The Mindy Project, E4 - TV review: Mindy Kaling has Tina Fey-like potential
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Wednesday 23 July 2014
The Mindy Project on E4, one of the last remaining refuges of genuinely funny romcom on television. Creator Mindy Kaling is still best known as Kelly Kapoor on the American version of The Office, but with The Mindy Project she's establishing herself as a comedy writer/performer of Tina Fey-like potential. As well as writing the series, Kaling stars as Dr Mindy Lahiri a thirtysomething obstetrician in a New York practice who is (what else?) looking for love.
In this week's episode, the Avril Lavigne-inspired "Sk8er Man", Mindy began dating fortysomething man-child Graham (an enjoyable cameo from Justified's Timothy Olyphant), just to prove to her friends she wasn't too picky. Graham is the kind of state-of-modern-man character that would have inspired much handwringing and laptop monologuing in a Sex and the City episode but The Mindy Project spares us that in favour of a subplot involving handsome British doctor Jeremy and his dashing, emotionally withholding father (Alan Dale).
Despite its title, one of The Mindy Project's greatest strengths is a range of supporting characters all as fully realised and intrinsically entertaining as the lead. Tender-hearted ex-con nurse Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) is still a stand-out, but this second series is also having a lot of fun with new cast addition, Adam Pally as jovial doctor-cum-frathouse pledge Peter Prentice.
You don't need clairvoyant powers to work out who Mindy will end up with eventually – grumpy Staten Island native Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) is the obvious Ross to her Rachel, but it's always fun to see how a writer of Kaling's inventiveness and charm goes about delaying the inevitable.
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