As I sat down to watch the premiere of The Mindy Project, I reminded myself of other comedy pilots I've viewed that have taught me to not pass judgment too quickly.
Success in this genre is so dependent on the chemistry and timing between the cast members, two things that can take a few episodes to solidify. However, while the pilot may have lacked a unique title, it was anything but short on laughs and charm.
Meet Mindy Lahiri, an Ivy League educated OB/GYN who seemingly lives her life according to the lessons she has learned over a lifetime spent watching romantic comedies. Her rom-com references are understandably dated but her nods to things like Downton Abbey, spinning classes and Occupy Wall Street did well to show she is most definitely in touch with what is current.
While it is unclear if appearances by well-known funny men like Bill Hader and Ed Helms will be a reoccurring event, the two male doctors we found Mindy sharing the lounge with showed some talent in their own right. Jeremy - played by Ed Weeks - came across as a blend of Hugh Grant and Friends character Joey Tribbiani.
He is part of the cycle Mindy is trying to break free of, but he also seemed to be a good sounding board for her many issues.
Daniel Castellano (Chris Messina), on the other hand, is anything but a shoulder to cry on, presenting the biggest competition to Mindy in her professional life while engaging in an ongoing exchange of taunts.
Other than Kaling, Messina delivered the most laughs of the episode as he educated Mindy on the proper parlance when speaking about Bruce Springsteen or complained about the doctor's lounge becoming like a highway rest stop.
Mindy may be sleeping with Jeremy to stroke her fragile ego, but it was with Daniel where we saw the most sexual tension. Messina showed that same sharp tongue he displayed while on The Newsroom when he suggested Mindy could stand to lose 15 pounds after she made a dig about his ex-wife in what was the one scene that really brought the light and bubbly pace of the show to a halt.
He did prove he is capable of flattery, though, when he complimented Mindy on her eventual choice of first date dress and later praised her breach delivery. Their relationship will be one to watch, as he seemed to appeal to her when he described himself as the kind of guy to take on burglars and stand by her side in the delivery room. Daniel no doubt was hurt by his marriage's failure, as was Mindy when her former flame dumped her for the Serbian bagel girl... so before these two can come together they have to first make projects of themselves and fix what is causing them each pain and confusion.
Mindy's life certainly is not only about relationships, as we saw when she left what was a promising date with Dennis (Ed Helms) to go and deliver a baby. I very much liked her Clark Kent like transformation from socialite to super-doc when she shed the heels and thong for sneakers and scrubs.
Despite purposely turning on the pilot with my expectations low, I found myself texting friends and family alike to tell them there was a new sitcom they need to check out. Kaling has had the Midas Touch in her short but highly successful career and while tonight's premiere was just the first installment, I think this new project will turn to gold as well.
Be sure to check out and rank the best of The Mindy Project quotes from tonight and let us know what you thought of the premiere.
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