It’s morning round-up time, with quick reviews of last night’s episodes of “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project,” coming up just as soon as I spend $49.95 on a subscription to an inaccurate, real-time actuarial service…
It’s funny how often you’ll see two or more shows in the same sitcom bloc tell the same kind of story on the same night, albeit in ways specific to each show. So while both “New Girl” and did stories about characters in their 30s trying to hang with ones in their 20s, they didn’t feel like copies of each other.
For “New Girl,” the micro-gap between our characters and the kids in the loft down the hall was the driver for Jess, Schmidt, Nick and Winston to all confront the nature of their own identities. Nick’s prank war on old man Schmidt(*) was the funniest of these, particularly Schmidt not even noticing how deeply he kept sinking into the chair, but it was the rare episode where it felt like all four roommates’ stories got told properly. (Though Winston’s piece of things, as always, felt slighter than the others, his inability to find a good pranking sweet spot made for a good gag that ran parallel to what Nick was doing to Schmidt.) Zooey Deschanel did a fine job of appropriating ’80s sitcom catchphrases, and this was a good example of Jess being quirky but still a recognizable human being.
(*) All the promos for this episode had a bit where Schmidt tries to impress the neighbors by quoting “Jerry Maguire,” but the scene didn’t survive to the final cut.
“The Mindy Project,” meanwhile, only briefly touched on the idea that Shauna considers Mindy too old to hang with her at a club like this. Mainly, “In the Club” was an excuse to put most of the cast (save the absent Tobolowsky and the barely-used Anna Camp) in the setting and let them be funny with one another. It felt very much like the “Cafe Disco” episode of “The Office,” or the first season finale of “Parks and Recreation,” where there’s not much plot, but a pleasant vibe and a bunch of likable and funny people enjoying each other’s company. In the long run, “The Mindy Project” is going to succeed less on whether you can do a weekly half-hour version of a Meg Ryan movie and more on whether this combination of people are ones we’ll want to watch. “In the Club” suggested they are, and this take on Mindy herself felt like a more self-aware, sustainable version of the character, even if she felt more like the straight woman to the supporting cast this week.
What did everybody else think?