Knowing how much of an involvement she had in The American Office, I know Mindy Kaling can create good characters, portray a funny comedy character and write a decent sitcom. It’s quite a shock that The Mindy Project fell so below par in the two and a half season I gave it.
It had a positive start. A fairly original setting, some decent character with potential for development and Mindy Kaling playing a character that, at worst, was a poor version of Bridget Jones.
It was on Mindy Kaling’s character that the whole show was going to hinge and rather than become a lovable, hopeless loser with a heart of gold, she was much more annoying, infuriating and openly revolting. She was selfish without any positive quality to balance it and made decisions that weren’t understandably stupid but just bizarre.
This is an issue because the episodes predominantly focus on her. The different stories that Kaling has given her character feed into the selfish, obnoxious element, from hating the new doctor that shares the same name to pining after unavailable men or dating bad ones. It would be fine it wasn’t for the fact that these stories feel like they recycle on a loop, from one bad relationship to another, over and over.
The relief, somewhat, is in the supporting characters. Chris Messina plays Danny, the (forced) will-they, won’t-they of the series. His pessimistic, matter-of-fact outlook on life is decent for a few laughs but has been done before. The real star is Ike Barinholtz as Morgan. He gets to do, say and act in such ridiculous ways that he brings that extra bit of light-relief to a show too desperate to border on the dramatic.
This is the biggest issue. The Mindy Project seems confused. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Is it about doctors? Is it about a single girl trying to get a boyfriend? The relationship between work colleagues? At the moment, it’s a muddled mess of all of them and the stories reflect that. People don’t seem to stick with any decisions, the characters start one story and then it’s dropped for another as quick as it begins. There’s little justification for how anyone acts because nobody is given time to develop. It feels indulgent and rushed, something Kaling didn’t seem to demonstrate in The Office.
Overall, I’ve had enough of The Mindy Project. What was a light, forgettable show is now poorly written, lacking decent characters and focused on a revolting character who doesn’t seem to have any redeemable features. It doesn’t know what it wants to be so we are left with a show which is a poor imitation of lots of others.