TV Talk: ‘The Mindy Project’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

(BlogDH) TV Talk

With all the shows on TV right now, it’s hard to know which ones are worth watching. Maybe you need help from someone who watches all most of them (I have a life…). Welcome to TV Talk, a column recapping the best and worst episodes of the week. Obviously, this will be based entirely on my opinion. Also obviously, my opinion is always correct and everything you read for here on out can be taken as fact.

Best: The Mindy Project, “The Other Dr. L”


Unfortunately, saying The Mindy Project was the most enjoyable show on tv this week reflects far less on the quality of this episode than it does the fact that New Girl and It’s Always Sunny had off weeks. That said, much happened this week in the life of Dr. Mindy Lahiri that is worth discussing.

The episode opened with Mindy Skyping with her fiance, Anders (yeah, yeah, I know he has a different name on this show, but he’s Anders). Mindy attempts to entertain him by recreating the Whipped Cream bikini from Varsity Blues. It was like watching someone else watch a show on their computer as I watched them in the show on my computer… i.e. incredibly meta. But instead, she ends up creating a tasteful one-piece. The best part of this scene was the realization that, thanks to the technology of the 21st century, even when your character’s favorite boyfriend leaves the country, you can still see him on her computer and it’s almost just as good. NOTE: This does not apply to real long-distance relationships.

But with great victories came great defeats. I’m referring, of course, to the fact that James Franco was still around. Despite his incredibly distracting and poorly acted presence, viewers can take solace in knowing that Mindy’s character hates him too. Of course, all the solace in the world can’t bring back the 25 minutes lost listening to his whiny voice talk about how beautiful he is. At one point in the episode I actually think he was putting on a mock baby voice, and I heard absolutely no distinction between it and his normal cadence.

After watching James Franco’s Comedy Central Roast and now guest appearance on the show, I can’t help but think that James Franco’s entire life is a roast of James Franco. Open your fucking eyes, literally and figuratively. You’re not 20 anymore. This isn’t Freaks and Geeks. There are new, more attractive people in the world, like your brother. I have never seen someone attempt to rely on their looks to skate through life this much since Megan Fox was born. James Franco is like some creepy old flasher who keeps trying to convince his victims that it’s okay because he was like super hot 20 years ago and they probably would’ve wanted to see it. Do you think Haiti would be open to some sort of trade where they could take James Franco and we would get Anders back?

I did, however, enjoy the joke that James Franco is a lightweight. He and Mindy have a shot-off and he performs terribly. The humor, of course, comes from the idea that James Franco can’t handle a few shots of tequila when everyone knows that one of his millions of careers probably involves cooking meth in a mobile home Walter White-style. There was also an enjoyable moment when Drunk James Franco states, “I’ve never seen a movie.” Mindy brushes this off as him being drunk, but I actually think this confession might tell us a lot about his career moves. It would explain both why he continues to consider himself a serious actor and how he manages to be so comfortable showing his face in public: he has has obviously never seen himself on screen.

Mindy, of course, was her usual hilarious self. That is, minus the one extremely inappropriate date rape moment involving her kissing a passed out Franco and then screaming “you liked it” as he struggled. But I’m sure there are already a lot of feminist blogs exploring this offense better than I possibly could. So I will simply commend her on her non-sexual-assault based jokes that included defending herself as a “dainty woman” when referred to as Big-L, and proudly sharing that she eats an entire loaf of bread every night.

A few more strongly-worded comments for those who watch the show:

  • Betsy, stop talking like a five year old with a lisp.
  • Morgan, contribute something to the world. If you were to commit a murder suicide of yourself and Betsy in a fit of prison-PTSD-fueled rage, I can’t really say whether or not I would care, but my gut tells me no.
  • Bill Hader, all the guest appearances in the world won’t distract people from the fact that you still haven’t found a post-SNL career.
  • And finally, a sidebar about Mindy’s fashion: At one point in this episode, Danny states that Fenway Park is the worst place in the world. No, I’m pretty sure it’s whatever awful Wet Seal sold Mindy that hot pink dress. And who is her hairstylist? Maggie from The Newsroom?

Worst: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “The Tagger”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine key art FOX

In case you live under a rock don’t follow the cast of SNL as closely as I do, Andy Samberg is starring in a new show that airs Tuesday nights on Fox and is called Brooklyn Nine-Nine. To say that I was disappointed by last week’s pilot is a grave understatement. To say that it made me want to re-watch every Lonely Island video and cry for humanity is somewhere closer to the truth. After watching this week’s episode, I’ve decided that Brooklyn 99 was conceived when a 13-year old boy heard that FX was coming out with a TV show about a detective with Asperger’s and decided to write his own screenplay about a detective with ADHD working in the police-force equivalent of his 5th grade class. Honestly half of the dialogue on this show is about how to “fix” Samberg. Have none of you detectives ever heard of Adderall? It’s all over Craigslist.

This show is especially sad for any former-Samberg fans who were thrilled at the prospect of having his unique humor at their disposal once a week. The jokes are more or less predictable, and many characters seemed blatantly ripped off of Psych. My 13-year-old-boy-creator-theory was further fueled by the fact that this week’s villain literally drew penises  on cop cars, leading to an extremely sophisticated back-and-forth between our nation’s sworn protectors about butts and genitals. I mean, we can only hope that the writer behind this hasn’t hit puberty.

The cherry on top of the problems with this show has to be the weird racial makeup of its cast. Is the new thinking that it’s fine to only have two black characters on a show if they both have leadership positions? Because that seems to be what the creators are going for. And naming your characters Diaz and Santiago doesn’t hide the fact that the actresses are, or at least look, clearly white. Did the writers just Google “common hispanic last names” and then put out a casting call for Caucasian females with dark hair? I would think the network that brought us Glee would know a bit more about racial sensitivity. Just kidding.

 P.S. Am I the only one who thought Samberg was being such a McNulty: “I can’t believe they assigned me to the boat a babysitter!!”

P.P.S. Did anyone else notice this on Jay’s desk in this week’s Modern Family? 

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 2.42.02 PM

I think it speaks for itself.

Images via

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