When I was asked last year to review the series premiere of The Mindy Project for this very site, I never thought that I’d fall in love with it. As someone who has only seen a handful of episodes of The Office and has never even heard of Matt and Ben, it was difficult to me to judge the quality of Mindy Kaling’s newest venture. Needless to say, all of that skepticism was obliterated after the series premiere and as the season progressed, it became clear that I was hooked.
So when Season 2 was confirmed earlier this year, I was totally stoked that Mindy Lahiri and her fellow doctors at Schulman and Associates would continue to be an integral part of my Tuesday nights. But it only took one plot twist and then later on one new guest star to take my excitement and my love for the show down a notch.
Enter James Franco.
At first, when it was announced Franco would be guest starring in the Season 2 premiere, I didn’t think twice. I loved all of the guest stars last season, especially Seth Rogan’s brief appearance, but I’m indifferent to Franco’s style of comedy. However, after eyeing the show’s promos over the last few weeks and seeing tonight’s premiere, I couldn’t help but feel that Franco is stealing too much the spotlight.
Don’t get me wrong, for this type of program, Franco’s appearance is a big deal. I have no doubt in my mind that the ratings will spike as Franco’s character Dr. Paul Leotard continues to battle Kaling’s alter ego Mindy Lahiri for a spot in the practice over the next few weeks or so. However, he doesn’t say or do much that garners this amount of attention, at least not yet anyway, and the extra focus on him is just unnecessary. In fact, I would say that took away from the biggest surprise of last season: Mindy’s choice of a relationship with Casey (Anders Holm) over the exploration of her unspoken chemistry Danny (Chris Messina).
Aside from too much Franco spotlight, the Season 2 premiere was a typical episode of The Mindy Project. Fans were welcomed back with the quick, snappy dialogue from Mindy, the hilarious antics of Morgan (Ike Barinholtz), and the sarcasm of Danny. It was almost as if the summer never happened, which is exactly what die-hard Kaling fans like myself wanted. I have no doubts in my mind that Kaling will knock it out of the park this season, with or without the help of Franco or any other guest stars. I just wish that this season started off by showcasing Kaling’s quippy style of writing and less on Franco’s existence.