Pilot Perception: The Mindy Project

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: The Mindy Project, FOX, Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c

The Pedigree: The show was created by Mindy Kaling (The Office), and she’s the primary writer. Other EPs include Howard Klein (The Office, Parks and Recreation), B.J. Novak (The Office), and Charles McDougall (The Office – sensing a theme?). Charles McDougall directed the pilot.

The Cast & How You Know Them: Mindy stars, of course. Other regulars include Chris Messina (The Newsroom, Damages), Ed Weeks (Olivia Lee), Anna Camp (True Blood, The Good Wife), Ike Barinholtz (MADtv), and Stephen Tobolowsky (Californication, Glee).

The Premise: Mindy is a young ob-gyn obsessed with romantic comedies who is trying to break her bad habits and put her life together.

A Taste:

What Works: This was definitely one of the better-executed pilots this year. It seems to know what it wants to do, and do it. The acting and writing are decent and the production value is good. It’s just . . .

What Doesn’t: . . . it’s just that I kind of hated it. I know no one’s perfect, but the Mindy character is such a mess that it’s hard to take her seriously in any way – she’s just a caricature. And her attitude toward her patients and her job is so awful that it just made me hate her. There is absolutely no evidence that she is genuinely interested in medicine or in helping people, and while sure, maybe some doctors are just in it for the money and prestige, I have little interest in watching one as a supposedly sympathetic main character. And the way the pilot treats the issue of uninsured patients is completely irresponsible and made me want to throw things.

Our Favorite Line: “Wrongful? My God, you think they’ll ever catch the real drunk girl who fell into the pool?”

Other Items of Note: I’ve never been able to get into The Office, so feel free to discount anything I say about this on those grounds if necessary. And a lot of people who are not me loved this pilot, so I’ll give it a few more episodes.

You Might Like This if you’re a Mindy Kaling fan, or like other “uncomfortable humor” like The Office. It would also be good, I suppose, when you need a dose of other people whose lives are a mess trying to make it through the day. There’s a certain element of Bridget Jones about it, but I found Mindy even less likeable than Bridget.

If You’re Interested: The Mindy Project premieres tonight (Tuesday) on FOX at 9:30/8:30c.

(Photo courtesy of FOX.)

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