The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project intertitle.png
Genre
Created byMindy Kaling
Starring
ComposerJesse Novak
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes117 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Mychelle Deschamps
  • Jeremy Bronson
  • Ike Barinholtz
  • David Stassen
  • Lorie Zerweck
  • Dan Kaplow (pilot)
Editors
  • David Rogers
  • Rob Burnett
  • Mat Greenleaf
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22–31 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original network
Picture formatHDTV 720p
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseSeptember 25, 2012 (2012-09-25) –
November 14, 2017 (2017-11-14)

The Mindy Project is an American romantic comedy television series created by and starring Mindy Kaling that began airing on Fox in September 2012 and finished its run of six seasons on Hulu in November 2017.[2][3] The series was co-produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Plot

The series follows obstetrician/gynecologist, Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) as she tries to balance her personal and professional life,[4] surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small medical practice in New York City. The character was inspired by Kaling's own mother, an OB/GYN. Mindy explores life with the help of her co-workers: Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), her best friend and love interest, whose religious sensibilities occasionally cause some tension; Jeremy Reed, an English physician who manages the practice; Peter Prentice, another physician who was a fraternity jock while attending Dartmouth; Morgan Tookers, a wacky, yet lovable registered nurse and an ex-con; Tamra Webb, a blunt nurse; and Beverley, the libidinous older office receptionist.[5]

Cast and characters

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Mindy Kaling Dr. Mindy Kuhel Lahiri / Dr. L Main
Chris Messina Dr. Daniel Alan "Danny" Castellano / Dr. C Main Guest Recurring
Ed Weeks Dr. Jeremiah "Jeremy" Reed Main
Anna Camp Gwendolyn "Gwen" Grandy Main Guest Does not appear
Zoe Jarman Betsy Putch Main Does not appear
Amanda Setton Shauna Dicanio Main Does not appear
Stephen Tobolowsky Dr. Marc Shulman Main Does not appear Guest Does not appear
Ike Barinholtz Nurse Morgan Tookers Main
Beth Grant Beverley Janiszewski Main
Xosha Roquemore Nurse Tamra Webb Recurring Main
Adam Pally Dr. Peter Prentice Does not appear Main Recurring Guest
Garret Dillahunt Dr. Jody Kimball-Kinney Does not appear Main
Fortune Feimster Nurse Colette Kimball-Kinney Does not appear Main
Rebecca Rittenhouse Dr. Anna Ziev / Dr. Z Does not appear Main

Main

Recurring

Episodes

Main article: List of The Mindy Project episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
124September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25)May 14, 2013 (2013-05-14)Fox
222September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)May 6, 2014 (2014-05-06)
321September 16, 2014 (2014-09-16)March 24, 2015 (2015-03-24)
426September 15, 2015 (2015-09-15)July 5, 2016 (2016-07-05)Hulu
514October 4, 2016 (2016-10-04)March 28, 2017 (2017-03-28)
610September 12, 2017 (2017-09-12)November 14, 2017 (2017-11-14)

Production and development

The series was initially commissioned by NBC, but the pilot with the working title It's Messy was released from NBC's projects on January 27, 2012. NBC then sent the script to Fox executives who read it over that following weekend. On January 30, 2012, Fox green-lit the pilot, with Mindy Kaling attached to star.[6]

On May 9, 2012, Fox placed a series order for the comedy.[7] Two days later, the title was changed from It's Messy to The Mindy Project.[8] On August 27, 2012, the pilot episode was made available to view online on various sites including Fox, in an attempt to garner interest in the series. On October 8, 2012, Fox ordered a full season of The Mindy Project.[9] On March 4, 2013, the series was renewed for a second season,[10] which began on September 17, 2013. On November 21, 2013, Fox announced that The Mindy Project would take a mid-season hiatus, before returning on April 1, 2014.[11] Fox announced the third season renewal of The Mindy Project on March 7, 2014.[12]

