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‘The Mindy Project’ may avoid the ‘New Girl’ misstep

| Monday, September 22, 2014

mindy-project-WEBKERI O'MARA | The Observer
“New Girl” fans around the globe will never forget where they were when “The Kiss” happened. Nick and Jess were undoubtedly the two characters everyone “shipped” (slang for fans hoping two characters will begin a relationship), and the moment they finally locked lips was one of the more exciting ones I’ve had in my kitchen with a mouthful of Chick-fil-A. It seems amazing now that the scene I once replayed on YouTube approximately 50 times would bring “New Girl” to its present state of mediocrity.

On Tuesday, “New Girl” premiered its fourth season on Fox to less than stellar ratings, and the blame can be pointed to that moment in the hallway between the two roommates turned lovers.

In theory, it’s brilliant. Writers targeting the female 18-29 demographic understand that the best way to hook their audience on the first episode is to dangle a potential couple in our faces and then let us obsess about the prospect of these two locking lips for approximately the next season and a half.  And it works … until the hookup actually happens.

The inevitable down portion of a television rollercoaster relationship is that precarious place where the audience is angry if the couple breaks up but bored if there isn’t any drama between the couple in question. It’s a thin line to walk, and “New Girl” seemed to lose its balance during its third season.

The premiere helped restore some faith to the fandom. The angst about Nick and Jess was kept to a minimum and the writers seemed to emphasize the group, the odd community that resides in apartment 4D, rather than the couple. It showed the potential for a nice revert to what made the show hilarious in the first place, and hopefully, the change will revitalize a somewhat lackluster show.

“The Mindy Project” premiered its third season the same night to most likely much of the same audience. Like a horrific, but amazing, episode of déjà vu, the viewers watched yet another “ship” sail as lead Mindy Lahiri and love interest Danny Castellano stumbled through the beginning of their relationship.

Fearful that the show will go the way of another “New Girl,” I watched the premiere prepared for the worst but was ultimately hopeful due mostly to the writing of Mindy Kaling. Without losing the ability to laugh at herself, Mindy allowed her character to grow in her relationship with Danny. The show’s creator was able to find the humor in a romance between two such totally different characters while simultaneously portraying the chemistry and love there that makes the couple work.

Both of these single-camera comedies are off to decent starts and worth the watch — if only to see Mindy and Danny being adorable and the inevitable Nick and Jess 2.0 — because let’s face it, we love to see couples get back together even if it’s the second, third or 12th time around.

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About Alexandra Lowery

I am sophomore in the Mendoza College of Business and the department of Film, Television and Theatre. I enjoy long, drawn out feminist rants, playing guitar and worshipping Beyoncé.

Contact Alexandra