The Mindy Project will debut here in the UK tonight (on E4)… in the same week that the (surviving) cast and crew celebrated wrapping their first season, back in the States. I’ve been watching the show via the interwebs since it started, and (at the risk of being trite) I can’t help thinking that the original working title of “It’s Messy” might have been more appropriate. I’m on record as a huge admirer of creator/star Mindy Kaling, and she remains the show’s smartest, cutest and most reliably amusing asset, as the adorable obstetrician ‘Mindy Lahiri’… while co-star Chris Messina does fine work as her gruff-but-kinda-dorky co-doctor ‘Danny’… it’s just everything else around them – from the setting, to the premise, to the supporting characters – that feels flimsy and in a constant, confounding state of flux.
One of the reasons I was looking forward to seeing the show, back when it was first announced, was the casting of Dana DeLorenzo as the surgery’s sassy receptionist ‘Shauna’… but she was replaced by Amanda Setton before the pilot even aired… and then halfway through the season, the character was simply excised, without any explanation or apology. I was also excited about the inclusion of Anna Camp as Mindy’s married BFF ‘Gwen’, but they never actually figured out what to do with her story-wise, and she was left sitting on the side-lines until finally being demoted from main cast member to merely “recurring”. I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed the contributions made by some of the late coming male cast members, like Ike Barinholtz (as ex-con-turned-nurse ‘Morgan’) and Mark Duplass (as new-agey midwife ‘Brendan’), but the ladies seem to be getting short shrift so far… which is kind of ironic, considering the lady-centric setting.
I wish I could love this series as much as I love Kaling as a performer and as a personality… and the show’s already been granted a second season, so there’s always the chance that it will cohere into something wonderful… but, at this point in time, I think The Independent’s claim that its star/showrunner is “America’s New Queen of Comedy” might be a tad hyperbolic.