‘The Mindy Project’ returns with fresh batch of humor
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 02:09
The funniest OB/GYN in the business is back and ready for another hilarious and heartfelt season. After traveling with her minister boyfriend to construct a hospital in Haiti during the first season finale of “The Mindy Project” (2012-present), Mindy Lahiri, played by Mindy Kaling, is quickly sent back to New York to undergo a relatively minor gallbladder surgery. Sporting a rocking new pixie cut, she wakes up in a hospital bed with her nurse, Morgan (Ike Barinholtz), and fellow doctors Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) and Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) at her side.
Creative and original, the relatively new comedy brings back the quirky, off-color humor that Kaling is now so well known for. Previously a writer and actress for NBC’s “The Office” (2005-2013), Kaling has seen a major career boost with “The Mindy Project,” and the second season renewal indicates generally favorable reviews and solid — if not stellar — ratings. One of the biggest hurdles of a new comedic season is keeping the show’s humor true to its roots yet also managing to make it fresh. But the second season easily overcomes this obstacle right from the start. While the series is part cliche romance and part comedy mocking cliche romance, the heart of the show depicts the lives of the idiosyncratic people working in New York alongside Mindy, whose bubbly personality and pop-culture obsessions make her a huge hit on screen.
The first episode introduces Paul Leotard, played by James Franco. Although Franco’s A-list status gave the premiere a glamorous feel, his character unfortunately adds an unnecessary over-the-top element of comedy. Leotard is superficial and shallow, with most of his punch lines focused on his good looks or his position as a sex therapist. Hopefully, his character will develop as the episodes progress, but for now, his lack of likability is one of the only blemishes to the start of an otherwise promising season.
Dr. Leotard’s addition to the show not only brings forced comedy, but also increased conflict with Mindy. When Mindy left for Haiti, Leotard replaced her in the practice. Now that she has returned, Mindy wants to settle comfortably into her old job, a scenario that is bound to spark competition between the two. Indeed, right from the start she and Leotard challenge each other when they both ask, “Where are you going to work?” Although Franco’s character seems uninspired and painfully dull, the work-related tension between the two is undeniable and leaves the possibility for a funny rivalry to bloom.
The central (and most amusing) plotline in “The Mindy Project” is Mindy’s love life. Haplessly unlucky with men and pining for a classic romantic relationship, Mindy finally gets engaged to her boyfriend, minister Casey Pearson (Anders Holm). Friction is on the horizon, however, as their hastily planned wedding (featuring Mindy dressed in scrubs in her apartment) ends with Casey postponing the ceremony and promising to have the beautiful wedding that Mindy always wanted. This moment reveals that Mindy’s personality has remained relatively unchanged — proving to viewers that her unique outlook on life and her lovable yet selfish demeanor is here to stay.
The episode also focuses on Mindy’s fellow OB/GYN, Danny Castellano, a surprisingly straight-laced man with relationship issues of his own. In addition to having trouble with his ex-wife, Danny has now also taken issue with Mindy’s engagement announcement, and it will be interesting to see how their relationship is affected by this turn of events. Danny’s increased screen time hopefully means an even more fleshed out character — the show would be wise to spend more time exploring the quirks and personalities of the other office workers.
Promising laughs and good entertainment, the new season of “The Mindy Project” is not to be missed. Season two will bring new viewers and diehard “Mindy” fans alike an authentic, devastatingly hilarious and honest look into a workplace filled with sincere, relatable and amusing characters.