Morning TV Round-Up: 'New Girl' and 'The Mindy Project' reviews
It's (late) morning round-up time, with quick thoughts on last night's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as I say it with words and say it with the Ghostbusters thing...
These two episodes were a good example of the value I wind up placing on character investment when it comes to most of my comedy viewing. This was another sloppy, disjointed "New Girl" episode that I ultimately didn't mind because I like these characters, while a much sharper and better-constructed "Mindy" left me cold because I just don't have any attachment to any of the regulars.
It was announced last week that Damon Wayans Jr. will be staying all season on "New Girl." He's a very funny performer, some issues still need to be worked out with Coach's return. This was a better and more likable version than what we got last week, but his presence continues to push Winston to the margins (and why would Winston ever risk eating Chinese food if he's that allergic to MSG?), and for the moment his return and Schmidt's relocation (even if just down the hall) makes the whole show feel out of balance, rather than giving it some new energy. That said, Jess being repeatedly foiled by evil restaurateur Brian was amusing, and the final scene at the beach had the kind of warmth that keeps me sticking with the show even during a creative rough patch like we've gotten this fall.
As for "The Mindy Project," I thought this was probably the best-written episode the show has done. The guys sexting on Mindy's behalf, for instance, had a high potential for hackiness, but was done cleverly, with the joke being as much on Morgan and Peter as on Mindy for being unaware of what was happening. And Chloe Silverado is just a funny name. But because of the show's constant reinventions of itself, I feel no connection to most of the supporting characters (Danny being the lone exception), and I ultimately don't like the take on Mindy the character that Mindy the writer (and friends) have landed on. Liking characters isn't essential to successful comedy — see the works of Larry David and Ricky Gervais, for instance — but you're setting the laugh bar much higher in that case, and "Mindy" isn't clearing it for me. Your mileage will obviously vary, and most of my TV critic friends really dug this one, but I think I've reached Not For Me status with the show.
What did everybody else think?
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
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Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
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1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
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