The pilot episode of Mindy Kaling’s new show, “The Mindy Project,” premiered Sept. 25 and it was kind of a big deal.
The show follows Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a woman in her early 30s who is well on her way to a career as a successful OB/GYN, but having serious troubles in the relationship department. It’s explained that these troubles stem from a lifetime of watching romantic comedies and believing that real life should follow a similar plotline.
Lahiri almost gets her movie ending when she meets Tom (Bill Hader) in an elevator. The perfect premise crashes down around her as the relationship ends and Lahiri finds herself at Tom’s wedding, drunkenly telling guests about their break-up during a toast. One bicycle getaway and hallucination with a talking doll at the bottom of the pool later, and it’s painfully obvious that Lahiri is a bit of a mess outside of the hospital.
It may not be all there just yet, but the pilot is promising, and Fox deserves kudos for green-lighting a show starring an American-Indian actress who isn’t a size zero. If the pilot wasn’t enough to persuade you, here are five reasons to tune in to “The Mindy Project” next week.
1. It isn’t “New Girl.” Zooey Deschenel and her bangs are great and all, but it’s nice to see a comedy with a female lead that never has, and never will, be described as “quirky.”
2. Guest star potential. Kaling said that she doesn’t want to pull too many actors from “The Office” in too soon, but Ed Helm’s appearance as her blind date in the pilot’s second half is assuring. Bill Hader’s role as an ex whose wedding Mindy not only attends but also delivers a drunken toast at, makes the promise of future cameos only stronger.
3. The name. Titling her sitcom “The Mindy Project” is a bold move. As a writer, producer and star of the show it makes sense to name it after herself, but it also reveals her more cunning side. By choosing to align herself with sitcom legends like “Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show,” “Seinfeld” and “I Love Lucy,” Kaling is essentially setting herself up for greatness.
4. Chris Messina. Chris Messina’s character, Danny Castellano, is a fellow resident who gets arrested for assault at a Springsteen show when he told expectant mothers he’s the man who’s going to take a person out of them and advises Mindy to lose 15 pounds. He is a jerk, but it’s pretty obvious they’re meant to be together.
5. Mindy Kaling is hysterical. This is a fact and trumps all other issues with the pilot such as the tone not being fully developed or Mindy’s character being dangerously close to crossing the line that divides unlikeable yet endearing characters from characters that are simply bad people. Her writing history at “The Office,” book and Twitter feed are a strong indication that she will deliver.
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