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Why "The Mindy Project" Is Everything You Wanted "Girls" To Be

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | May 10, 2013 | Comments ()


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There are a lot of reasons I want so desperately to love HBO's "Girls." I still believe the first season was brilliant and I think the second season had flashes of brilliance. Dunham's bleak "comedy" conveys real, brittle truths about female friendships, life failures, depression and anxiety. Of course, I love the idea of a story that's largely about women being told by a woman. And whatever issues you have with Lena Dunham (and I know you have many), you can't deny she's smart. And that's always something I want to support. But during its second, scattered season, it was a little harder to staunchly defend Dunham's show against the disproportionate vitriol. Mostly I found (and still find) myself loudly singing the praises of Adam Driver or Alex Karpovsky. But those are the Boys and I signed up for Dunham's show with the hope that I would end up loving the Girls. These anti-Carrie/Samantha/Mirandas.

And, truth be told, I don't. I feel sympathy (and sometimes a frustrated pity) for Dunham's Hannah. During the depths of Season 2 I even experienced some momentary flashes of uncomfortable self-recognition. But I don't love any of them. Not Hannah, not Jessa, not Shoshanna and especially not Marnie. (Okay sometimes Shoshanna.) I'm not saying I'm done with the show. I like it and think it's culturally interesting enough to keep me on the line and, as I mentioned, Driver and Karpovsky are fantastic. But it's not the greatness I wanted it to be. And why did I want it to be great? I wanted it to be great because I wanted Dunham to be the next Tina Fey. Only, you know, representin' a different body type. One that's not often seen on television as anything other than a punchline. (*cough*"Mike And Molly"*cough*) And sure it's nice to see a bit of cellulite on-screen because, you know what, cellulite f*cking happens. But I don't blame anyone for their uncomfortable reaction to the Season 2 episode "One Man's Trash." From my perspective, it would have been just as awkward if Sarah Jessica Parker in all her Pilates toned fitness had played several rounds of topless ping pong with Patrick Wilson. I don't ascribe to any of the fat-shaming. Not even a little. But I'm not afraid to say some of the nudity on "Girls" is gratuitous. However, Dustin was wrong when he claimed that Season Two Of "Girls" Sold Out To "The Mindy Project". Because you know what? Mindy Kaling is better than Lena Dunham. Her show is better is than Lena Dunham's and to use "The Mindy Project" as a pejorative is to make a big mistake. Huge.

If you gave "The Mindy Project" a shot at the start of its run and were put off by its scattered, sprawling structure and mildly abrasive lead character, I have good news for you, it got better. Some of the extra characters have been jettisoned including, unfortunately, the lovely Anna Camp.
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And some of Dr. Mindy Lahiri's harsher edges have been rounded off. She's still a sass mouth, but her moments of self-absorption and frivolity are both more self-aware and tempered by the loving work family dynamic the show has built. Honestly you won't find a sweeter ensemble outside of "Parks and Recreation." And like the good folks of Pawnee, Dr. Lahiri and friends have found an excellent antagonist in the Deslaurier midwives played by Mark and Jay Duplass.
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And, as is often the case with network sitcoms in this post Ross and Rachel world, the heart of the show is pumped along by a splendid case of will they/won't they between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina. The dynamic they've established between these two is suitably, antagonistically loving and unlike "New Girl"'s Jess and Nick, I think they're in for a long, slow burn.
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In the meantime, Kaling has given us a beautifully flawed character. A woman whose frailties are not un-Liz Lemon-like and who, like Lemon, has an admirable professional career. There's a subtle undercurrent of female actualization and empowerment and it's nice to see that coming from a woman who also cares deeply about shoes and the Kardashians. It's not an either/or dynamic. Lahiri (and Kaling) can be all those things.

And, listen, I don't mean to tear down one woman (Dunham) in order to build up another. Dunham's show is obviously meant to be something very different from a candy floss network sitcom. And Dunham by no means has to explain her art to you, Warren. But I'll say this much, even Louis CK manages to mix genuinely enjoyable moments in with the self-deprecation and ennui. And if I'm going to root for a smart, capable woman who looks a little more like me and a little less like Whitney Cummings, I'm going to pick Kaling every time. And not just because she has the best taste in leading men.

