Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Mindy Project

The Mindy Project
Episode 10: Mindy's Brother
By: Carlos Uribe

The Mindy Project is about an OB/GYN named Mindy.

Spoilers Ahoy?

As I finished watching this episode, I found myself wondering just what exactly is this show supposed to be. It's not a new question as I believe I've talked about this in order reviews. It's been a concern since the beginning of the series but it's one that keeps coming up when it shouldn't. We're ten episodes in and the Mindy Project has shown no progress that it has found it's identity. This has led to problems of balancing tones and it's hard to point to an episode as a typical “Mindy Project” episode because it has yet to find a voice. There's strides being made behind-the-scenes to try and adjust the show so that it gains a focus but it's pretty clear that these changes are going to occur after this episode. Why? It remains unfocused without a clear sense of vision or any consistency in it's humor. The Mindy Project is back from it's hiatus fall but it's clear that this series is still finding itself. Considering that it's been ten episodes and it's getting more and more difficult to defend it. These changes need to occur fast before it bleeds away the low ratings it has.

If you're wondering just exactly what I'm talking to, one only needs to look at what this episode was about. It involves Mindy's personal life and her relationship with her brother. This wouldn't make for a bad story if the series had already found it's voice and if the side characters had been developed sufficiently to justify spending time setting up a potentially recurring character. Mindy's entire plot revolves around struggling to support her brother when he wants to drop out of college to become a rapper. It's this kind of plot that suggests that the series is more interested in exploring Mindy's personal life than her professional life but it's undermined by other episodes and because it brings her brother into her practice multiple times. The plot with her brother is nice family-building but it needed to wait until it had figured out everything before doing so. If it had, then the series could have integrated a plot where it naturally fit into the show rather than having it just happen for the sake of it. Mindy's brother comes into the show and it's yet another piece that doesn't quite fit into a puzzle. It doesn't help matters that the actor they casted had very little screen presence.

What about the sub-plot? It was an office-related plot that happened outside of the office. Jeremy and Danny find out that the rent has been doubled and they decide to try and fix it. This requires going to a senior home in order to talk to their landlord. They're only able to get him to help them when they agree to allow him to dance with a lady that he has a crush on. The predictable twist is that they help him steal away another man's wife. While this sub-plot did have some funny lines (mostly from Danny) it was a bit too sit-commish for it too really work. Once again there is some tonal issues as the main plot and the sub-plot legitimately feel like they belong on two different shows. The main plot feels like a single-camera plot while the sub-plot feels like a multi-camera one. The change in tone is noticeable and glaring. In other words, the office sub-plot doesn't really fit into the show. It doesn't help that it largely takes place away from the workplace.

Mindy's Brother is simply another Mindy Project episode that highlights the fact that it's simply all over the place. The promised changes are still on the horizon. This is fine but it's already mid-season and this show has yet to grow substantially. It's still pretty funny but it's troubling that it's having difficult finding itself after all this time.

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