The Mindy Project sure gets a lot of flack, considering the fact that it's one of the more progressive shows currently on TV – one of the only, in fact, to star a woman of color. Oh, and there's the little detail that it's also written and produced by said woman of color. To pay credit to Mindy Kaling, of whom I'm a big fan, she is one of the few figures in network TV who seems to be making a difference.
But that doesn't make it any easier to watch as many of her female characters slowly get sidelined in favor of new male characters. Shauna is all but a dim memory, and Gwen Grandy, along with pretty much all of Mindy's female friends, have disappeared from the fabric of the show completely. Zoe Jarman's hapless receptionist Betsy Putch is the latest to leave the show, after a season wherein she got roughly one line of dialogue per episode. Even the female cast members that remain (Xosha Roquemore and Beth Grant) are, in general, woefully underused.
Jarman's departure has extra sting to it, as she was one of the last original cast members left standing. And the fact that she's the latest in a long string of ladies to leave the show, likely for good (she's been invited to guest star in sSeason 3, but hey, so was Anna Camp) doesn't exactly bode well either.
Kaling has said that above all, she just wants "to use funny people." We're all for that, but would it hurt to audition a few extra actresses before hiring another funny man? Our fingers are crossed for an ultra-talented comedienne to join Shulman and Associates as Betsy's replacement... or better yet, another doctor.
The Mindy Project opened this week with a relatable Christmas meltdown. After strapping a Christmas tree to her back, Mindy lugs it into the office to find a pine already in place. Ending this insanity the only way she knows how, Mindy throws the decorated tree outside, starting off an energetic holiday episode full of lies, cameos, and booze bras. Plus, Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) does an impression of celiac disease. "When my stomach sees gluten it's like 'this ain't your party.'" It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Mindy's lust interest Cliff the lawyer (Glenn Howerton) is still in play, until she sets herself up for failure at a building-wide Christmas party. In a moment of weakness with her ex-casual-sex-enemy, the midwife (Mark Duplass) and his girlfriend, Maria Menounos, Mindy realizes she has to share the festivities with this cute cameo couple. She impulsively claims to be dating "a handsome lawyer who works in this building," potentially showing her crazy to Cliff too early. Mindy assures Danny (Chris Messina) everything will work itself out. She has a "man-catching-party-plan."
While the continuing flirtation between Mindy and Cliff marinates, Dr. Reed (Ed Weeks) and Party Boy Peter (Adam Pally) are teaming up. The now trimmer Dr. Reed is sick of overeating, and Peter is sick of getting drunk and trying to have sex with trees in front of his employers. They both lean on each other for support managing their vices, alcohol and anything covered in frosting. This proves to be a winning duo despite their stumbles. ("One minute I'm normal and the next minute I'm sucking down Mindy's bra wine.")
The party starts with Mindy's seduction, which means filling up her wine bra. What seems like an obvious joke, turns out to be a real product. But before Mindy can perform her best sexualized version of Santa, Cliff leaves. But she's not alone, Mindy has her two best friends, Danny and wine bra. As Danny consoles her she counters with "Sad is when the cab driver thought I was Jaden Smith. I'm heartbroken." He then gives Mindy her secret Santa gift and a reason to smile, performing the exact dance routine from Aaliyah's music video "Try Again."
The brakes are promptly pumped on any sexual tension between Danny and Mindy, after a shared moment that suggested a possible kiss. Danny then shuts down her invitation to "get some air," a specific part of her man trap plan disclosed to Danny. It is hard to tell if he's not interested or just upset about his demolished gingerbread "icon of American architecture." For a moment on the roof it seems like Mindy has no one but a pigeon and the discarded Christmas tree. Finally, Cliff returns with a cookie and a confession that he ended his relationship to be with Mindy. Their kissing makes any romance with Danny an even slower burn. The episode is summed up by Mindy's holiday sentiment: "Gluten is my favorite food."
Academy Award nominees Jeff Bridges, Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe and Woody Harrelson got their Oscars weekend off to a great start in Los Angeles on Friday night by picking up top acting prizes at the 25th annual Independent Spirit Awards.
Mo'Nique and Sidibe's Precious was the night's big winner, claiming five honors -- including Best Feature.
Bridges' Crazy Heart and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man were double winners and other major awards were shared by The Messenger, (500) Days of Summer and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
Highlights of the night included Bridges' performance of “Falling & Flying” from Crazy Heart with songwriters Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett and heavy rockers Anvil's live rendition of “Metal on Metal.”
The winners are:
Best Supporting Male - Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Best First Feature - Crazy Heart (Scott Cooper)
Best First Screenplay - Precious (Geoffrey Fletcher)
Best Supporting Female - Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best Cinematography - A Serious Man (Roger Deakins)
John Cassavetes Award - Humpday (writer/director: Lynn Shelton)
Robert Altman Award - A Serious Man
Someone to Watch Award - Kyle Patrick Alvarez (director of Easier With Practice)
Piaget Producers Award - Karin Chien
Truer Than Fiction Award - Bill & Turner Ross (directors of 45365)
Best Screenplay - (500) Days of Summer (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber)
Best Documentary - Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Best Foreign Film - An Education (U.K./France)
Best Female Lead - Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Best Male Lead - Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Director - Lee Daniels (Precious)
Best Feature - Precious
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