Here is all you need to know about The Mindy Project before you dive into the romantic comedy-inspired sitcom with a passion for Sandra Bullock.
What’s the story?
The Mindy Project is the colourful comedy vision of the creator, writer and star Mindy Kaling. Within the sitcom, Mindy Lahiri works as a gynecologist whose life is in constant state of growth, regression and reinvention. Whether it be through loud sequin tops, drunken speeches or sexy Crayola costumes, Mindy is happy to try new improvement methods in every episode. Working in New York City, she’s presented with the same hurdles as most sitcom characters – juggling professional responsibilities, forging romantic relationships and just trying to be better. It’s a formula that works for a reason.
Prepare to spend a lot of time in the small medical practice where Mindy works – but don’t start thinking that this show is anything remotely close to the boring sap of Grey’s Anatomy. The characters are fumbling, awkward and often make disastrous life choices – it’s no coincidence here that Mindy Kaling cut her comedy teeth writing and starring in the US reboot of The Office.
What’s the vibe?
Existing in what looks like the same vibrantly-hued universe as New Girl, The Mindy Project will feel undoubtedly feel like several sitcoms you’ve seen before. That’s not say that things feel tired, any recognisable sitcom elements are assembled in a way that manages to feel bold and fresh. Just like a sexy cut-out on a crayon costume. The cheery energy and frenetic pace is not unlike The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – but things seldom boil over into dangerous cheesy territory (sometimes we indulge).
Mindy’s disappointment with her own life’s failure to meet rom-com standards means that the story always stays grounded, shades of 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon keeps Mindy real as she flounders through dating life and Microwave Meals for One cookbooks. I couldn’t help but recognise the assured confidence of Amy Schumer also shining through – Mindy is not one to sit at home on a Saturday night eating night cheese. If you are partial to the lashings of surrealism in Broad City, you’ll see sprinklings of it throughout The Mindy Project. Is that enough good company yet? Surely.
Who do you need to know to get started?
Our bubbly heroine has a deep obsession with romantic comedies, a trait which has no doubt informed her extremely typical goal to find a balance between life, love and work in the big city. Brimming with confidence, she charges around the doctor’s office with all the gusto of a mad woman trying to get into the VIP area of a club full of NBA players (aka herself). I guarantee you will see something of Mindy in yourself – at the very least in that she’s just trying to find a happy ending.
Danny Castellano, aside from having one of the greatest names in sitcom history, manages be to both the love interest and eternal frenemy of Mindy. He’s a doctor with strong views about religion, how to correctly draw the sun, and how to conduct himself with his patients: “Daniel Castellano, I’m the man that’s gonna take a person out of you. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, okay?”
Mindy’s best friend Gwen is everything that Mindy isn’t. After they moved to New York together as single women, fancy Princeton graduate Gwen quickly got married and had a baby. Now, they perfectly reflect the weird grey area in your 20s and 30s where half the population are raising a family and the other half are only wearing one shoe. Phone calls between Mindy and Gwen’s daughter Riley are some of the funniest moments on the show.
A British “ladies man” and work supervisor to Mindy, Jeremy is amazingly hapless for the big guy in charge. He’s known for office-based sexual escapades and a fair bit of stress eating.
My favourite staff member, Morgan is a nurse who seems to exclusively wear a matching blue tracksuit, no matter what the occasion. He has gone into medicine after a life of teenage theft, the only reminder of which is a “No More Stealing Cars” tattoo across his belly.
What else to look out for?
Shout out to The Mindy Project costume department for making each scene chocka-block with some seriously beautiful clothing. Mindy looks like she has been ceremoniously vomited on by a beautiful rainbow in every episode – and I mean that with the highest of praise. Don’t even get me started on her jaw-dropping array of Christine Rankin-style earrings. Another thing to keep your eyes and ears peeled for are the deluge of rom-com references that flow through almost every scene. Hanks fans, Firth fans, love fans – rejoice.
How to watch it?
If you haven’t caught up yet, or are watching for the very first time, pour yourself a nice cup of Mindy’s favourite drink (red wine with ice) and binge seasons 1-4 on Lightbox. Be a television warrior. Be Beyonce Pad Thai.
This content, like all our television coverage at The Spinoff, is brought you thanks to the truly wonderful people at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this fantastic service.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.