t have enough space on any device for it (thanks iCloud). The first time? Season one of The Mindy Project.

Why am I dropping serious coin ($80, if my math is correct) on a show that is barely scraping by in the ratings and is virtually ignored by the big awards shows?

Because even though it’s not a smash hit, it deserves to be. It is easily the best comedy series on TV at the moment (and I await the mob of Modern Family fans ready to tar and feather me).

Thankfully, FOX sees the show’s potential and has renewed it for a third season. That gives the rest of the country (i.e. people who aren’t following Mindy Kaling on social media or leave the TV on after New Girl) ample time over the summer to catch up on the goings-on of Schulman and Associates. Here are some reasons why they should bother.

The Mindy Project is a show that lives and breathes on its self-effacing humor. It’s easy to get tired of it after awhile, but the brilliance of Mindy Kaling (the show’s creator, writer, producer and star; hello Barbra Streisand) lies in how unaware her characters are of their hilariously awful traits. The main character, Mindy Lahiri, constantly talks about her hot body and sparkling personality, with either her hand stuffed in the middle of a cinnamon coffee cake or begging a guy to fix her window after she tossed a cup with a spider inside through it.The cast’s blissful ignorance of their realities makes the jokes so strong that I rarely go through an episode without at least two hearty laughs. The show has a serious bite, sometimes even toeing the line into offensive, but I would definitely say the payoff is more than worth it.

As amazing as I thought the show was from the jump, there have been huge leaps in improvement between seasons. Of course, the show is centered around Mindy, but one of the show’s admitted struggles is trying to decide what aspect of her life to hone in on. The show is at its best when it follows Mindy’s follies in NYC dating, but the show has also tried to take on other genres, like “workplace comedy” or even “societal satire”. It’s pretty hit and miss, best observed in the revolving door of supporting cast members. This season succeeds in finding a healthy balance of A and B plots, thanks to a renewed focus on Mindy’s love life (and her will-they-won’t-they storyline with her co-worker) and the development of supporting characters, particularly Peter Prentice (played by Adam Pally). The addition of Peter to this season has been a surprising treat, providing plenty of fratty comedy as well as a welcome support system for Mindy. There is definitely room for improvement, but its continued upward trajectory makes it the perfect underdog series to root for. The show has found its groove; it just needs to ride on the tracks some more.

Even with its growing pains and spine-cracking laughs, The Mindy Project is a romantic comedy at its core. As I mentioned above, the show works best when focused on Mindy’s love life. Her romances work so well because, even in its most absurd moments, there is Mindy’s underlying desire to find that kind of love Nora Ephron redefined a whole genre with. For all of her idiosyncrasies, Mindy is really just someone trying to navigate a rapidly changing world where the old rules of love, sex and dating are obsolete. The results of said navigation provide not only the show’s funniest moments, but its most heartwarming.

The Mindy Project is an edgy, sharp, heartwarming mess of a show, and that’s where a lot of the charm lies. It does a really great job of relating to normal adult life, except with unusually romantic and comedic situations. It may have begun as a star vehicle for Mindy Kaling but there is the potential for this show to truly break out into something special. Honestly, it just needs a little push.

Moral of the story? Mindy is worth $80 and an overdraft fee.

Leave a Reply