23 October 2013


Learning that The Mindy Project is now the lowest-rated, under performing show on Fox worries me because there's a good chance it may not last another season. Since its return for its second year last September, viewership dropped to 3.1 Million average (from 3.8 Million), with its demographics also down by 20%.
The Mindy Project Cast on Glamour Magazine

I was getting bummed out about this news, so over the weekend, I decided to watch all of the show's episodes again. If only my watching would somehow help push the show's ratings up.

Well, of course it didn't.

For very obvious reasons... like, I'm not a Nielsen viewer.

Packaged as a rom-com show, The Mindy Project (TMP) has all the elements and tropes of what you would expect from a chick flick. In my world, it's already a hit because I am its right audience (read: female). So, is this part of the reason why it's failing to gain viewers? Because it only appeals to women?

Interestingly enough, I asked a girl friend's opinion about the series, and despite us liking basically the same things, it turns out, she isn't a fan of TMP. She cites that Mindy is a shallow and narcissistic person. She says she's annoying and probably wouldn't be friends with her in real life. Could her description of the lead character be the other reason why viewers can't seem to warm up to the show?

I used to wonder what the "project" meant in the title. I thought it was all about Mindy finding her ever-after, with the "project" being finding the right man to marry and grow old with.

But over the course of the first season, it became apparent that the central theme of The Mindy Project is all about Mindy growing up, with the "project" being her personal growth and maturity.

In other words, she is supposed to have all these annoying qualities. Because the show is about Mindy figuring out what kind of an adult she should become.

Mindy Kaling, the series' lead writer and creator, is one of the brightest comedy writers on TV today. I like that she writes a lot of contradictions for her character, Mindy Lahiri --- e.g.  she's a successful at her career, but she's a hot mess as a person; she's self-centered, but she's also compassionate; she's self-deprecating, but she would like to be seen as a confident person; she's loads insecure, but she acknowledges all of her imperfections. All these show Mindy as a multi-faceted character... and nothing about that is shallow, is it?

But The Mindy Project also works well because she is surrounded by all these misfits:

Schulman and Associates: Dr. Castellano, Betsy the Receptionist, Dr. Lahiri,
 Dr. Reed,  Beverly, Morgan the Nurse
The new members of the practice, with the addition of Dr. Prentice and Tamra  

One thing that makes TMP seem like it's all over the place is because the writers try to squeeze all of these characters into the storyline, even when they should really just be people Mindy sees at work everyday.

But they aren't.

They're with her everywhere, even when she's out socializing with her boyfriend, or supporting her brother's passion, or her friend's cause.  She has these people as her own support group that it wasn't necessary to keep her other group of girls anymore (Mindy's BFF's were cut from the series).

As a result, it's hard to distinguish whether this show wants to be a workplace comedy, or a show about friends who goof around and hangout together, or a romantic comedy. 

And to me, this is why it's vital to give this show a chance to grow beyond the second season.  To give it more room to figure itself out (just like the lead character). Or perhaps to establish that, maybe, it's all of the above.

Plus, there's that obvious romantic friction (sexual tension?) between Mindy and Danny that really needs time to develop...which I will discuss for another entry.

Someday, these two...
are gonna have... 
to get a room!!!


On a slightly different note, I applaud the show for being able to is able to enlist some of the best male guests ever, all good-looking and talented in their own right. 

I suppose Mindy Kaling's connection in Hollywood has a lot to do with it. But as an avid viewer, this list of male guests is one of the reasons why I look forward to new episodes.


From left to right: Bill Hader, Ed Helms, Andrew Holm, Seth Rogen, BJ Novak, Ben Feldman, Glen Howertorn, James Franco and the Duplass Brothers.  (She has also enlisted Tim Olyphant in an upcoming episode.)

So, what do you like about The Mindy Project?

What do you think would help keep this show for another season?