Is The Mindy Project a Terrible Show Now?

| October 23, 2013
  • Email Post

mindy copy

There are a million reasons I like Mindy Kaling. She’s a young-ish woman, a little older than me, and she’s a writer who killed it on The Office (she started writing for that show when she was 24!), both as a writer and the hilarious Kelly Kapoor. She isn’t standard hot, she isn’t skinny and she isn’t white and yet, she’s succeeded! In Hollywood! SHE HAS HER OWN TV SHOW, which for one whole season was great! And funny! And smart!

But now…what is going on with sitcoms? 30 Rock is goneHappy Endings is gone. Parks and Recreation is GOING ON HIATUS?! New Girl is suddenly about a relationship (bleh). The one thing we HuluPlus subscribers had left to laugh with was The Mindy Project. But it seems like that ship is sailing too.

What happened to Mindy? She used to be a smart, engaged, funny and sort of ridiculous character. One of my favorite things about her, as a character on her show, was that she could be an intelligent doctor who cared about things, while also being a romantic, while also being a pop culture addict. Real humans can be all of these things. In real life, a person can know about biology while also liking Nicki Minaj while also caring about Syria. It seems like in Season Two though, that slightly complicated, nuanced Mindy is gone. As is all nuance in the other characters and the situations they find themselves in. Mindy’s boyfriend went from being a kind of interesting character (a cool pastor who was down with dating a non-Christian) to your typical I’m-a-man-in-my-early-30s-I-need-to-find-myself character. There is Mindy herself, who now seems to be a completely self-involved girly-girl in an extreme sense. In last night’s episode for example, she took her adult male co-worker to lunch at some American Girl-esque restaurant because she wanted to get to know him better. It felt lazy and nonsensical.

Then there are the troubling plot lines. Date raping James Franco? Weird and also not funny. It didn’t reveal anything about humans–it just replayed the stupid idea that men can’t be sexually assaulted and when a woman takes advantage of them it is somehow hilarious and hot. Then there was the Morgan sexual harassment episode, which made light of another non-light issue. I am not a person who thinks these subjects should never be touched in jokes, but I think if you are going to write comedy about rape and sexual harassment it shouldn’t be at the expense of victims and it should also be funny.

In a way it feels like The Mindy Project has just turned into a vehicle with which to reinforce stereotypes from 1993. Her men are super macho, her girls are silly and her African-American nurse is an even weirder caricature, just a messy mix of stereotypes of African-American women. At this point, after each show, I just feel uncomfortable and I’m left wondering: I am missing something. Like, is this social commentary so biting it’s going over my head? Or is this show just stupid now?

Related

Explore: ,

  • Email Post

About the Author ()

Lizzy Acker’s work has been published in Nano Fiction, Fanzine, Joyland, Eleven Eleven and elsewhere. She has read with Bang Out, RADAR, Quiet Lightening and others. Her first book, Monster Party, was released in December of 2010 by Small Desk Press.
  • Paige C.

    You’re completely correct, Lizzy. The show is “just stupid now.”

    • lizzyacker

      Totally.

  • Kevin Hobson

    In the first season Mindy went from having: 1 female friend (the fantastic Anna Camp) to having 3 female friends (adding the brunette friend from Newsroom and the girl in the wheelchair); then Anna Camp disappears completely and it’s just the two other friends, and now this season she has NO female friends.

    They are shoving Morgan down our throats trying to make him the “wacky breakout character” but just to be safe they added Max from Happy Endings who is pretty much hits the SAME COMEDIC NOTES as Morgan. Meanwhile pompous British dude has NOTHING to do, so they made him fat for no reason in particular. Wouldn’t be surprised if he disappears like Anna Camp did before too long.

    Which is to say the show seems to have NO IDEA what to do with anyone who is not Mindy or Danny, and even with them its the same old telegraphed sexual tension that will last for however many seasons until they finally get together for a few episodes and then break up again. What started out as a smart, quirky ensemble show in season 1 has become a predictable, cliche-ridden mess in season 2. (For a new show that seems to really get how to be an ensemble that’s still centered around one quirky star, see the surprisingly funny “Brooklyn 99″)

    I almost wonder if the whole problem with the show is that Mindy is only friends with dudes IRL and wants to have ALL of them on her show at once?

    TL;DR – show has become a sausage fest and a cluster fuck

    • lizzyacker

      You’re a smart one Kevin Hobson…

  • Viciously Sweet

    I’m still rooting for the show… but it currently seems to be flailing. I’m kind of not interested in Mindy’s constant dating. I would like to see some characters develop like Betsy and Beverly. A little less Morgan and Peter and some more evolving for Mindy as a character. I liked that last season she seemed “human” but apparently she was told being “human” wasn’t likable and they are re-styiling her like Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec.
    Also you are totally right about her friends… where did they go? Where is her brother? The rest of her family? Will I ever get to see Morgan’s grandma? Did Ellie Kemper move into her building? Will we ever catch Danny trying to play the piano again? Why is Jeremy fat and not dating like crazy anymore? You just made me realize so much is unanswered.

    • lizzyacker

      I want her brother back too! I loved him!