I have read some wildly disparate views on Fox’s Tuesday night line up over the past few days but I come down firmly on the “pro” side of things. I love everything about it. I love that Raising Hope is just as weird and loving and demented as it ever was. I love that Ben & Kate continues that trend but also ups the ante by creating a world much closer to reality than Raising Hope. I love that the roommates on New Girl are starting to really gel (despite the fact that Winston still feels like he is shoehorned in there) and that Jess has become more than just a typical “Manic pixie dream girl” trope (although there is still definitely room for improvement). And I love that The Mindy Project is trying to show a woman who is both girlie and professional and together and a mess and confident and awesome all at the same time without giving her excuses or judging her in any way. Of the new comedies this fall, Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project are the only ones that have really made me laugh out loud.
There are plenty of things to complain about in all of these shows for sure. I could definitely find fault with the fact that all of the characters on Raising Hope seem to become more moronic as the series goes on; I could say that Nat Faxon is not exactly romantic leading man material and his over-grown adolescent schtick throws Ben & Kate out of whack; I could complain about Winston’s lack of cohesion with the rest of New Girl and worry that Schmidt has become too much of a good thing; I could also go on and on about how much it bothers me that Mindy can’t be both professionally successful and romantically mature on The Mindy Project. But I’m not going to because when it comes to comedy, I have one litmus test: does it make me laugh? And here’s the thing, I am easily entertained and quick to laugh at silly things. Sure, I think that the subtle, more sophisticated, cerebral humor of Community and Arrested Development is great and funny, but sometimes I just want to see someone get punched in the nose or caught in a lie. Sometimes simple is more fun.
The opening scene on The Mindy Project in which Mindy was on the train with her co-worker Danny was probably my favorite thing from Tuesday night:
Danny: Would you please stop narrating?
Mindy: I can’t have these beautiful insights and not share them with someone.
Danny: Could you share them with the people over there?
Mindy: I’m standing next to you, Danny. I can’t run into someone I know on the subway and not stand next to them. That’s weird.
Danny: What’s weird about it? Weird would be if the train stopped and when you got off it was suddenly the 1940s.
Mindy: Whoa. Then what happens?