“The Mindy Project,” Mindy Kaling’s new Fox series, shares similarities with Lena Dunham’s HBO series “Girls,” but it isn’t the same beast. “Girls” is a ground-breaking and, unfortunately, divisive show. Kaling’s series is something more of a traditional single-camera comedy. But that doesn’t mean “The Mindy Project” isn’t creatively solid and pretty damn funny.
Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) is an OB/GYN who doesn’t quite have it together. Her biggest problem is believing that real life should operate like a Meg Ryan movie. Mindy is basically a female Abed when it comes to pop culture references — except she’s obsessed with rom-coms instead of “Kickpuncher” or “Inspector Spacetime” — which leads to a series of romantic calamities.
The central love story involves the two doctors Mindy works with. Hunky Brit Jeremy (Ed Weeks) is happy to have casual sex and nothing more. Danny (Chris Messina) is a hard-ass (he punches guys for wearing John Cougar Mellencamp T-shirts to Bruce Springsteen concerts just on general principle) and constantly gives Mindy a hard time. Mindy knows she shouldn’t have meaningless sex with Jeremy, and she can’t help but have antagonistic sexual tension with Danny. If Danny was eight, he’d pull Mindy’s hair — a lot.
“The Mindy Project” is nowhere near a perfect pilot, but it’s very funny in places with a good cast, and there’s clear potential for the future. Hopefully Kaling’s talent can propel the oddball premise into something more.