The Mindy Project moves to Hulu on Tuesday, picking up where the series ended on Fox: with a pregnant Mindy and a panicky Danny and a marriage proposal. Danny has gone to India to seek the approval of Mindy’s parents, while Mindy is having an awfully vivid dream about her future life. (It involves Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an airplane, jokes about Bravo’s Andy Cohen, and a lot of bottles of water.)
It’s a measure of how confident this underrated-in-every-way show has become that it can confidently separate the two lovers and let Danny carry a completely independent subplot with such comic success. Aside from Mindy Kaling’s Mindy Lahiri, Chris Messina’s Danny is the most distinctly realized character on the show, his principled fussiness an excellent contrast to Mindy’s expedient casualness. The scenes of him in India, coming to terms with Mindy’s parents (and they with him), are wonderfully fresh variations on the usual kind of sitcom culture-clash set-ups.
Mindy’s plot-line is more intricate, with what the character herself calls a Sliding Doors-style rom-com structure — an alternate future Mindy might have lived out, had she made just a few different decisions in her life.
I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to Mindy and Danny as parents, but the way their relationship is playing out in this new episode, I’m now pretty sure they’re going to experience parenthood with amusingly contrasting approaches. If the show’s title used to carry the implication that the “project” was Mindy’s dithering life under construction, it now suggests that marriage and parenthood are two more life-events that must push Mindy further into a mature adulthood without losing her daffy zing.
It was smart of Hulu to pick up The Mindy Project, whose low ratings on Fox always puzzled me — the show was so smart yet also so accessible. The series has always combined Kaling’s smart pop-culture-infused dialogue with lots of physical comedy to make a show that’s at once of-the-moment, and a satisfyingly old-fashioned sitcom.
The Mindy Project is streaming on Hulu now.