On May 6, 2015, Fox cancelled the series after three seasons.[13] On May 15, 2015, Hulu picked up the show, commissioning a 26 episode fourth season.[14] On May 4, 2016, Hulu announced it had picked up the series for a 16-episode season 5,[15] which was later reduced to 14.[16] On March 29, 2017, Kaling announced the series would return for a sixth and final season; the final episode of the series aired on November 14, 2017.[3]

Casting announcements for the remaining series regular roles began in February 2012, with Ed Weeks cast in the role of Dr. Jeremy Reed, a sexy, British doctor in the practice.[17] Zoe Jarman and Dana Delorenzo then joined in series regular roles. Jarman signed on to play Betsy Putch, an upbeat receptionist at the practice; whilst Delorenzo joined as Shauna Dicanio, a young, party loving receptionist in the practice.[18] In mid-March, Chris Messina joined the cast as Dr. Danny Castellano, an arrogant doctor who works at the practice.[19] Shortly after, Anna Camp boarded the series as Gwen Grandy, a stay-at-home mom and Mindy's best friend.[20]

A few months later, Amanda Setton, Stephen Tobolowsky and Ike Barinholtz joined the series. Setton replaced Dana DeLorenzo in the role of Shauna; Tobolowsky joined in the series regular role of Dr. Marc Shulman, the senior partner of the practice; and Barinholtz signed onto the recurring role of Morgan Tookers, a quirky rehabilitated ex-con who joins the practice as a nurse.[21]

Cast changes

The first change occurred when Stephen Tobolowsky's role was eliminated after the second episode – following re-shoots that saw his character be re-written into a mere authoritarian figure in the office – when it was decided that "they didn't really want Mindy to have a boss in the office".[22] Tobolowsky returned, albeit in a voice-over only role, in the eighth episode to explain that his character had retired. The second change of the season, which was first reported on November 20, 2012, saw Amanda Setton's role also eliminated entirely and Anna Camp downgraded to a recurring cast member. They both departed after the twelfth episode.[23] Despite becoming a recurring cast member, Camp only made a single appearance in the seventeenth episode.[24] Neither Setton or Camp's characters had their absence referenced, nor were they mentioned again.

The first change for the second season, which occurred before production of the season began, saw Xosha Roquemore upgraded to a series regular role after recurring in the final three episodes of the previous season.[25] The second change, which occurred just prior to the production of the season's fifth episode, resulted in Adam Pally also being upgraded to a series regular role. He had previously signed onto the series in a recurring role but had filmed only two episodes prior to being promoted.[26]

The first change of the third season occurred prior to the start of production and saw Zoe Jarman's role eliminated from the show.[27] Like Setton and Camp's departures in the first season, the absence of her character was never addressed. The second cast change of the season was announced on November 21, 2014, and saw Adam Pally leave the series after the season's thirteenth episode. His departure after the thirteenth episode of the season was a condition of his upgrade to a series regular that had occurred the previous year. It was reported that Pally is "expected to make occasional guest appearances".[28] Pally made multiple guest appearances after his departure, where he was still credited amongst the regular cast in episodes he appeared, making his final appearance as a part of the main cast in the third-season finale.

In December 2015 it was reported that Fortune Feimster had been upgraded to a series regular role beginning with the fourteenth episode of the fourth season, after appearing in seven of the first thirteen episodes.[29] Garret Dillahunt joined the show in a major recurring role as Dr. Jody Kimball-Kinney.[30]

In June 2016, it was announced that Chris Messina would not be returning as a series regular for season five, but will instead appear as a guest star.[31]

Reception

Critical reception

The Mindy Project received positive reviews from critics, with many highlighting Kaling's performance and her unique character, as well as the writing and directing.[32] On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 81%, based on 48 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Mindy Project is such a charming comedy, led by Mindy Kaling's impressive talent, that its faults are easy to forgive."[33] Review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean based on reviews from mainstream critics, season one received a score of 69 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[32] It was the number-six best-reviewed show according to the site's fall 2012 season.[32]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Season 2 has a rating of 89%, based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Mindy Kaling earns consistent laughs with wit, charm and physical comedy, as she and her cast grow into well-rounded and familiar, albeit peculiar, characters."[34] On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 55 out of 100, based on four critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[35] Season 3 of the show holds a rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus reading, "The Mindy Project, while still wildly funny, travels further into rom-com country this season."[36]