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Here are a few other reasons you should give "The Mindy Project" your love.

Women Of Color: One of the biggest complaints lodged against "Girls" is the lack of color in the cast. For obvious reasons, this isn't a problem here.
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Movie References: Kaling herself is obviously a huge pop-culture nerd and while the movie mixed in a lot of rom-com references from the start, they've been broadening the field of late and it's been glorious.
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TV References: Uh, ditto. But with beards this time.
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Fashion Sense: Unlike some romper wearing individuals, Kaling dresses her body beautifully. Mostly.
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Social Commentary: Of the most profound kind.
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Guest Stars: Kaling has cashed in favors from her comedian friends and we're all benefitting. In addition to the amazing Duplass brothers we've seen Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, the Meyers brothers, BJ Novak, Ellie Kemper, Chloe Sevigny, etc. etc. All amazing.
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Did I Mention Messina?
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Bottom line it doesn't matter if you love or hate "Girls," I think you'll love "The Mindy Project." It's a really great show.
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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Colleen

    I just love love love this article. I'm a huge fan of both except I'm a little more fond of Girls (I use fond lightly, I'm actually kind of obsessed). You say that you're don't like the girls on Girls and call them "anti-Carrie/Samantha/Mirandas," but I think that's how Lena Dunham wants to portray them. The girls of Girls are supposed to represent the things we, and sometimes others, hate about ourselves. We watch Hannah Horvath struggle with insecurity and anxiety, but then we also see her act so selfish. And let's face it, no one likes being insecure and no one wants to be selfish. We think (in Seth & Amy's voice) "ugh really Hannah?! Really?!" but we also think "I know exactly how Hannah feels." Dunham wants us to accept that as humans we are both of those things, but we also more than those things too. Dunham seems to create the message that to be successful & happy one must love herself for who she is so she can accept her flaws and embrace her talents. She reveals that message through her sometimes unemployed and discouraged characters who deny their faults and point out the flaws in others. Take, for example, Marnie and Hannah's fight.

  • Miranda

    It took a few episodes for The Mindy Project to find its feet, but I adore this show. I work at DISH with a few people who watch Girls, but not one of them has been able to tell me that it’s better than The Mindy Project. I may have to take the time to set my timer for Girls, but with The Mindy Project, I don’t actually have to set an individual timer for it because I have a DISH Hopper. A while back, I set my DVR to record all the primetime shows from the four major networks each night of the week, so I’m always able to watch all of the new episodes with no effort.

  • Maddy

    I agree so much with this! At first had to struggle through the first few episodes and had to try really hard to like it, but lately it's been amazing. I had a similar experience with New Girl - I also have an irrefutable crush on both Chris Messina and Jake Johnson so that helps!

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Nope, not even for money.

  • calliope1975

    It started out really unevenly, but now The Mindy Project is my favorite show. (Or one of them.) I'm so very much like her except for the doctor part. The guy who plays Morgan is hilarious, and, well, Messina. Enough said.

    His name isn't Warren!

  • Watched the first episode and said "F That!" But, watched a later episode and got hooked. Perfect post New Girl show!

  • Strand

    I did not like Parks and Rec when it started. At all. The first season was bland, Ron Swanson had yet to be flowered, and none of the characters were truly defined. Then they traded Mark for Chris and Ben, they happily paired April and Andy and the show became one of the most rewarding on television.

    Like Parks and Rec, I'll probably sit this out and wait for a few seasons to be made and if it retains the fanbase like Parks and Rec, I might jump into the Mindy Project.

  • Kate

    I watched about 12 episodes. It was ok, funny in parts but something just felt off to me. Maybe the pacing. The episodes always seemed long, whereas Girls flies by even when very little is happening.

