Movies + TV

Literally the Best Thing Ever: The Mindy Project

I would be content if it was just half an hour of all the characters talking over a screensaver.

The Mindy Project is a show where the lead gains confidence by channeling a warrior named Beyoncé Pad Thai. It is a show where teenagers at a swanky high school have a class called History of Dubstep. It is a show where a bright blue alcoholic drink is compared to the liquid used in pad commercials. It is a show that is, literally, THE BEST THING EVER.

First things first: It’s on Tuesday nights on Fox; it’s also on Hulu. Mindy Kaling, who created the show, stars as Mindy Lahiri, a gynecologist who is great at her job and not great at romance or at being a good person (but is working on both). It’s not necessarily plot-driven (it doesn’t need to be; I would be content even if the show was just all of the characters talking over a visual of a bouncy screensaver), but everyone has enough layers and potential for growth to be worth caring about. My favorites so far are Mindy and her colleague Danny, and I hope they get together in season 14, because I intend to keep the show going that long through my many Hulu viewings and because I will need a lot of time to prepare for something that will surely be an emotional experience for us all.

And, oh, Ike Barinholtz (from MADtv like five years ago), playing a nurse who initially tries to get people to call him “Ransom,” is a revelation. It’s too early for any clips to be on YouTube, so you just have to trust me when I say he goes to a trendy club with a duffel bag and a sudoku book and that he kills it in every episode.

The Mindy Project is good at helping you reconcile seemingly contradictory things, like your deep affection for romantic comedies and the pain you know you’re in for if you try to live your life like you’re in one. Or caring about how you look and knowing that you shouldn’t. Mindy Lahiri can be obsessive and silly and self-righteous and self-destructive, but she’s also really good at her job and cares genuinely about being a good person and friend. The humor and delight of the show come not from seeing her do something stupid and being like, “That Mindy, will she ever learn?!” It comes from seeing her do something stupid even though she knows it’s stupid, and watching the resulting moment of self-reflection—or the lengths to which she’ll go to avoid it.

Her “project” might seem like it’s just about finding a man or being unslutty, but now that we’re seven episodes in, it’s clear that she just wants general better-ness. To grow up a little. Right now, I would guess that she pictures her goal as sort of a vague swirl of stuff like Tom Hanks and kale and the kind of Buddhism where you decide to also be super wealthy. But she’s too cynical to buy into that completely (“Maybe I’ll do one of those Eat, Pray, Love things. Ugh, I don’t wanna pray. I’ll just die alone”), and too earnest for the show to become a perpetual rant about spinster fears. She’s sarcastic, but she’s hopeful, and when you add it all together, it is just really, really funny.

I laughed harder at last night’s episode than any other. In it, Mindy visits a very hip high school to talk her teen neighbor out of having sex. All the students are really into slime—literally, just slime—and carry it around and use the word slime as a slang expression. This phenomenon is ingeniously never explained. Mindy suddenly becomes a prudish grandma and is very proud of herself for being older than everyone else. What follows is an amazing scene where she explains to a gym class full of young women that vampires aren’t real and love usually doesn’t last forever—but it’s not like weird abstinence propaganda, just a helpful FYI, and then she gets caught giving condoms to teenage girls and exits with the line “IF I WAS A WHITE MALE I BET YOU WOULDN’T—no, yeah, you probably would.” Later, she is super psyched about meeting a gay teen and self-righteously tells him, “It gets better.” He doesn’t see how this is possible—the very hip high school is just SO HIP that it really couldn’t get any better—and, as if to demonstrate this point, he catches a guy looking at him from across the hall and yells out, “YOU WISH, STEVEN.” More funny stuff is said and all of a sudden it’s over. Once I rewatch it there will be maybe 20 hilarious things I missed. It happens every time. ♦

37 Comments

  • heartshapedbox November 28th, 2012 11:14 PM

    OMG YES

  • jenaimarley November 28th, 2012 11:22 PM

    I heard Mindy on NPR talking about her new show a while back and got super excited but never ended up watching it, so thanks for the reminder! <3

  • Kennedy November 28th, 2012 11:26 PM

    The Mindy Project is seriously my favorite show besides New Girl and How I Met Your Mother. Mindy is hilarious, and the supporting cast is amazing. And her boyfriend is kinda cute. The whole show is just so slime. ;)

  • lizzyheinie November 28th, 2012 11:28 PM

    My favorite ever Mindy moment was when Danny was interviewing her about her exercise habits…

    Mindy: I do the elliptical, forty five minutes four days a week.
    Danny: [...]
    Mindy: Thirty minutes three timesa week.
    Danny: [...]
    Mindy: There is a cluster of elliptical machines at my gym.

    Which basically just sums up my entire approach when it comes to physical activity.

    • periwinkle_dreams November 29th, 2012 9:31 AM

      yes! I love that part. but you forgot the end:

      Mindy: I’m planning on joining a gym near my house, OK??

      oh, and then –

      Danny (writing as he speaks): Sedentary.
      Mindy: That’s rude.

      I love this show so much :D

    • raggedyanarchy November 29th, 2012 12:01 PM

      I’m planning on joining a gym near my house, okay?

      • lizzyheinie December 14th, 2012 3:56 PM

        “/Almost/ takes fish oil…”

  • thebrownette November 28th, 2012 11:29 PM

    i love this show so much <3

  • DreamBoat November 28th, 2012 11:36 PM

    TAVI I THINK I’M TOTALLY GOING TO WATCH THIS NOW OMGGGG
    IT SOUNDS SO GOOD AND FUNNY AND I LOVE THIS ARTICLE

    http://psychedelicdaisy.blogspot.com

  • morganosaur November 28th, 2012 11:41 PM

    YESSS The Mindy Project is my latest obsession!! I was DYING during the episode “Danny Castellano Is My Gynecologist” because SERIOUSLY Danny and Mindy’s pride put together is comedy gold.

