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Mindy Kaling clocks out of The Office and sets up shop on her new program, one almost as outrageous and bubbly as she is....
Universal / 520 Minutes / 2012-2013 / Unrated / Street Date: August 13, 2013
Even its most strident defenders must admit that The Mindy Project on this Season One set is all over the map. Mindy Kaling was a crackerjack during her stint on The Office, yet even though her central character on this comedy is more deeply flushed-out, the world around is often deceptively unreliable. It turns out, though, that this slippery uncertainty is The Mindy Project’s grandest attribute.
Defining the show as a sitcom norm devalues it – at its core, it’s about Mindy (playing herself) and the other doctors who work in her office trying to figure out how to live and love in the modern world – so let’s stay instead on its fringier elements. The charisma (of, I guess, its inverse) that torpedoes so many of Mindy’s dates here is sensationally vivid, and the wide range of cameos – from folks like Ed Helms, Chloe Sevigny, and Bill Hader – are never easy walk-ons: these familiar faces are given strange, complicated things to do.
So while The Mindy Project: Season One can’t be labeled a full-blown success, this TV-on-DVD collection nevertheless showcases a bright young show that may have its best days in front of it. Kaling and her co-conspirators here aren’t afraid to take risks, they aren’t willing to smile meekly and take the easy way out: no, the world on display in The Mindy Project is a volatile, exciting work in progress, and it’s frequently thrilling to simply experience it and wonder at its ballsy chutzpah.