Season 4 of the show holds a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus reading, "The Mindy Project begins its online migration with some of the show's best-ever episodes, further refining the balance between heart and humor struck during the first three seasons."[37] On Metacritic the season has a score of 81 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[38]

Criticism

The Mindy Project has been the object of scrutiny not only from traditional media forms but also from feminists and people of color, who often weigh in on the show's decisions in casting and writing. At the end of the first season, Jezebel posted an article called "Mindy Kaling Only Makes Out with White Guys",[39] a critique of the casting of romantic leads on the show. The same article contains a response from Nisha Chittal, who has defended Kaling's success in the past,[40] who applauded the show for not making Kaling's race central to her character, and for showing that an Indian woman could date non-Indian men.

During the second season, the episode "Mindy Lahiri Is a Racist," which addresses white supremacy, provoked discussion as to whether or not Kaling had made "reparations" for showing a predominantly white cast.[41]

Before the third season began airing, Kaling received criticism for a comment in a Flare article entitled "She's the Boss",[42] in which she stated that the show would not address abortion, as "it would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom." In an appearance on The Colbert Report two weeks later, she clarified:

A lot of women look to me and look to the show, and they want me to be a spokesperson for a lot of issues, and I actually think that's a responsibility that's cool, I want to live up to that ... I want to be able to talk plainly on things but I also want to create an entertaining show. We haven't found a hilarious take on abortion that has not been done yet—but we might. I have faith in us.[43]

Contrasting with the above criticism, a 2021 Feminist Media Studies' article titled "Un/accented: the politics of difference in US popular culture" argues that some of the criticism that The Mindy Project received, regarding the predominately white love interests or absence of Indian cultural reference, is not necessarily an issue for Kaling to address but rather indicative of how critics and journalists only see Kaling's work through surface level analysis and how many non-white bodies are present instead of what the work is actually critiquing through dialogue or plot.[44]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per season of The Mindy Project
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Viewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Tuesday 9:30 pm (1–19, 21–24)
Thursday 9:30 pm (20)
24 September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25) 4.67[45] May 14, 2013 (2013-05-14) 2.57[46] 2012–13 128 3.71[47]
2 Tuesday 9:30 pm (1–14, 16, 18–22)
Thursday 9:30 pm (15, 17)
22 September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17) 3.83[48] May 6, 2014 (2014-05-06) 2.48[49] 2013–14 125 3.40[50]
3 Tuesday 9:30 pm 21 September 16, 2014 (2014-09-16) 2.68[51] March 24, 2015 (2015-03-24) 2.05[52] 2014–15 151 2.95[53]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2012 Critics' Choice Television Award Most Exciting New Series Won [54]
Writers Guild of America Award Television: Best Written New Series Nominated [55]
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy Nominated [56]
Gracie Awards Outstanding Producer – Entertainment Mindy Kaling Won [57]
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated [58]
TCA Awards Outstanding New Program Nominated [59]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Show Nominated [60]
Choice TV Actress: Comedy Mindy Kaling Nominated
TV Guide Awards Favorite New Series Nominated [61]
Casting Society of America Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Pilot Comedy Felicia Fasano Won [62]
2014 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Chris Messina Nominated [63]
Gracie Awards Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Mindy Kaling Won [64]
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Mindy Kaling Nominated [65]
People Magazine Awards TV Couple of the Year Mindy Kaling and
Chris Messina
Won [66]
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated [67]
Individual Achievement in Comedy Mindy Kaling Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Comedy Mindy Kaling Nominated [68]
Choice Comedian Nominated
2015 Satellite Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Mindy Kaling Won [69]
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Chris Messina Nominated [70]
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Mindy Kaling Nominated [71]
Outstanding Writer in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series Ken Whittingham Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series, or Movie Salvador Pérez Jr. Nominated [72]
2016 Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Chris Messina Nominated [73]
Gracie Awards Outstanding Ensemble Cast – Comedy Won [74]
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Premium Comedy Series Nominated [75]

Broadcast

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