Couch Sweet Potatoes: THE MINDY PROJECT reviews and ratings

Unsuitable Girls has a new review column:

Couch Sweet Potatoes 

Our CSP’s are not as democratic as that other rotting fruit (tomatoes are fruit) and not as bitter as most critical reviews. We are screenwriters and rooting for our fellow writers to keep working…but we have opinions and tastes. Perhaps you agree, perhaps not. We’d love to hear your comments but for now, here are ours.  

One of the most marketed shows in the fall line-up was not “Revolution.” It was “The Mindy Project.” (FOX, Tues. 9:30pm). And there we start. Plus, given the nature of this particular blog, this show is historic. Mindy is not white, or a model, or rich, or working at some ambiguous job but still has a terrific apartment, wardrobe, and lifestyle. She is a busy, working professional, minority woman unapologetic about her sexuality or flaws. Mindy Kaling herself doesn’t really dwell on the ethnicity or body image issues, but whatever the show’s reviews or ultimate fate, one indisputable fact is that it’s groundbreaking. And for that, Thank You, Mindy.

CSP:  Jonté Edwards

I wanted to love The Mindy Project, I really did. I like Mindy Kaling and I want to see her and this show succeed. I had one slot left on my Tuesday night TV viewing schedule and I had written The Mindy Project into it…but with pencil. Did I love it? No.

Television today is crammed with funny women trying way too hard to come off as quirky. Clumsy Zoey has that covered over at New Girl. Tina Fey has copywrited the whole “I don’t think I’m that pretty and I can barely dress myself” attitude, and I’m just not buying it anymore (Did you see Tina at the Emmys? She’s smoking hot!). My personal favorite is Penny over on Happy Ending who has perfected the art of disaster dating. So, when I saw Mindy trying to compete in TV’s Awkward Girl Games, I was a bit disappointed.

What I did love about the show was Mindy’s (the character, not the actress/writer) support system. Chris Messina as Mindy’s straight talking co-worker, Danny, was a relief for me. Just as television is saturated with quirky girls its comedy landscape is littered with characters playing the man-child. Danny played opposite to that and I couldn’t help but be excited about a new male character that is grown up, thoughtful and a guy I would actually hang out with. The verdict is still out on that man-whore, Jeremy (played by Ben Weeks), but at least he adds some interest.

The script was filled with smart, funny lines that I expect from Kaling but this show will succeed based on the chemistry and/or tension between the characters. No, it wasn’t love at first sight but I am looking forward to that all important third date.

CSP: Kimberly Hamilton

It’s the burning (or simmering) question that’s been on everyone’s (or no one’s) minds since it was announced that the talented actress-writer-producer Mindy Kaling would be leaving The Office to helm her own show:  What if Kelly Kapoor wasn’t the self-involved, boy-obsessed, twenty-something chatterbox we got to know on The Office and instead was a self-involved, man-obsessed, thirty-something chatterbox surrounded by colorful cohorts whom have no more patience for her than the gang at Dunder Mifflin?

Welcome to “The Mindy Project,” a new addition to FOX’s Tuesday line-up of quirky comedies, which takes the aforementioned potentially unbearable premise and happily packages it into a clever little gift of a sitcom.

It works because this time Kaling’s on-screen alter-ego isn’t numb to her obnoxiousness – no, hot mess of an ob-gyn Mindy Lahiri is acutely self-aware of her failings and foibles, openly voices her commitment to change and then knowingly steers herself in the wrong direction, literally taking a drunken bike ride into a swimming pool.  But somehow it’s in these moments when Dr. Mindy is most likeable – because when making insufferable wedding toasts and childishly insulting her bestie’s young daughter, this character gives an outer voice to that inner voice that we all have in our heads but constantly censor in the name of decorum.

So despite the supporting cast of usual suspects – the poised, polished and married best friend; the hot British bad boy to whom Mindy is hopelessly drawn; the gruff, egomaniacal co-worker whose verbal sparring with Mindy is already rife with sexual tension – the abundance of fresh and funny one-liners, almost casually tossed into the dialogue, keeps The Mindy Project from plunging into an abyss of cliché comedies and makes it one promising project to keep an eye on.


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