Getting axed by FOX — and subsequently moving to Hulu — was the best thing that’s ever happened to “The Mindy Project.” Free from the rigid rules of broadcast network shows, producer, writer and star Mindy Kaling has shaken up the series in the best kinds of ways.
“The Mindy Project” is a series that has taken awhile to find its rhythm. During the first few seasons on FOX, the show fell flat by following the same old sitcom meet-cute kind of tropes. While it’s understandable that anyone gave up on “Mindy” after Season 3, it’s time for those fans to get back on board. The jokes are much riskier, the characters can finally curse and overall, the series has become funnier than ever.
Season 4 has more laugh out loud moments than the first three seasons combined. It’s not a home-run every week, but it’s consistently funny — with just a handful of not so great (why is this happening?) filler storylines. That’s saying something, considering “Mindy” is one of the few shows still churning out 26 episodes a season.
Here is Zap2it‘s report card for Season 4 of “The Mindy Project.”
Incorporating Leo into show — A+
Baby Leo is quite possibly one of the cutest babies alive. Whoever cast this adorable tot deserves a medal. He steals every scene. And even though Leo is still too young to talk, the writers give him such fantastic storylines. He is not the forgotten baby. So many shows feature characters that have kids, only to never have them on screen — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “Mad Men” come to mind. But Mindy is always keeping tabs on her beloved baby boy.
Jody’s transformation — A
Hello, Doctah! Oh my, what genius move to transform Jody Kimball-Kinney (Garret Dillahunt) from his usual plaid shirt and tie into this strikingly stylish man. Even though the make-over wasn’t meant for Mindy, it was the perfect way to sway audiences into believing that Mindy could fall for this fickle, narcissistic character.
Jody is also the most underrated character on the show. Dillahunt is that unicorn of an actor that is both devastatingly good-looking and absolutely hilarious.
Mindy’s wardrobe — A
Bravo, Salvadore Perez! Mindy’s costume designer works his magic in every scene. The unexpected color palettes blended with fun different patterns result in and incredibly chic Mindy. However, the awesomeness of her outfits made the episode, “So You Think You Can Finance,” very frustrating to watch. It’s hard to feel compassion towards someone complaining about money when they have a new Chanel bag — which cost around $3,000 a pop — for each day of the week. At the same time, Lahiri does need to get her spending habits in order.
The adult friendly tone — B+
One of the funniest episodes of the season was a spoof of how ridiculous dating apps have become, and the series went there with “Mindy Lahiri is DTF.” Hats off! Plus, it’s nice to hear these adults actually using curse words. It helps balance out the sometimes too saccharine-coated storylines.
The finale — B+
Not sure how Mindy has believably pulled off the formation of this crazy love triangle, but we’re so on board. The last words to come out of Mindy’s mouth in Season 4, “Holy shit,” is exactly what we were thinking, too. Part of the show’s strength comes from how easy it is to become invested in these imperfect, yet lovable characters and we can’t wait to find out if she picks Jody or Danny (Chris Messina) come Season 5.
The meta jokes — C
Just because someone says that it’s funny that Mindy is dating all her co-workers, doesn’t actually make it funny. There are a lot of meta jokes tossed around in Season 4 — but instead of garnering laughs — more often than not, they take viewers out of the moment. It comes off like a cop out. If you’re aware it’s a tired or a not entirely believable storyline, be bold and do something else!
Female characters — C-
Other than Mindy, the women on this show come off like over-exaggerated caricatures. A major reason “The Mindy Project” has become so great this season is because of the fearless, strong feminist tone embedded throughout every story. So, it’s odd that all of the female roles aren’t entirely fleshed out. Collette’s (Fortune Feimster) character has thankfully become more real and, in turn, more likable. But Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) and Beverly (Beth Grant) bring nothing interesting to the table.
‘Under the Texan Sun’ — D
Here’s another episode to skip. While we love Peter’s (Adam Pally) tight friendship with Mindy, it’s unclear why he’s still with the awful person that is Lauren (Tracey Wigfield) — she also serves as co-executive producer on the show, so there’s that. Announcing Lauren’s new pregnancy probably means that this annoying character is going to be sticking around for awhile longer.
It’s not just that Lauren’s unlikable, it’s that Peter’s continued obsession with her doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps, the show was trying to go for the more interesting approach of exploring the awkwardness of figuring out how to behave when your best friend is in love with a terrible person, but they missed the mark.
‘There’s No Crying in Softball’ — F
Let’s not mince words here, this was a really bad episode. If you haven’t watched Season 4 yet, take our warning and skip this one. It does nothing to further the story in any way. The plot line is weak and every person is oddly acting out of character, bringing all sorts of repercussions their way. There’s a certain amount of leeway that can be given to sitcoms in regards to believability, but this one was so non-sensical, all humor was lost.