    Honestly though I'm just so sick of the 'successful woman who's a total disaster outside of work' trope. It's the stuff of Katherine Heigl rom-coms, and unfortunately I didn't see Mindy doing anything new or fresh with that premise. And honestly, I struggle to even see this particular character as a professional when so, so much of her personal baggage was on display at work.

    It bothered me a bit with Liz Lemon, but it helped that while she was obsessed with work, her show was crappy and unsuccessful and in every episode she was just barely keeping it together. She was shown as an obsessive workaholic, but not necessarily as someone who was particularly good at their job. So the fact that she was a mess in every other area of her life didn't jar. If the Liz Lemon character had of been, say a renowned brain surgeon, I wouldn't have kept watching. Plus it was a much more OTT type of comedy, so it was easier to just laugh and not think about how unrealistic everything was.

  • e jerry powell

    Mindy likes her gay porn WITH SPANDEX!

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Brown chubby power!

  • WestCoastPat

    I keep trying to like this show, but I can't get past the supporting cast. I hate every scene and plot involving the male nurse character.

  • I'm glad I hung in there because this show got so much better. I'm so glad that shows like this and parks and rec were given time to develop and change into something great.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I thought it was getting better too, and then they introduced the Morgan character and... I fucking hate that character. And since Ike Barinholtz is a writer on the series, I fear Morgan's not leaving any time soon.

  • MOSTLY NAKED JOGGING MESSINA?!?!?!! *dies*

  • I was going to say something, but then I saw that pic of Kaling with the hat and whip. Does anyone know if rapid blood loss from the head causes any damage because egrhfjmsksalkdkdkdd.w.WC,cw...

  • sydnea

    God it really is so good now. I hated it at the start but I love Mindy so I stuck with it and it was so worth it. I have found it more consistently funny than New Girl (which has funny characters), Mindy is more likeable and relatable, and I like all of the characters. Its fantastic.

  • Conrad

    As someone who tried it and didn't like it for the very reasons stated at the beginning, what episode should I start with for the "New Improved?"

  • emilya

    i would say the halloween episode for the pun costumes alone. otherwise danny castallano is my gynocologist. basically anywhere in the episode 4-8 range.

  • John W

    To me The Mindy Project is funnier than New Girl.

  • marc

    co-sign...this show has gotten completely better....and this is coming from a black 31 yr old married male....which maybe her secret target all along...i recognize these characters all too much lol

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    If that's the case, she's guarding that secret like it's the Coca-Cola recipe because girlfriend is seriously obsessed with white people.

  • googergieger

    "everything you wanted girls to be"

    You mean it's cancelled?

    BOOM BABY!

  • Slash

    I do like the show. I find Kaling herself adorable. I even think her voice is adorable, and I'm usually put off by adults with childlike voices. Her character is kind of off-putting, but the other characters kinda make up for it. They're all lovably doofy. I'll put up with a lot to get lovably doofy.

    Unpleasant and grating, OTOH, gets very little slack from me.

  • Three_nineteen

    Liz Lemon was the show runner and head writer on a network TV show that lasted at least 7 years. How is that not a successful career?

  • JoannaRobinson

    Your reading comprehension might be on the fritz.

  • Three_nineteen

    You're right! I'll blame it on my new glasses which haven't arrived yet. After they get here I'll have to find something else to blame.

  • Tinkerville

    Fine, fine, FINE. I'll give it another chance. I gave up after episode three. But if I still don't like it I'm writing someone a strongly worded letter. That I won't actually send because that'd be silly.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Watch last week's and this week. Do that.

  • Tinkerville

    Thanks for the suggestion. Since you say it with such confidence I think this "boss is out of the office day" will turn into a "Hulu marathon party" day. Unfinished spreadsheets be damned.

  • kling

    I love this article. And I don't get all the hate The Mindy Project receives. Yes, it's a romantic comedy sitcom. If that's not your bag, then fine. But I hate that knee-jerk reaction I see so often that romantic comedies, and romantic stories in general, are always going to be awful. Or worse, that they're anti-feminist. Romance is a part of life, comedy is a part of life. This genre can be really good, and I think Mindy proves that.

