The Mindy Project may be looking at its final run when it returns in April, and that’s a shame. The FOX show has struggled in terms of ratings over the course of its second season, and the future of the creative comedy still seems uncertain. On hiatus until April while shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine finish up, Mindy has not lost its spark, despite what the numbers suggest.
As you probably know, Mindy Kaling created and stars in the show, alongside Chris Messina’s aloof Danny Castellano and Ike Barinholtz’s wonderfully weird Morgan Tookers. While I cannot see the show sustaining itself for more than a couple more seasons — given the somewhat redundant nature of Mindy’s personal troubles that provide the show’s foundation — Kaling has earned the privilege of finishing the stories off properly. Danny and Mindy’s flirtatious bickering has reached its breaking point as we await the April return, but the strength of the ensemble signals potential for continued plot twists moving forward. Barinholtz, along with Adam Pally (Peter on the show), seem destined for greater comedic acting careers, providing fantastic side stories to complement Mindy’s various romantic shenanigans.
Another strong point for the show is its deft employment of solid guest stars, recurring and otherwise. Mindy’s love interests have included the likes of Mark Duplass, Anders Holm, a subdued Glenn Howerton, and James Franco, sort of. Couple their comedic chops with awesome uses of cameos from guys like C.J. Wilson and Kris Humphries (what a nice guy), and the show does maintain an effective flow from one relationship to the next, from one Mindy neurosis to another. The chemistry between Mindy and Danny seems to have simply been too strong from the start for them to be kept apart long, though I’m sure Kaling has some tricks up her sleeve for confronting their (SPOILER) mile-high kiss in the most recent episode.
Certain members of society complain about Kaling, labeling her as an inherently annoying figure, an opinion perhaps skewed by their viewing of The Office. I have to disagree, seeing her neurotic onscreen permutation as an updated, femalized answer to characters like Zach Braff’s J.D., from Scrubs. Both characters blatantly possess similarities with the self-effacing actors portraying them, and both have the ability to make repetition work, utilizing their strangeness to show every imaginable way of screwing things up in a relationship, with Danny in Mindy’s case and with Elliot for J.D (you may recall that I love Scrubs). Kaling proves on a weekly basis that she is capable of finding comedy in exaggerating the flaws and fears of her real self, and I hope she gets to continue.
The Mindy Project may be only a springboard for many of its stars and guests, and even for the still-rising Kaling herself, but the show deserves more time, if only so we functioning human beings can avoid watching shows like Dads.