Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TV: Reasons Why The Mindy Project Matters

I used to write TV posts for a now-defunct blog and I miss it. I thought I'd feature some TV-related articles here. And possibly soon, to an outside blog/site near you! 

The Mindy Project is one of my favorite shows. It debuted last year and I binged through all the episodes in a day or two. The show returned to FOX Tuesday with new episodes through January 28. Then? It goes on haitus until April. Come on now FOX. Do not mess with my shows. 


The Mindy Project is needed on TV. Here's why:

  • Female Led Comedies  From I Love Lucy, to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, to Roseanne, comedic women changed television. Women bring a different voice to comedy, and we need to see more female voices alongside men. It's not an either/or. This is a show set in a gynecological office that manages to eschew most typical female anatomy jokes. While the tides are shifting, there are still so few shows with female leads, and even fewer comedies. (For further reading, see this excellent NYTimes article where Roseanne and Mindy are interviewed together.) 
  • Hooray For Diversity! How many Indian women have their own TV show? How many Indians are on American TV period? Mindy is US-born, and I like that the show doesn't have to center around her ethnicity, though it naturally factors in. New York City is a diverse place, and it's nice to see that reflected on TV (unlike, you know Friends). Also, Mindy is refreshingly not rail thin like so many TV actresses. Again, how often do you see women on TV with a more average weight who are 1.) not the funny friend 2.) not the butt of constant fat jokes. Mindy's character playfully jokes about dresses that make her look skinny, but it's clear she's a full, confident character who isn't cramming herself into Spanx for a laugh (Sorry Rebel Wilson, I had to give up on Super Fun Night).
  • Ensemble Cast Similar to New Girl and the Andy Samberg starring Brooklyn 9-9, Mindy smartly spreads the funny throughout an excellent cast. Mindy Kahling's character drives the show, but the story, the good lines, the humor, all balance among characters. Ike Barinholtz (Mad TV) is my new favorite former prison inmate turned nurse. Though bro-doc Peter is consistently funny in a cringe-inducing way. 
  • It's Funny, Yo I rewind clips at least three times per show. I re-tweet funny lines. I've rewatched several episodes before deleting from my DVR. If this was a comedy of self-importance--look, we're diverse! Our voice should be heard too!--the comedy wouldn't ring true. The humor is a mix of slapstick, commentary, and characters playing off each other. It's the right balance of funny to make those other elements stand out. 
  • Nuance Like Parks and Rec, another female-led comedy, Mindy has a sweeter side. It's self-aware but not so much so that it can't delve into earnestness. Mindy is the quintessential career-driven single woman trying to find love in the big city. The show takes some expected routes, but some unexpected ones too. Mindy struggles with giving up her identity to please someone she is in love with, spurring some larger character development. To prove to her coworkers she is not superficial she dates a total bonehead (the amazing Timothy Olyphant as a 40+ year-old skater dude). But we most love her friendship with Danny, blue-collar (though a doctor) coworker who looks out for her. Who choreographed a dance for her. This is hilarious on many levels because: 1. Danny is a tough guy who can't exactly dance 2. He's dancing to early 2000s R&B 3. This is just the thing Mindy would completely appreciate while anyone else would think is weird. Thus, sweetness.
I kind of want that cake...

Do you watch The Mindy Project? Who is your favorite character?

1 comment:

  1. I like watching TV, but in Egypt, I watch US shows from Italian and Polish satellite, so there are many shows I haven't seen. I don't watch many comedies though. (I like mystery and crime.) It's great that you found something you like! :)


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