8/28/12

How "The Mindy Project" Won Me Over!

I just watched the pilot of "The Mindy Project" and I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it! Between "The New Girl", "Up All Night", "30 Rock" and so many others, it's a really really good season to be an awkward lady. Finally, we have representation in the media! And lots of it. Hurrah! (True story, spit flew everywhere when I read that part aloud to proof it. Gross. But also, proves my point!)

Geez, I guess that was kind of a back-handed compliment to the hilarious writers and performers from those shows. Maybe I shouldn't say "awkward". Perhaps I should say, complex. Sassy? Weird? Varied? "The Mindy Project" was a really solid show. Here are a few reasons why I'll keep watching, and why you should give it a chance. (Remember, in this day and age, if you don't support a pilot you enjoyed, network executives will yank it faster than...I can't come up with a punchline for this right now. Just know, they'll cancel it if you don't support it! So watch people, WATCH!)

1. It's different. Everything from the format to the lead character offers something unique. Mindy's lead character isn't quirky in that "look how QUIRKY our lead is, she's so quirky that she weighs 100 pounds, is pageant-beautiful and she falls down sometimes" way. She drunk bikes herself into a pool and has a conversation with a Barbie doll underwater in the opening of the show for crying out loud. So...yeah. This character has actual flaws. Cloudy judgement. So there will actually be something to watch as the season unfolds! Actual things will happen! Things people...THINGS!

2. I dig that the show is braving the medical genre. I'll admit, I balked at the thought initially. This isn't another "Scrubs" and it isn't trying to be. But they probably knew that setting the show in and around a hospital was a risk. And I like that they took it. I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit burned out on medical shows right now. However, the true genius of them taking that risk is that it makes our leading lady highly intelligent. She's a doctor for crying out loud. This brings balance to the force. A messy personal life? Sure. But don't write her off yet, she's a doctor, so we know she has the potential to pull it together.

3. There's some serious John Hughes-ian heart going on in the writing. The montage of Mindy watching romantic comedies over the years...that was ME! All I did my first year of college was stay locked in my dorm room watching movies while everyone else partied. That tugged at my heart. The very beginning, the few lines right before the title faded onto the screen...kind of made me emotional. And there's a really interesting surprise ending to the episode that opens our leading lady up to some serious judgement from viewers. Like I said in point number one, a lot of shows fall into that trap of trying to make a "quirky" character but really just making them sickeningly perfect with a couple of cutesy habits. That's not quirky. That's sheltered. That's predictable. But like a good John Hughes movie, the really interesting bits of character development almost always center around dysfunction. I like that this show isn't going to back away from that.

I'll definitely be keeping up with this show. If I have one concern, it's that they'll focus too much on the love angle and not enough on Mindy just being hilarious. I think "30 Rock" has proven that not every show starring a woman has to have a love triangle. And I'm not anti-love triangle, I'm just saying, Mindy is more than enough to keep me tuned in.

Relevant Anecdote: I used to stalk the Half-Price Books in Indianapolis. I was there so often the summer between my two years in grad school that I'm surprised they didn't start shooing me out with a broom like one of those sad, pathetic pigeons that somehow gets trapped indoors. I camped out in the "memoir" section because that's where all the books of funny essays by hilarious ladies were. Tina Fey, Laurie Notaro, Rachel Dratch, and yes...Mindy Kaling.

I half hated those books, because I felt like they were stealing my life. My anecdotes. My stories. I wanted my chance to tell my funny stories and it felt like they were beating me to it.

But I also LOVED them, because as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, they made me feel understood. Represented. Like there was hope for this total lame-o after all. And "The Mindy Project" is sort of like one of those books popped off the shelf and came to life.

And that's a REALLY good thing. I just hope the "funny stories by awkward women" boom doesn't end before I get my stuff together and figure out what to do with my stories.

Anyway, watch "The Mindy Project". Or else!

2 comments:

Taylor Lourdes said...

I absolutely LOVE comedies starring complex and/or awkward ladies, so I could not be more excited about The Mindy Project. I watched the pilot this morning and adored it. It wasn’t perfect, maybe, but pilots hardly ever are, and I think this show will only get better. Like you said, it has a lot of heart. Awesome shows like this are what make me sad I work the night shift at my job at Dish. Thankfully, I can count on my Hopper to record it and all my other shows for me to enjoy as soon as I get home. There are so many great comedies on this fall! September seriously cannot get here soon enough!

Maurice Mitchell said...

It does sound a lot more interesting once you describe it. Up till now I thought it was just another "quirky" comedy. I love 30 rock though, so I'm in.