I don’t like The Mindy Project for the opposite reason why I don’t care for Super Fun Night. One is lacking a cohesive point of view; the other’s POV is all too clear.
For a sophomore sitcom, The Mindy Project feels unforgivably sloppy. Things were bad enough when Mindy Kaling—who has a clear, distinctive voice as a writer and performer—debuted with a series she created and wrote and wasted the first episodes with unnecessary backtracking. Mindy and her fellow ob-gyns have a boss! Oops, no they don’t. They have a sexy receptionist! Nope, fire her! It’s a show about co-workers! Er, about dating mishaps! Both? Can we send co-workers out on double dates? We’ve hired a wacky male nurse? Put him in every scene.
By the time they brought back Beth Grant as a mean nurse, the writing was on the wall: No one knew what direction they wanted to take the show. And in the second season, that indecisiveness is even more pronounced. The hot British doctor who started the series as Mindy’s bad-boy crush and friend with benefits is now paunchy and persnickety. There are three nurses (only male nurse Morgan gets anything to do, possibly because he’s a writer on the show), and Mindy’s engagement is briskly dispensed with sans logic or story continuity. Her preacher boyfriend, who just spent six months helping out in Haiti, decides to be a DJ? Of course! The obvious next career step.
If one can’t tell from watching The Mindy Project what the show is supposed to be, it’s all too clear what the message of Super Fun Night is: These girls are losers. “Isn’t it great that TV finally has a real misfit,” feature writers and pundits are saying, “instead of adorkable girls like Zooey Dechanel?” Of course, the misfit Rebel Wilson has created is simply the opposite end of the spectrum from Deschanel, and equally as false. Her Kimmie (a lawyer!) is so socially awkward and uncomfortable that she could never possibly exist, let alone get a promotion at a very fancy law firm. And watching Wilson dance and hop around her living room trying to put on Spanx is not funny—it’s lazy.
Wilson and company aren’t doing anything new or revolutionary on ABC Tuesday nights; the characters Wilson has created are so egregiously cardboard that the audience has no empathy for them. Wilson may get the last laugh by laughing at herself first, but there’s none of that steely strength to Kimmie, who eagerly waits for an opportunity to crumble in the face of meanness. If Kaling squandered audience’s expectations by letting her show flounder, then Wilson has squandered expectations by refusing her social misfits an ounce of personality other than one salient character trait. Both women deserve better—that they’re in charge just makes it more depressing. Watch Trophy Wife on ABC instead. Terrible title, great show.