'The Mindy Project': Is it worth watching this fall?

'The Mindy Project' has unexpectedly dated references, but a strong cast should keep the show afloat.

Beth Dubber/Fox/AP
'The Mindy Project' cast, including Mindy Kaling (l.) and Chris Messina (r.), should keep the show entertaining as it finds its footing.

You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s subject being FOX’s THE MINDY PROJECT.

The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.

The Plot: From Emmy award-nominated writer-producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling comes a new single camera comedy that asks the age old question. Can a successful career woman who is unlucky in love possibly have it all? Stay tuned…

The Cast: THE MINDY PROJECT stars Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Chris Messina as Danny Castellano, Ed Weeds as Jeremy Reed, Anna Camp as Gwen Grandy, Zoe Jarman as Betsy Putch, Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Marc Shulman, Amanda Setton as Shauna Dicanio and ike Barinholtz as Morgan Tookers.

The Snap Judgment: As a longtime Kaling supporter who not only relished every time her OFFICE alter ego was given the opportunity to deliver a memorable one liner (“I swallowed a tape worm last night. It’s going to grow up to three feet inside of me, and then it eats all of my food so that I don’t get fat. And then after three months, I take some medicine, and then I pass it. Creed sold it to me. It’s from Mexico.”), but devoured her best-selling book, we expected more from the writer/performer’s latest project. A pilot that, much to our chagrin, played out like a less funny, surprisingly dated, small screen version of Bridget Jones’s Diary as a result of its over reliance on untimely pop-culture references (See: Michael Fassbender, Siri, Sandra Bullock, among others) and romantic clichés (Kaling’s character embarrasses herself at her former boyfriends wedding à la Bridesmaids). That said, with a supporting cast that features a ridiculous roster of recent go-to guest stars such as Chris Messina (DAMAGES, THE NEWSROOM), Anna Camp (TRUE BLOOD, THE GOOD WIFE) and Stephen Tobolowsky (GLEE, CALIFORNICATION), not to mention Kaling’s undeniably unique voice at the helm, there is little chance that THE MINDY PROJECT won’t find its way into our regularly scheduled viewing rotation. A spot made all the more secure thanks to Fox’s fantastic programming strategy that finds it scheduled on Tuesdays alongside RAISING HOPE, BEN AND KATE and NEW GIRL as part of what is rapidly becoming our weeks go-to night for laughs.

The Conclusion: Has us willing to bet that much in the same way that it took Tina Fey’s 30 ROCK a solid six to nine episodes to find its footing, THE MINDY PROJECT will undoubtedly flourish the more time both us as viewers and the writers spend in Kaling’s world.

The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.