TV: ‘The Mindy Project’ gets professional

By Nicolien Buholzer | | @nicobuholzer
The Mindy Project airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.

Something about The Mindy Project keeps me wanting to watch more. While it’s most likely Mindy Kaling’s quick wit (“Like anyone who goes to a bookstore, I wasn’t there to buy books. I do that on the Internet. I get 50 percent off, free shipping and no tax.”), I have a nagging feeling she keeps hooking me with guest appearances by all my favorite Saturday Night Live actors. In the pilot, it was Bill Hader. This week, it was Seth Meyers. If these guys are agreeing to work on this show, The Mindy Project obviously has something going for it.

If Taran Killam shows up, I’ll be hooked.

While the charming Seth Meyers scene obviously hits on Mindy’s desire to find love, “Hiring and Firing” moves away from her obsession with her love life and focuses more on her as a partner at her medical practice. And I couldn’t be happier. I said last week I hoped the show would grab the “independent lady kicking butt at work” torch and run with it, and it’s looking like it will.

Mindy calls a meeting to fire the practice’s completely inadequate nurse, and in the meeting she manages to snag the duty of hiring a new nurse. Danny (Chris Messina) couldn’t be more against the idea. As one of the two original partners, he is less than happy with giving up responsibility. He wriggles his way into still supervising Mindy’s hiring, and the two sit in on countless ridiculous, yet mildly amusing, interviews — including one winning candidate, in my book, who’s more than obsessed with Springsteen.

They bicker constantly, even driving away the perfect nurse with their squabbling, and it couldn’t be more obvious the two are supposed to have that “will they, won’t they?” feel for the entire show. Maybe they’ll never get together, but frankly, I’m already ready for them to either get together or stop with the bickering. With Danny’s frequent digs at Mindy’s weight, he’s lost my vote in being her primary love interest.

The two never agree on a candidate for the new position, and Mindy then discovers that Jeremy (Ed Weeks) never actually followed through in firing the old nurse. It seems no one has the cajones to actually look someone in the face and fire them, but Mindy finally steps up and does the job. The old nurse promptly lands a punch on Mindy’s face, and one of the more ridiculous nurse candidates (Morgan “Ransom” Tookers, an ex-convict) steps in to calm her down.

With blood all over her face, Mindy declares Ransom hired, and while Danny objects, Marc Shulman (Stephen Tobolowsky) agrees that Mindy’s earned the right to hire.

In this episode, as in the pilot, it becomes evident that The Mindy Project might be infinitely more successful in keeping “quirky” from becoming annoying than in New Girl. Zooey Deschanel simply fails at being a leading lady, and the quirkiness becomes overwhelmingly grating. Kaling, for whatever reason, is able to bring that element to her show without making you reach for the remote control — or click to a different website.


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