Women are in this year, and thanks to the wonders of on demand I’ve seen the pilot for the new Fox Mindy Kaling vehicle, The Mindy Project. The show, which premieres September 25th, is pretty clearly a show made by, and for, women. So what am I doing watching it? Well I’m certainly a fan of Wendy Kaling from her Office days as Kelly Kapoor. As a writer on The Office, she has certainly earned her reputation as a funny gal, and I, as someone who spent 20 minutes flipping through her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? in a bookstore without actually buying it, can attest that she seems to be able to write some amusing anecdotes about her own life as well.
So I felt that was a good enough reason to give her show a try. But I have to admit, it’s not exactly the type of show I would have bothered with usually. A female OBGYN; professionally successful but unlucky in love… sound familiar? It could be a base description of most romantic comedy heroines, and it’s not by coincidence. Kaling is going for a pseudo romantic comedy vibe as a running theme of her show. The pilot shows her at various ages, under a voiceover, watching a series of 80’s and 90’s romantic comedies, absorbing their “lessons” to apply to her own romantic life.
Does America really need another romantic comedy sitcom?
We already have Mike & Molly.
Of course, with this romantic comedy, they are taking the long view. There is no obvious Mr. Right evident the pilot. The two men in her life in the pilot, Dennis (Ed Helms), the checklist perfect first date and “good” guy, and Jeremy (Ed Weeks), a fellow doctor and “bad” boy.
Guess who she ends up hooking up with?
So give the show some credit for some honesty at least. Mindy’s weight is mentioned and yes, she is getting chubbier from her Office days. Also the character is a slut. That’s a ballsy move in sitcom land. Yes, sluts are familiar features of situation comedies and TV sitcoms, but as peripheral characters, or “the best friend.” Not as the main character in the show. Does America really want to see a chubby slut make stupid personal decisions week after week? Or do we get enough chubby slut drama at our own workplaces?
I think the answer is maybe, and I say that as someone who is not sure myself. Will I get wrapped up in the character and want to keep coming back week after week, or will I just throw up my hands and say she deserves to be alone, start your cat collection now?