    Also, Mindy is actually SUPER feminist. It's easy to look at her and say 'she likes shopping,' 'she likes dating,' and 'she likes the Kardashians,' therefore, she is giving all women a bad name. But to assume those things is to be the opposite of a feminist -- you're telling women like Mindy's character that the things they like are dumb. You don't have to like traditional male things (though you can) to be a smart, successful woman. You can be like Liz Lemon, sure, but you can also be like Kaling -- she's kickass at her job, has her career sorted, is smart as hell and still likes wearing glitter tops. So she spends a lot of time thinking about dating. You know what? That happens in life, also. Relationships are a legitimate life concern, and one that is super ripe for comedy. And Mindy kills it.

  • Strand

    "If that's not your bag, then fine"

    Do people actually use 'bag' like that in Britain or is it just an Austin Powers thing?

  • muertemaria

    I love this show. I think each week deserves a run of gifs. It is the show that I text my friends about while watching it. This week when morgan says he doesn't know where the puppy ends and he begins? Comedy Gold. Also the fact that Mindy is a proud feminist and making the girls get off the pole is I think literally something I would do if I ended up at a frat party now and they had one.

  • emilya

    and the bill hader line about doing something more age appropriate like listening to NPR? I was DYING laughing. I felt like all the frat party scenes were really targeted towards us late 20s/early 30s folks who are just too damn old for that stuff!

  • muertemaria

    Oh yes the listen to NPR! God that was a great line.

  • bleujayone

    I think one thing I don't like about "The Mindy Project" is the rest of the cast. I dislike them a great deal. Even if Mindy if as guilty as they are, she manages to do it in a flawed, cute way that let's me like the character and see past the less desirable qualities. The rest of the cast have all regularly earned a punch to the face. They are all unlikeable people to varying degrees and I think I'd be more entertained if Mindy was a doctor at a free clinic surrounded by the dregs of society than watching her navigate around these characters. It takes away from focus on her own odd personality. It's like nobody on this show can just be the straight grounded type for her to play off of. Everyone has to be the cliche extreme caricature rather than developed persons. It's as though they were all pulled off The Breakfast Club reject scrap pile with their only purpose is being different colored belts of Shithead Do to spar with Mindy. Life already puts up enough obstacles without people throwing up more either in the form of unexplained stupidity, dickishness, or insanity masquerading as merry shenanigans. I'm sure there probably are people that are collectively this wound up, but I wouldn't want to hang around them let alone watch them put up deliberate and unnecessary crap every week either. Mindy would do better in an environment that didn't seem quite so collectively hostile or unhelpful to her personal growth. I mean if Mindy hopes to grow as a character, what hope does she have around this bunch? They ALL could be jettisoned. Anything useful they might offer up is completely lost on me as a viewer because I don't like them. And if you package it right, you can make even serial killers likeable and charming.

    Oddly enough, I find the exact opposite is present in "New Girl" I either like or don't mind the rest of the cast, but Zooey Deschanel's Jess continues to grate on me with her forced quirkiness like a unicorn dipped in powdered sugar who farts rainbows and kittens with her own accompanying choir while singing, "You MUST Like Me!". To me she seems like a very loud prop to go between the others. Some of that might be Deschanel, but I think the writers there are scared to evolve her too much out of fear of making her obsolete rather than just stunted.

    So yes, while Mindy has evolved and developed somewhat over time, the rest of them really haven't. Maybe it's done on purpose, but if the next season started off with her stepping off a plane in a new city because she decided off-camera between seasons that she wanted a fresh start, there really wouldn't be much lost- just so long as she could bounce off a few straight and laid back supporting cast that let her play better.

  • Even Stevens

    I love this show and maybe I'm just a Kaling fan girl, but I've loved it since that first scene of her drunkenly riding a bike into a swimming pool.

    The dumping of Anna Camp is a head scratcher to me, because they ended up replacing her with not one but two bland friends whose names I can't even remember. If you're going to keep friends around, why not stick with the original (and the best of the three)? Her and Mindy's knock down drag out fight was another of my favorite moments of the show.

