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Mindy Kaling is best known for playing the beloved Kelly Kapoor on NBC’s The Office. Kaling recently left to start her own show entitled The Mindy Project. Last week, she debuted her self-titled television show on FOX that she created and stars in. Mindy Kaling is of Indian descent and The Mindy Project is now the first U.S television series starring a South Asian American lead.
It’s always hard to predict how a solo endeavor is going to go for someone venturing away from their best known TV character (ehem the show Joey after Friends), but I was pleasantly surprised when I tuned into the pilot episode of Mindy Kaling’s solo project. When I found out the show was about a group of doctors, and particularly a female doctor in her early 30s who is single, I was expecting a bunch of formulaic network TV clichés; like trite comments about desperate women eating ice cream after bad dates, or nurse and doctor flings. I was enthused to discover that this show is very original and anything but formulaic.
Although there is a classic TV formula of bickering and supposed contempt between the male and female lead characters that we all know will inevitably lead to love, it is done in such a way that it does not feel forced or archetypal. There are politically incorrect comments, hilarious and current dating situations that are actually believable, and unexpected jokes that are truly funny and do not require a fake laugh track.
It is charming the way Kaling’s character can poke fun at herself and her hopeless romantic obsession with rom-coms and Hugh Grant type leading men. In the first episode Mindy expresses her love of these fairy tale movies and knows she must change her ways and be realistic to find love. On her quest to be a responsible adult and go on a date without giving it up too soon, she ends up leaving the date and having a booty call with ‘the wrong guy’ for her; something that actually happens in real life. In the second episode there are hilarious moments with a nurse who smokes weed in the break room, steals blood samples, and punches Mindy in the face when she attempts to fire her. All of these hilarious and original components come together for a delightful combination and if the first two episodes are any indicator of what’s to come, I believe this show will be a huge success.