  • Adrienne November 29th, 2012 12:07 AM

    I love The Mindy Project! Each episode is getting funnier and funnier. And I really want her and Danny to get together as well. <3

  • 510elise November 29th, 2012 12:14 AM

    I fell in love with this show as soon as I stumbled upon the first episode on Hulu. I continued to re-watch and re-watch that episode until the second came out. Thank you so much for featuring this show! Also, it’s good to see an article from Tavi, I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve read her thoughts. ;)

  • newfaceofoldhollywood November 29th, 2012 1:22 AM

    I love Mindy so much. SO MUCH. New favorite show. Funniest show on Fox Tuesdays. Make sure to read her book if you haven’t. I read it this Summer, I feel like we’re BFFs now

  • Amy Rose November 29th, 2012 1:27 AM

    I love this show and ESPECIALLY Ike Barinholtz on it so beyond so much.

  • Kaede November 29th, 2012 1:41 AM

    YES! I love this show. My roommate and I laughed so hard at last night’s episode!

  • soretudaaa November 29th, 2012 8:40 AM

    I have the biggest crush on Danny its INSANE.

    • Tavi November 29th, 2012 3:58 PM

      Him dancing!!

      • soretudaaa December 4th, 2012 8:01 PM

        And singing Piano Man!!! <3 <3 <3

        /fangirl mode.

  • artobsessed November 29th, 2012 11:00 AM

    On picking locks: “[In prison] They used to call me the Lochness Monster… mostly because I showed up blurry in photos.”

    classic Nurse Morgan moment

  • farawayfaerie November 29th, 2012 11:06 AM

    You can’t watch it outside of the United States :’( WHY Hulu, whyyyyyy? this sounds hilarious.

    Tavi, sometimes I get so emotional and sentimental when I re-visit your blog, just to re-read some of your old posts, and then I get really annoyed with the world for not being really angry with you for ditching it! (not that you’ve officially ditched it, but it’s starting to feel that way…). But then I’m reminded of all of the amazing spaces you have opened up by creating ROOKIE, and of the amazing people you have gathered to work with you, all to create the next ARMY OF FEMINISTS! Which is totally really much needed and very important and just the most incredible journey I’ve been able to witness. And also I love you and could never hate you for more than a split second, and you’re really good at writing… I think I’m done kthanksbye x

  • rayano-banano November 29th, 2012 12:48 PM

    Yeah this show is hilarious! Love Mindy!

    Check out my new movie blog guys!

    http://thisismyluckystar.blogspot.com

  • Holls November 29th, 2012 12:57 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks that Josh is amazing? I hope that Mindy and Danny get together in season 14 also, but after she has a good run with Josh. He cracks me up!

  • Mary the freak November 29th, 2012 1:59 PM

    Haven’t read it yet but this article and this show have to be super awesome and perfect because Tavi wrote it! <33

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

  • RitaChristine November 29th, 2012 3:26 PM

    This is definitely my favourite show at the moment. The last episode this article mentions was pretty hiliarous. Best part – Mindy struggling to sit on the bean bag chair. Died laughing. But seriously, I love her character. As a single young woman who just doesn’t fit in sometimes, I relate to her. I love that she’s not super skinny, she’s not white, and she has a great career and is single (well, she was when the show started). I think this show is going somewhere with its representation of the 21st century woman. :)

  • bookworm123 November 29th, 2012 3:31 PM

    I discovered this show while home sick and I LOVE IT SO MUCH and Mindy Lahiri is my spirit animal AND IT’S JUST THE BEST AND I LOVE IT.

  • insteadofanelephant November 29th, 2012 3:50 PM

    gosh i really need to see this show.

    instead of an elephant

  • Hannah L November 29th, 2012 6:13 PM

    I was so waiting for this article

  • wiltedrues November 29th, 2012 7:14 PM

    I was so excited when I saw the preview for this, and the article was great! I totally agree with you on the Mindy/Danny thing, btw. Thanks for reminding me to watch the latest episode :)

  • Laura Lemon November 29th, 2012 8:33 PM

    Ohmygoodness, MINDY!!!
    I LOVE her! she’s a GENIUS!

  • periwinkle_dreams November 29th, 2012 9:59 PM

    I just re-watched Tuesday’s episode and discovered this awesome line I’d forgotten about:

    “So the florist was closed, but I wanted to get you something girly, so I popped into the pharmacy and got you some of these travel-sized deodorants.”

    Mindy Kaling, I love you so much xD

  • carabear November 29th, 2012 10:05 PM

    I <3 Mindy soooo much!! Also I so badly want a relationship between her and Danny!!! Every time you see them together there's so much tension!!

  • thunderbirds November 30th, 2012 7:46 AM

    totally in love with this show!!

  • Pearl November 30th, 2012 7:47 AM

    The Mindy Project is so good! And Nurse Morgan is like the best character on the show! Ugh Mindy is so beautiful :’)

    http://www.pforpearl.blogspot.com

  • Bloom December 1st, 2012 11:12 PM

    ugh man no one i know even watches this n u ladies feel me on this it’s the best like ah it’s slime

  • aud85220 January 30th, 2013 11:01 PM

    The show is pure magic, I swear. Tuesday’s episode (about When Harry Met Sally) was flawless. <33

  • irismonster May 26th, 2013 6:11 PM

    I was just watching that show and thinking about how, in Tavi’s TED talk, she talked about how tv shows and the media in general should represent multi-faceted women… and the Mindy Project does that so well. Mindy is a smart successful doctor AND she isn’t ashamed to be obsessed with romantic comedies.

    … not to mention that MIA’s Bad Girls is in the soundtrack.