  • Erin S

    l love this show and am so glad it's gotten better. When watching though, keep in mind that a lot of the episodes were aired out of order. I have a strong feeling that's one of the reasons it seems sort of uneven in the beginning,
    character development-wise. If you have the time and inclination to
    watch the whole season, look up the production order and ignore the shitty edited audio covering up the discrepancies.

    I can imagine how pissed a perfectionist/somewhat control freak like Mindy Kaling must have been when Fox was like, "Oh hey, you need to shuffle these episodes around because the X Factor is having a special week. What? That completely butchers some of your story lines? (The twice-broken arm of Anna Camp, the "re-hiring turned into a promotion" of the nurse, etc.) Just throw in some clearly edited audio."

    Anyway, MESSINA WITH A PUPPY. That should be enough.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    How can I figure out what the actual order ought to be??

  • Erin S

    I found this somewhere a while back, I think they used production codes, and plot points:

    1. Pilot

    2. Hiring Firing

    3. Danny Castellano is My Gynecologist

    4. In the Club

    5. Halloween

    6. Bunk Bed

    7. Thanksgiving

    8. Two to One

    9. Teen Patient

    10. Josh & Mindy’s Christmas Party

    After that point I think they've been accurate, except "Pretty Man" and "My Cool Christian Boyfriend." You can also tell from certain plot points (Beverly getting rehired in the birthday episode but already being back in the news episode.) It may seem irritating, and it's not absolutely necessary, but I think a lot of the character development makes more sense in the right order.

  • Yossarian

    With the caveat that I haven't actually SEEN the Mindy Project, I doubt it is going to come close to what I want Girls to be.

    Season 2 had flaws, yes, mostly because the writing fell off after the momentum of Season One character development ran it's course and they started trying too hard to force plots and conflicts that didn't seem natural. But when it is good? Girls is playing a completely different game than Mindy. The closest analogue to Girls on television right now is Louie. Both shows have a rawness to them and are trying to pull off an unvarnished portrayal of uncomfortable truths and human failings. They feature characters that not only have flaws but also flawed self awareness, who try to exist in a very real world with all the awkwardness and absurdity that our world contains.

    That is simply beyond the scope of network sitcoms. Network sitcoms are all about trying to be clever with the familiar rhythms of setup-payoff and characters don't (can't) honestly react to what was said. And that's fine. The Mindy Project may be everything you want the Mindy Project to be. But it's not what Girls is trying to be.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Well first of all, I don't know that you can presume to know what "Girls" is trying to be. Mostly because I think what's it has been is fairly uneven. That is to say, I think if you pinned Dunham down last year and asked her the question her answer would be different than if you asked her the same question this year. Point being, I think Dunham's thesis is not a strong one. Unlike, say, Louis CK's. Though I agree CK's show is the closest in tone to Dunham's.

    What I will say about drawing the line between Dunham and Kaling is that both women are obviously trying to put forth a portrayal of women that has largely been ignored/denied by the Hollywood machine. (You can argue CK is trying to do the same for men, but I think you'd find that harder to defend.) And what I'm saying is that, at least for me, Kaling is doing it in a way that's more interesting and (hold onto your butts) slightly more nuanced. I will, however, agree with Mairim that Dunham and Kaling are presenting women at two very different places in their lives. That being said, I don't think Hannah Horvath will have a professional, accomplished career at the age of thirty *cough*. And that's okay, because that's a true thing that happens in the world. But I like my mess tempered with strength. Hannah seems to be failing in that department. What I wanted from Girls is a refreshingly honest look at women and their struggles that doesn't also portray those same women as little monsters. That's what I wanted from Girls. I don't think Dunham has been able to pull that off. Yet.

  • lucas

    As a critic or critical thinker, does a "what I want" attitude towards a show (or anything be it book, film, etc) have a viable place in the criticism of said show?

  • Yossarian

    Again, having not seen the Mindy Project I can't really speak to what it does or doesn't do well.

