September 24, 2012
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SJP


'Mindy Project' gives the gift of gab
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Mindy Kaling, cast member, creator and executive producer of the new comedy series "the Mindy project", speaks during a panel discussion at the Fox television network portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

There is a physical element to being the star of her own TV show that Mindy Kaling did not expect.

"This is one of the silliest things, but my mouth gets tired," said Kaling, whose new sitcom The Mindy Project debuts Tuesday on Fox and Citytv. "It gets tired from acting so much, because there are so many lines.

"On The Office I'd be waiting all day for my one Kelly line in the conference scene or something. And now I'm relieved when there are scenes where other people are talking.

"And this is from someone who loves to talk, so that's saying a lot."

Kaling surely hopes that soon everyone will be talking about The Mindy Project, which has vied with The New Normal for the title of most anticipated new sitcom of the fall 2012 campaign.

While The New Normal, which debuted a couple of weeks ago, has an elaborate plot setup, The Mindy Project -- created and written by Kaling -- is pretty straightforward.

Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, a successful doctor in her early 30s who grew up addicted to romantic comedies. As an adult she seems to be able to find sex whenever she wants it, but she has been consistently disappointed in her attempts to find love.

She wants to be a better person and live a better life. As she confides in the first episode, "There's no reason for me to live my life like this. I went to a good college. I am a doctor. My body mass index is not great, but I'm not like Precious or anything."

It's notable Kaling's character says that to a friend in The Mindy Project, whereas her old character Kelly Kapoor on The Office probably would have said it to documentary filmmakers.

"I can't look to camera," said Kaling, pointing out the structural differences between the two shows.

"One of the weirdest things is, my inclination is to look to camera and say, 'How weird is this?' But then I remember, these characters don't do that, this isn't a mockumentary."

No, The Mindy Project isn't a mockumentary, but it is something of a rom-com, in sitcom form.

At the outset the two guys in Dr. Lahiri's life are smarmy Jeremy (played by Ed Weeks), who regards her as a booty call, and caustic Danny (played by Chris Messina), who regards her as a silly inferior. Both those male characters will get irritating quickly if there isn't more to them.

The subtext, of course, is that maybe Mindy and Danny are perfect for each other, but they don't realize it yet because they drive each other too crazy with their combative banter.

We know Mindy Kaling has the gift of the gab. She admitted as much.

It's a good sign if she gets tired of talking on The Mindy Project, as long as the audience doesn't get tired of listening.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca




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