When Fox put The Mindy Project on hiatus, it was a sign that the series may be on its way out. It, along with Dads, are being put out to pasture to return some time after Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl finish up. Positive attitude suggests that we should just breathe and see what Fox has in store in place of Mindy Kaling's little show that could and patiently await Kaling's return, but experience tells us this could be the end.
And that's why the next two episodes are so important. Tuesday's episode, which features Mindy going to her cheating ex-boyfriend Josh's wedding (why, oh why, would you say "yes"?) with Peter (Adam Pally) as her date, is practically begging fans to care: it's a rough dating situation... with her ex-boyfriend... and the new guy she can't stand is her only hope (exclamation point implied). The week after that is an episode called "Christmas Party Sex Trap," which is enticing in and of itself. Christmas Party? Hell yeah. Sex? Sure. Trap? Not sure what that is, but it sounds like a set-up that will go terribly wrong and force Mindy to make exasperated commentary, so yes, please. But its flashy situations are only the method by which The Mindy Project hopes to grab viewers, the real merit in sticking around is that the show is finally figuring itself out. Just in time to get the half-a-boot.
Despite the first season (and a few episodes of the second) in which it was clear that The Mindy Project was like a promising baby learning to walk — falling down often, but succeeding with great triumph on occasion — in Season 2, it finally stopped stumbling over its own two feet. Mindy broke up with Casey (Anders Holm), dated a few weirdos (Timothy Olyphant, for one), and let her connection with Danny (Chris Messina) grow while harboring a crush on Cliff, the lawyer (Glenn Howerton). Despite the series' clear addiction to guest stars, this progression has worked.
But what's worked even better is beefing up her supporting cast. Mindy is lovable, but too much of her can start to feel a little like a binge on sugary snacks. This season, the writers have worked to bring other characters out of the woodwork, like Morgan (Ike Barinholtz), who has an adorable crush on Tamra (Xoshe Roquemore), who in turn has a terrible boyfriend played by Josh Peck (formerly of Drake and Josh, believe it or not). Dr. Jeremy's weird food issues are a bother, but the fact that his father is basically Charles Widmore (okay, so he's just played by Alan Dale who also played the Lost villain, but still) explained quite a bit about his character. And the newest member of the team, Pally's Peter Prentice, has done wonders for the cast, punching up story lines with his presence and sharing a borderline brilliant story line with Morgan involving texting Cliff from Mindy's phone. I may have laughed myself to tears over the line "A winky face? The winky face is like emoji porn."
All sitcom good practices aside, the point is that The Mindy Project has finally found its footing, which means its free to just be as hilarious as the lady at the center of it all. So over the next few weeks, do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and watch The Mindy Project live, then stream it Hulu, and tweet about how much you like it. The only thing that can save this show from the brink of extinction is an audience who loves it, and right now, it appears we're just not loud enough.