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Returning for Its Final Season, Who Knows How ‘The Mindy Project’ Will End
September 12, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

It’s tough to preview the final season of The Mindy Project, because pretty much everything would be a spoiler and fans deserve the fun of watching each awkward moment lurch to life on its own.

That is to say, The Mindy Project remains in a familiar and solid groove as the sixth season rolls out Tuesday on the streaming service Hulu.

The finale of the fifth season left multiple romantic entanglements floating in the wind, notably the seeming engagement of Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling, top) to Ben (Bryan Greenberg, below). 

Ben was the dark horse who last season emerged from Mindy’s endless stream of boyfriends to seemingly become The One, and this season we find that he was.

Maybe. Sort of.

When the opening scene has Mindy lying in bed next to Ben while we hear Fontella Bass’s “Rescue Me,” okay, let’s just say this could be a subtle clue that Mindy’s romantic ambivalence hasn’t fully evaporated.

Her relationship with Ben plays out in the droll, quirky and often hilarious ways that Mindy fans would expect. At the same time there’s a wistfulness often bordering on sadness, underscoring the combination that has always made The Mindy Project a slightly different sort of sitcom.

Nor, of course, is Mindy the only romantic wanderer at Shulman & Associates, where she’s an OB/GYN. Always known for having a cast of thousands, the show juggles at least a half dozen core dramas at all times, most of them tied to romance and dating and relationships and sex and, okay, more sex.

One of the louder romantic minidramas follows Karen (Tipper Newton) and Colette (Fortune Feimster), who were briefly engaged last season before a case of cold feet seemed to call it off.

Colette has not taken that well, and since she is the sister of Jody (Garret Dillahunt), a doctor who wields a lot of clout at Shulman & Associates, that’s not good news for Karen.

Meanwhile, the bumbling bossman Jeremy (Ed Weeks, below) thinks he’s making real progress with the semi-new doctor Anna (Rebecca Rittenhouse).

To celebrate their eight-month anniversary, Anna proudly tells everyone, they are going to a lecture on 12th century embroidery at the Cloisters.

Still, Anna is nervous enough about Jeremy’s intentions that she comes to Mindy for advice, even though Anna and Mindy haven’t always been the best of besties.

Asking Mindy for romantic advice is a little like asking Tony Soprano for advice on anger management, but it sets up a great scene where Mindy gets to reminisce about the men she’s met along the way.

There are other dramas as well, involving incompetent secretaries and a surprise life decision from Tamra (Xosha Roquemore).

But since this is the final season, viewers will logically and correctly see all these dramas as a way of taxiing toward wherever Mindy wants these characters to end up.

The last season has only 10 episodes, so we’ll be getting to that endpoint at a fairly brisk clip.

As for where that will be, Mindy’s premise from the beginning has been that this girl was raised on romantic comedies, which create tumultuous drama to set up a happy ending.

And that she then discovered the ways in which life deviates from the rom-com model.

Ilsa and Rick? Harry and Sally? It’s Mindy’s call.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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