The Mindy Project Should Be Shelved

I do love Mindy Kaling. I love her energy and her Tweets. I love her presence on The Office.

And I was really looking forward to her new sitcom, “The Mindy Project,” on NBC.

I don’t see The Mindy Project being long for this world. Also, I think the subject would’ve fared better as a romantic comedy on the big screen than as a sitcom whose characters we want to get involved with every week.

Like those stories about Chelsea Handler (whatever that sitcom was called) and the sitcom about Whitney Cummings, this one is also too self-indulgent and self-centered. In fact, in this one, the title character is kind of a spazzy ditz whom you find a hard time rooting for (which again, would work in a romantic comedy on the big screen, not so much in someone you are going to turn in and watch every week).

The premise of the first episode is that Mindy is someone who bases her life on romantic comedies. But, not surprisingly, isn’t very good at love. She sleeps around pretty freely (again, not something mainstream America wants in a sitcom lead).

Various former members of either SNL or The Office traipse in as potential suitors. And surprise, the guy she’s going to fall in love with is right under her nose, just like any good romantic comedy.

But other than Mindy’s love life, and the fact that she has to take on a lot of patients who don’t have insurance, there’s not much of a plot there.

I took this show out of my TiVo queue after watching the first episode. Sorry, Mindy.




NBC: Undercovers

Last and certainly not least, we have NBC’s “Undercovers.”

Here’s the logline: “Alias,” but with a couple. A sexy black couple.

That’s really all you need to know. They used to be spies, but they quit. They are lured back to rescue a friend. And oh, they discover that they really liked all that spy stuff, so they get pulled back in. But is everyone really who they say they are?

And they have the wacky friend who’s helping them, decoding things, and making sure they have planes and cover stories. (I so do miss Kevin Weisman in those moments.) This new guy is no Kevin Weisman.

Ah, but if you loved Alias and miss it, this may get you all warm and fuzzy all over. After all, JJ Abrams wrote this pilot and produced the show.

They have spies in great outfits, hopping all over the globe. (Or what passes for all over the globe, with fancy Photoshopping.) Leads who spew off great accents and languages on a moment’s notice. And who (both man and woman) take their clothes off, to showcase great bodies.

“Under covers” (as in bed, get it?) and spies “under covers.” (Get it?) *eyeroll*

Sure, if you like that sort of thing, you’ll like this show. I give it the longest shelf life of the four for those reasons. There are some hardcore Alias fans out there.

My friend, however, summed up my feelings for it, as we entered the car. “At least there’s no Rambaldi,” he said.

“Yet,” I said.

BOTTOM LINE: Alias with a couple does have a lot of advantages. But no Kevin Weisman.

NBC: Chase

I really don’t know how I made it through this nightlong slog.

Next up, NBC’s “Chase.”

Kinda sorta like “The Fugitive” meets TV procedural. We have our crack staff of good guys, US marshalls, who go about rounding up bad guys that others have trouble catching. Person X is wanted at the beginning of the show. They keep missing him (or her, at some point, I imagine) through the whole show. Chasing, chasing. Guess what? At the end of the show, bad guy/girl is apprehended. YAWN.

Of the four NBC shows that Paley Center was showing, I hated them all. I hated “Chase” the most, though. The lead, thankfully, is a woman. She lets you know right away that her daddy done her wrong, and that’s why she’s now in this thankless business she’s in.

She can hogtie a bad guy in seconds flat, even a really nasty one. She can fight with some moves underwater that guys don’t have on land. Yep. She does it all. And she sings a good Waylon Jennings song.

She’s also joined by a crack staff (of course). Jesse Metcalfe (whom I never really liked, but at least was more interesting on “Desperate Housewives,” where he was taking off his shirt constantly) is out of his league here.

The violence is brutal and graphic. The bad guy they were chasing at least had nice blue eyes. His acting was actually more memorable than most of the regulars in this show. Which is too bad, because he’s been chased down. It’s on to a new perp next episode.

BOTTOM LINE: If every episode is about these people chasing one guy who eludes them, and he’s caught at the end, this is not a show I’ll be watching. Yawn.

NBC: The Event

Next up, NBC’s “The Event.”

I was trying to decide, during the first half hour, which was more annoying.

The fact that, “Lost”-like, you don’t know what in the frack “The Event” is? Or the fact that every two minutes (or less) you get title cards like this: “Six Weeks Earlier.” “Five Minutes Later.” “Two Days Before.” “Eighteen Hours Previous.” I’m so not kidding. There are so many, in such quick succession, that’s it’s really difficult to figure out where the hell we are and when.

Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of madness going on in “Lost,” with flash-forwards, and flash-backwards, and flash-sideways. But I could always tell where we were. In the pilot for “The Event,” they lost me by the third title card. And I couldn’t care by the third title card.

There were a couple of things which made me take notice for a minute, though. Blair Underwood (good actor) plays the president. Zeljko Ivanek (great actor! Did you see his death scene in “Damages”?!!!) plays an evil henchman in the White House. And Laura Innes (we loved her on “ER” all those years) plays someone… not really sure who she is yet, but she’s pretty integral to the plot. And they had some pretty cool special effects toward the end of the pilot.

But it’s too ham-fisted, too awkward, too on the nose, too “who cares?” for me. I don’t think I care to find out what exactly The Event is, or who these people are that they are holding, and why they are stealing planes, and who the bad guys are or who the good guys are. I don’t care. At least on “Lost,” as crazy and convoluted as that plot got, I did care. From the very first frame.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite the gravitas of some great actors, this is no “Lost.”

NBC Unveils Four Turkeys: First, Outsourced

Every year, we in LA are graced with unveiling of the new fall TV schedule at the Paley Center. Each network gets a night. I’m not going to all of them. Sadly, I’m attending most of them.

First up, NBC.

I admit. I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about NBC. The whole Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien debacle still leaves a smarting feeling when I even hear the word “NBC.” That, and it’s firmly entrenched in fourth place. For good reason. “Outsourced” does nothing to alleviate that bad taste in my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some good, funny actors on “Outsourced.” But really, 16 million Americans are out of work. Are they really going to find it funny to see a show about those who took their jobs? Really?

I tried. I really tried to see the funny in this show. As the offensive stereotypes and racist insults flew by, I tried to see that, well, at least they were using a more diverse cast than they normally do on network TV. But no. As much as the moderator of tonight’s events tried to put the spin on it as “at its core, it’s just another workplace comedy,” um, no. It isn’t. This is no “The Office.”

It’s insulting to Indians (or as my ethnic-slurring friend calls them, “dot Indians, not feather Indians). It’s insulting to Americans. They even throw in Australians. I’m waiting for the “shrimp on the barbie” jokes. Really, NBC. Haven’t we moved past all this?

BOTTOM LINE: I tried to like “Outsourced.” I still hated “Outsourced.”