The Mindy Project: Why Only an Idiot Would Miss Out on TV's Funniest Comedy (and You're Not an Idiot)

Executive producer Matt Warburton and writer/star Ike Barinholtz talk to us about why people should be watching their Fox sitcom, which airs tonight at 9:30 p.m.

By Tierney Bricker Nov 19, 2013 9:00 PMTags
The Mindy Project, Mindy KalingFOX

Hey, you. Yeah, you, the one reading this article. We have a question for you: Are you watching The Mindy Project?

If the answer is yes, then well done, you get a cookie and a copy of Taylor Swift's Red, the best album of our time. (Just kidding. You get neither.) But if your answer is no, well, then you're an idiot. (You're missing the funniest comedy on TV. And only an idiot would do that, right?)

We hate to resort to name-calling, but we hate people who don't watch good TV even more. While you were busy not watching, Mindy Kaling's rom-com-gone-wrong has become the best sitcom of the season, an effortlessly cool blend of workplace shenanigans and rom-com-gone-wrong dating woes. Set in an OB/GYN office in NYC (patients, who needs them?!), the show centers on Kaling's character's quest for love, and interactions with a crazy bunch of coworkers. (Something Kaling knows a thing or two about from her time on The Office.)

Fortunately for you, we're givers, so we're giving you six reasons why you should be watching The Mindy Project. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it.

1. Even their jokes have jokes: We often have to watch an episode of TMP (That's what the cool kids call it) multiple times just to catch all the throwaway lines. (Also, because it's that good this season.) Take, for example, Mindy's fantastic Winnie the Pooh reference when she was stuck in a fence ("Oh, bother"), or Jeremy's (Ed Weeks) utter disgust for our country when he was attacked by wind chimes. "Why America?"  

"There's a lot of jokes!" Ike Barinholtz, who plays the lovably wacky and former felon of a nurse Morgan (and who is also a writer on the show), told us at a recent event for the show. "The show gets better when you watch it a second time."

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2. It totally captures the harsh (and hilarious) realities of dating: Any romantic cliche you can think of, you best believe The Mindy Project has turned it on its head and exposed it as the unrealistic ideal it really is. It celebrates and crushes our expectations all at once. Sex in the shower? Not so sexy. The perfect guy on paper ends up having a serious girlfriend and a serious coke problem. (Still miss you in spite of all of that, Josh!) Pretending you're more cultured than you actually are to impress a guy when all you want to do is drive around and listen to the new One Direction album? We've been there and bought property. And winky faces are totally emoji porn. (Preach!)

Watching Cliff (Glenn Howerton) obsessively check his phone to see if he received a text from "Mindy" before resorting to sending a desperate "What are you up to now?" message (aka a last resort in flirt-texting) was like looking into a slightly embarrassing mirror. And who hasn't dealt with this before:

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The point is, Mindy tells it like it is. Love is complicated, messy, fun, heartbreaking and awesome. So is casual dating. And The Mindy Project is able to capture all of that, coming off both as a romantic comedy and as a biting commentary on romantic comedies all at the same time. Basically, it's a unicorn that craps gold.

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3. Guest stars galore: Get some snacks and start hydrating now because it's going to be tomorrow by the time we get through listing just a handful of the amazing guest stars the show has attracted in less than two seasons: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith, Ellie Kemper, Chloe Sevigny, Ed Helms, Seth Meyers, Kris Humphries, Kendra Wilkinson, Vanessa Bayer, Josh Peck…we could go on, but we're tired. (No, why don't you exercise more?!) Oh, and Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn and The Social Network's Max Minghella are set to stop by later this season. (Plus, they know a good thing when they see it, like promoting Happy Endings' Adam Pally to series regular.)

In fact, a lot of people come to the show asking to be on it, with Barinholtz telling us, "People just kind of approach us. Max Minghella kind of just saw Mindy at a party and was like, 'When are you going to put me on the show?' So we put him on."

Um hi, when are you going to put us on the show? (Is that how this works?) 

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4. The friendships are kind of fantastic: And by kind of, we mean completely. One of the show's many highlights is the friendship between Mindy and Morgan, with Barinholtz explaining, "There is such a dedication to her from him because she kind of saved his life that whatever she says, he's on board with. But he gives her tough love! It's a very fun friendship." Morgan's glare of death or utter outrage over anyone saying something negative about his Mindy delights us every time, while his tendency to blindly follow her on any of her adventures sometimes borders on alarming. Basically, Morgan is the Harrison to Mindy's Olivia Pope. (What up, Scandal reference?!)

But The Mindy Project's sweet spot is the relationship between Mindy and Danny (Chris Messina), a will-they-or-won't-they pairing that is a rarity on TV: We're totally fine if it strictly stays platonic as the series has established such a solid foundation of friendship between love-cynic Danny and the love-lover Mindy. As executive producer Matt Warburton told us, "The two characters are so grown up, they're adults; they're in their 30s, they've been through a lot. The fairy-tale option isn't not really on the table. They're so different from each other, so anything that happens won't be the end. There are million ups and downs no matter what."

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But they are also handling the blossoming romance between the duo, especially Danny's realization that has feelings for his fellow doc, very, very well. (This hug. This look. We die.)


5. Mindy is us and we are Mindy: For a single twenty-something, there is no more relatable character on TV than Dr. L. We like to describe ourselves as organized disasters, which Mindy can sometimes be. She has her s--t together, but she still makes mistakes and that's OK. She's just a woman trying to be the Sandra Bullock of her own life and aren't we all, really?

And here are just a few of her "That's so me!" quotes:

"People seem to be having these awesome sex lives, and I'm just trying to find a life partner to go apple-picking with. What's wrong with me?"
"I fell asleep watching Amelie, and when I woke up, I had spilt so much red wine on me that I thought I'd been shot."
"A best friend isn't a person, it's a tier."
"OK, I have to pee. I've been holding in for two hours in the hope that you would ask me out. I think I gave myself a UTI. This is great! It was worth it!"

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Jordin Althaus/FOX

6. Because they said so: When we asked Barinholtz to explain to us why people are idiots for not watching, he said, "I would say I just wish they would allow themselves to not be so stupid! No, no, no I'm kidding. We want every single person possible to watch this. It really is fun and it really is a funny show. It may look like a girls' show to guys, but it's so not. It's so not." (We agree. In fact, the show could just as easily be called The Danny Project.)

Warburton seconded Barinholtz "show-for-all" sentiment, explaining you're an idiot for not watching because, "We have this great central character, but we also have this great ensemble and I think, hopefully, there's something for everyone. That's always been our intention, to make it something for young people, for old people, men, women, everybody. I hope that comes through."

Barinholtz, please play us out: "Stop wasting your life and get your ass on your couch on Tuesday night on 9:30 and watch the show."

The Mindy Project airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. on Fox. 

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