On April 1st, The Mindy Project's second season returned to FOX after a mid-season hiatus.
The show centers on obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), who lives and works at a private practice in Manhattan. Mindy is a complex and real character. She's confident in her professional abilities as she balances between being a single woman in her 30s trying to maneuver through her love life and her career, but she's also obsessed with things like The Real Housewives and romantic chick flicks.
Instead of taking cues from some other female-driven television shows where women in leadership have to exude masculinity or coldness, The Mindy Project is a lesson to the contrary. Bubbly and quirky, Mindy can come off as ditzy to some viewers' eyes, but looking a bit deeper, there's a lot more to her. Sure, she's a pop culture aficionado, but she's also incredibly intelligent and quick-witted.
To pigeonhole Dr. Lahiri as shallow because of her pop culture addiction gives no credit to the character development of the show; not only can a woman of color be in a powerful, high-paying position, but, yes, she can also create celebrity couple nicknames (one of her touted hidden talents). The Mindy Project fully challenges the idea that someone who thoroughly enjoys Keeping Up with the Kardashians must be a daft airhead.
Even though the show features Mindy, it isn't geared exclusively toward a female demographic. At the practice, Mindy works with the endearing but closed-off Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) and the English lady-killer Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks), who had a friends-with-benefits relationship with Mindy early in the first season. Reed has since become managing partner of the practice and, in the process, has begun stress eating.
Another charm of the show is its many guest stars — in the first half of season two, we met Dr. Paul Leotard (James Franco), a smooth-talking, multitasking OB/GYN hired to replace Mindy while she's in Haiti with her missionary boyfriend — guest-starred by Anders Holm, of Workaholics fame. Other notable non-regulars include Seth Rogen, Chloë Sevigny, Bill Hader, Timothy Olyphant, Jay Duplass, and Kaling's former Office mates, Ellie Kemper, B.J. Novak, and Ed Helms.
When Dr. Peter Prentice (Adam Pally from the nixed Happy Endings) is hired to replace Franco's character, he brings a raunchy, bro vibe to the show to contrast Mindy — and it fits. Peter's single-guy take on dating, girls, and guy stuff adds a dimension to The Mindy Project that makes everyone even more likeable. The situations Mindy and her single coworkers get into, especially as fleeting as dating may be, can be over-the-top and applicable at the same time. Who hasn't run into their drunk and still-not-totally-over-you ex at a bar? It comes from all angles.
The Mindy Project is a charming comedy for professionals. It's not quite awkward enough to be compared to The Office, but it has enough character growth to be in the same realm. It was recently renewed for a third season. The Mindy Project is a must-watch in your comedy arsenal.
The Mindy Project
Tuesdays, 8 p.m.