TV Review: Final Season of ‘Mindy Project’ Wears Out Its Welcome

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As Dr. Mindy Lahiri knows all too well, all romantic comedies must end. In fact, this fact was touched upon in the opening narration by our plucky protagonist as she wonders what happens after “happily ever after.” So begins the premiere for the final season of “The Mindy Project.” Following her standout role both on screen and in the writers room for “The Office,” Mindy Kaling got her big break. FOX gave her a show of her own, “The Mindy Project.” The show ran on FOX for three seasons before cancellation. Luckily, Hulu picked up the show and has developed all of the seasons since. As a romantic comedy obsessed doctor struggling with relationships, Kaling was always reliable for a fun spin on the classic genre tropes. However, as we enter the final season, those creative juices seem to have puttered out for this character.

Now stable with pediatric nurse Ben (Bryan Greenberg), Mindy struggles to cope with how this fits in with the narratives from her favorite rom-coms. No longer is she the quirky doctor overcome with romantic quandaries from men who may or may not be right for her. Weirded out by the strangeness in complacency, Mindy delves into work where there’s plenty of relationship drama. Mindy’s supervisor Jeremy (Ed Weeks) finds himself in a functional relationship with the cold Anna (Rebecca Rittenhouse). However, he wants to move the relationship forward by asking her to move in with him. Meanwhile, the office goes through a productivity panic as the office assistant, Karen (Tipper Newton) is fired after her break up with nurse Colette (Fortune Feimster).

Despite being Kaling’s show, the season six premiere structures itself mostly around the antics of its supporting players. Since their addition in season four, Garrett Dillahunt and Fortune Feimster’s have emerged as the supporting MVPs. Dillahunt walks the tightrope between the handsome comic foil and exaggerated Southern gentleman with a drinking problem as fellow doctor Dr. Jody Kimball-Kinney. While Dillahunt has been given plenty of story in the past to showcase his chops, the writers are only now finally writing interesting stuff for Feimster. As Jody’s husky and feisty lesbian sister, Colette, Feimster deals with the aftermath of leaving her fiancee at the engagement party. Her laid back candor serves as the perfect tonic for the more madcap elements of the show.

The show loses its footing with the more madcap elements. Take for example Ike Barinholtz’s Morgan, a lovable misfit nurse. He continues to be one of the most overused elements of the show. Morgan exhibits a knack for appearing in nearly every subplot, regardless of relevancy. With receptionist Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) wanting to have a child on her own, the writers, of course, make Morgan the instructor for a class she takes in order to learn how to give herself hormone injections. Thankfully, we got a few more antics from Beverly, the least reliable receptionist ever. Beth Grant knows how to sell a hilarious line reading.

The main source of conflict for Mindy lies in her complacency with her current husband, Ben. The show presents this distance as something new and fresh. However, we’ve seen storylines like this already on the show between Mindy and her previous husband, Danny Castellano (Chris Messina). Unlike Ben, Danny consistently elevated each scene he was in. His departure in season four was noticed. Announcements for the final season have teased Danny will make a return. This gives me hope the show can find its groove as it builds to its finale. Kaling’s central character remains as lovable and watchable as ever. However, as it stands, the once spry and infectious show around Mindy seems to have worn out its welcome.

“The Mindy Project” airs new episodes every Tuesday on Hulu.

GRADE: (★★1/2)

 What did you think of the premiere of the final season of “The Mindy Project?” Let us know in the comments.