    I think that Dunham is less concerned with showing outcomes and more concerned with showing the process. How they think, how they interact, how they rationalize, how they fail. Strength is present but so is insecurity and immaturity and jealousy and defense mechanisms. For the girls of Girls the story is in those flaws and how they respond to them. When it is being honest it is amazing to watch.

    I think that has been pretty consistent since the show began. She may not have known exactly what to do with her characters at some points in Season 2, but the tone hasn't really changed. Dunham, like Louie, is trying to show a side of human experience that has been largely ignored/denied, at least in the television sitcom format. Human interactions in a world that doesn't make sense, where characters aren't pausing to let another make a joke they are actively thinking about what to say next, and where the viewer can actually understand their thought process.

    And I think she largely pulls it off. Certainly she's under no obligation to make her characters strong, that's not the story she's telling. But it doesn't matter if they are likeable, it matters that they are relatable. Mindy may be portraying an interesting character but do you really relate to what she is saying or feeling in anything other than a very broad way? (Like Parks & Rec, which is a great show, and warm and funny and touching, but does anyone really relate to those character's as people?)

  • JoannaRobinson

    But where are the redemptive qualities in the girls of Girls that makes their struggle interesting or engaging? Dunham does not HAVE to make her characters likable. She can do whatever she wants with them. They're hers. And I'm not disagreeing with you about her intent to show a more realistic human frailty. But where is the strength? Where is the brighter side of the coin that makes the struggle worth struggling through? The character of Louie is at the BARE minimum a loving father. That character LOVES his girls. That goes a long way towards making his foibles, his weaknesses engaging. We're rooting for him. We're with him. I'm not with those girls of Girls. I *am,* as I mentioned, with the boys of Girls. I'm with Adam, I'm with Ray. I see the bright and the tarnished sides of them. I don't see that with Hannah. She's a terrible friend, girlfriend, roommate and daughter. Does a character have to be likable in order for me to enjoy a show? No. Not hardly. But when said show is ROOTED in character struggle, then a little likability would help me to care.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    See, this is interesting, because I have a hunch that Louis CK (the character) as a young man was not that different a person than Hannah Horvath - maybe less hipster, less aware of cool - but not that far....

  • Yossarian

    Is Hannah really that bad? Don't the girls have bright and tarnished sides, too? Isn't everyone trying to come to terms with their limitations and shortcomings? I love Adam, dude is intense and steals every scene he is in, but is he really a better person than Hannah? It may seem like he is more honest with himself but I think he gets it wrong as often as he gets it right, he's just more cocksure. And sometimes that leads to him being an asshole friend and walking out on someone who is counting on him. And other times that leads to having the cops called.

    And I think Louie get's off easy here. It's easy to be sympathetic when you have kids that you love. Louie gets a pass. Hannah and the girls don't have that crutch, those just-add-water sympathy points. And it makes it so much easier to fault them for it.

    The girls are flawed, they are selfish, and sometimes it is hard to like them, but they aren't terrible people. They want to be good people and have good relationships but the show is honest about the fact that that is very hard to do, especially when you are 24 coming from with a warped childhood reconciling unrealistic expectations with a harsh reality that enables your flaws and doesn't care about your dreams. It's easy to judge them. It's hard to sympathize with them. But it is rewarding if you do because the show is trying to be honest with you about what makes us fucked up. (except, you know, when it hits the wrong note and doesn't feel true to its characters, especially in season 2)

  • lucas

    Is not the struggle to attain redeeming qualities interesting and engaging? Isn't that why we watched Tony Soprano for 6 seasons? I care about Hannah Horvath because she's so incredibly broken and trying not to be and can't figure out how to work that out. She either will or she won't, but I want to know, I care to know, if she does.

  • Three_nineteen

    I can't agree with you that anything in TMP is nuanced. Could you provide examples? I didn't see any in your article.

    Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling do have one thing in common - they both live in a world of white people. Everyone at Mindy's clinic is white. All the midwives are white. All of Mindy's friends are white. Everyone Mindy dates is white. The only other people of color on the show are basically one-offs - the high school student, the med student pictured above, and the nurse who replaced Morgan and who I sincerely hope leaves now that he is back because seriously, that is a terrible character. And all those people of color were women, none of them were men. So I'm not sure that you can dismiss that issue from the show.

    (I edited a sentence out because it was harsh and I didn't mean it)

  • Warren

    Empire RECORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • baxlala

    I've never seen either one of these shows but I'm so glad I read this article because A) EMPIRE RECORDS REFERENCE and B) now I want to give The Mindy Project a shot.

  • alwaysanswerb

    All right, you've convinced me. I'll try it again. But where should I start? I was put off by the beginning, and I'm guessing there is something at least a little serial about it, so I probably shouldn't just jump in now. What episode will be the "Blink"?

  • MikeRoorda

    I asked JoRo the same question and was advised "Just start on episode 5. It gets really good around then."

  • Erin S

    "Teen Patient" is pretty great, though sort of late in the season, and "Danny Castellano is My Gynecologist."

  • pajiba

    I didn't like it much at first, either, but it turned for me with the Ellie Kemper Christmas episode.

  • Monica

    But you have to have a slow build there because of the plot, so maybe like a few episodes before that?

  • Michelle

    This show, much like New Girl last year, started off really unevenly but has grown on me. I stuck it with because I love Mindy Kaling, and I'm happy I did! Plus, you're right: Chris Messina. Yes.

  • mairimba

    I think I might need to give Mindy another shot. While watching I found everything about the show enjoyable except for Mindy. We'll see.

    I think Dunham represents more the early twenties (white and spoiled) demographic while Mindy represents the late twenties early 30's. Also a woman with a stable professional life, but with a "messed up" personal life. So I think it might be unfair to compare the two.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I wasn't a fan of the first episode either, and I kind of wrote it off. But my better half started DVR'ing it a couple of weeks ago and I'm a convert. It's gotten much better, and it's a perfect companion to New Girl.

  • jerseyginger

    I don't particularly enjoy The Mindy Project. It's still in my Hulu queue but I only watch the show when it auto-plays after New Girl. I feel like it could be so much better than it is, it's just....dull. Also, they need to stop trying to make Morgan happen.

  • Kylee

    I love a good empire records reference.

    Girls was let down. Still watch it, still laugh..but mainly from awkwardness.

    I read Kahlings book and LOVED it. I will give her show a try. Thanks

  • Rochelle

    I love The Mindy Project. I've watched it from the beginning, and always had faith that Kaling would get it figured out. I would be totally ok if she and Chris Messina never hook up. I love their friendly animosity.

  • katy

    Loved it from the beginning and was always puzzled when it would get the hate vibes around here. I do admit it has improved, but I was won over by the third episode where they go to the club. And the Seth Rogen episode was both hilarious and very sweet at the same time. I would recommend to any doubters to start with that one.

  • Welldressed

    This. For the love of god, this.

  • toblerone

    Why the Mindy project is everything you wanted Girls to be...

    This is the Television equivalent of a literary double negative.

  • lucas

    I don't understand why we as viewers should need to love, or even like, the characters on the shows we watch. I also don't think character likability should be used as a sign of show quality. As long as the characters are well drawn, liking them shouldn't matter. I don't like any of the characters on Girls, but they are all interesting; which, in my opinion, is far more important than being likable.

  • pfeiffer87

    True - If likable characters makes quality then GoT must be crap.

  • lucas

    Along with better shows than GoT like The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men. Heck, even Seinfeld's characters weren't all that likable if you think about it.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    this, actually, is why I hated Seinfeld when it was originally on, and I was a teenager. I hated all of the neurotic, judgmental, terrible humans on that show. Now I'm older and I do find them funny. But I wouldn't want to be friends with them.

  • pfeiffer87

    I can't think of one person on The Wire who I liked 100% throughout. Except for maybe Bunny?

