Morning TV Round-Up: ‘New Girl’ and ‘The Mindy Project’

Senior Television Writer
11.13.13 33 Comments


It’s (late) morning round-up time, with quick thoughts on last night’s “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project” coming up just as soon as I say it with words and say it with the Ghostbusters thing…

These two episodes were a good example of the value I wind up placing on character investment when it comes to most of my comedy viewing. This was another sloppy, disjointed “New Girl” episode that I ultimately didn’t mind because I like these characters, while a much sharper and better-constructed “Mindy” left me cold because I just don’t have any attachment to any of the regulars.

It was announced last week that Damon Wayans Jr. will be staying all season on “New Girl.” He’s a very funny performer, some issues still need to be worked out with Coach’s return. This was a better and more likable version than what we got last week, but his presence continues to push Winston to the margins (and why would Winston ever risk eating Chinese food if he’s that allergic to MSG?), and for the moment his return and Schmidt’s relocation (even if just down the hall) makes the whole show feel out of balance, rather than giving it some new energy. That said, Jess being repeatedly foiled by evil restaurateur Brian was amusing, and the final scene at the beach had the kind of warmth that keeps me sticking with the show even during a creative rough patch like we’ve gotten this fall.

As for “The Mindy Project,” I thought this was probably the best-written episode the show has done. The guys sexting on Mindy’s behalf, for instance, had a high potential for hackiness, but was done cleverly, with the joke being as much on Morgan and Peter as on Mindy for being unaware of what was happening. And Chloe Silverado is just a funny name. But because of the show’s constant reinventions of itself, I feel no connection to most of the supporting characters (Danny being the lone exception), and I ultimately don’t like the take on Mindy the character that Mindy the writer (and friends) have landed on. Liking characters isn’t essential to successful comedy – see the works of Larry David and Ricky Gervais, for instance – but you’re setting the laugh bar much higher in that case, and “Mindy” isn’t clearing it for me. Your mileage will obviously vary, and most of my TV critic friends really dug this one, but I think I’ve reached Not For Me status with the show.

What did everybody else think?

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