  • Hollyg

    What? I don't understand this argument *holds a bunch of GoT characters close to her heart* *cries desperately all they all die in quick succession*

  • rio

    My main problem is that once again is a show based on the trite premise that all women really care about are relationships and I resent that. The way it's written make it look like a old show, like something that would have been sort of cool 10 years ago but in the current television landscape feels sort of off. (I personally always had issues with Sex and the City for the same damn reason, feminist show my ass). But I do agree that she's a white fly and that alone needs to be celebrate, though I wish her show wasn't so damn conservative.

  • Stina

    I see where you're coming from, but I disagree. She's a successful doctor who puts her patients first (see episode 15) and puts a lot of effort into relationships with her friends and family. Her big flaw (or at least, one of her flaws) is that she's CRAP at romantic relationships, despite desperately wanting to be in a movie-type romance. I agree that too many shows are focused on "girl needs a man to be happy" and it seemed at the beginning that this was headed that way too. But I'm glad I gave it a chance, because it's quite fun!

  • anikitty

    Agreed. I try to like this show. I even laughed a few times recently. But the premise that she wants her life to be a romantic comedy is annoying. Although it has been toned down since the first few episodes, it still pops up. And the story with the pastor seems ridiculous to me. Admittedly I was raised Catholic and priests don't get married...but do other denominations frown upon pastors have pre-marital sex? If the show were a little more absurd then I don't think I would have a problem with the storyline. But it's not quite over-the-top enough to make me suspend logical disbelief. Or am I overthinking this?

  • I've already responded in this comment thread but I wanted to say more on the idea of a Lutheran pastor having pre-marital sex. The basic idea behind Lutheranism is salvation by faith alone. If you believe in God, you're pretty much good. If you sin, you pray for forgiveness.

    I noted that Pastor Casey was probably a pastor for an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation because it's a lot more liberal than other Lutheran denominations. Each ELCA congregation has its own identity, so some are more conservative than others. One congregation may be more accepting of pre-marital sex than another but a sin is a sin and all humans are sinners according to the Lutheran idea of salvation by faith alone. The ELCA has been progressive on ordaining divorced and women pastors and relatively recently have OK'd the ordination of gay clergy in openly committed relationships. The rule used to be that a pastor could be gay but could not be in an openly committed relationship because the ELCA does not currently perform holy matrimony for gay couples. They're basically saying that gay pastors can have pre-marital sex with their partners as they can't be married in the church. The logic would follow that it's technically OK for straight pastors to also have pre-marital sex although I'm sure it's frowned upon.

    tl;dr: The ELCA can be more liberal than you think it might be.

  • katy

    Supposedly the pastor is a Lutheran, and speaking as a Lutheran, I think they've nailed that character.

  • anikitty

    Good to know...I am admittedly ignorant on this topic. I tried to google it but "can pastors have pre-marital sex" didn't lead to any paths I was willing to follow.

  • He is super perfect as a Lutheran pastor. Most likely ELCA. Probably not WELS.

  • katy

    Definitely!

  • JoannaRobinson

    Yeah I actually love Pastor Casey. I think it's an interesting take on a Christian character.

  • bonnie

    I think Mindy Kaling is a scream, and I'm delighted that The Mindy Project has greatly improved. I think this list is spot-on. Especially with Chris Messina--he turned what could have been a surly character into a lovably grumpy Honey Badger.

  • I've only just started watching since it follows New Girl. Four episodes in and I'm hooked.

    Not just because of the Messina. But man, he helps.

  • He certainly doesn't hurt.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I've seen one episode, wasn't a fan. But you have never steered me wrong so I will give it another shot.

  • Even Stevens

    Oh sure, when *I* tell you it's great, you scoff

  • lowercase_ryan

    It takes two smart people to change my mind. you = 1, Joanna = 2.

    take it or leave it.

  • Even Stevens

    A wise response, sir.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I have my moments.

  • FrayedMachine

    I've seen one episode of The Mindy Project and was pretty put off by it a great deal. The writing kind of grated my nerves a little bit because the flow was just not right. BUT... I'm willing to give it another shot if it actually has improved this much.

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