Usually, when a new season of a TV show starts, the plot possibilities seem endless for a new year. Where will the characters go this season? What new characters will be introduced?
But for some reason, I didn't necessarily feel that during Tuesday night's one-hour comedy block on Fox, with "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" airing back to back. While both were fine premiere episodes, their premises are starting to wear thin.
First, "New Girl." Jess and Nick are no longer together (wah wah), so we're back to season 1 hijinks and will-they-or-won't-they/didn't-they-already-do-this? chemistry. In "The Last Wedding," the gang (which has grown since season 1) all managed to be invited to the same wedding---no. 12 in a long line of summer weddings. They make a pact to get lucky at this wedding, since some of them have struck out (mostly Jess).
Jessica Biel plays a scientist who vies for the affection of the Best Man Jess is after, played by Reid Scott (Dan Egan of "Veep"). But Jess is still having trouble getting back in the saddle after being in a relationship with her roommate. Meanwhile, Schmidt is trying to get Cece back, who's broken up with Buster.
While the concept of going to a dozen weddings in one summer is pretty hilarious (their refrigerator with invitations is quite funny), the rest of the episode felt like the recycled material those Save-the-Dates are made of. Schmidt and Cece? Jess and Nick? Anything else happen this summer?
Personally, I was truly hoping for some sort of Let's Be Cops meta reference, with Coach and Nick mentioning some failed shenanigans. Instead, all we got was Winston injured from his recent stint in the police academy.
On to "Mindy."
I'm just going to come out and say it: Danny and Mindy may have gotten together too soon. While I enjoyed the season 3 premiere episode titled "We're a Couple Now, Haters!" I can't help but wonder where the show will go from here.
Mindy and Danny are dating, but Mindy is a little too loose-lipped about Danny's lips, and soon the entire office is gossiping about Danny's skills in bed. Mindy promises she'll keep mum, but she becomes tempted when she discovers a hot-pink thong in Danny's drawers and wants advice about whether Danny had dated a stripper (spoiler alert: he was the stripper---Diamond Dan, which explains his hot dance skills).
Meanwhile, because Danny and Mindy are in a relationship, they talk about work stuff, including Danny witnessing Peter's new girlfriend getting a backrub from Dr. Reed. Scandal! It's one piece of gossip Mindy can't not spread, and soon it's the talk of the office.
With Danny and Mindy together, how much can the show sponge storyline-wise? It's insulting to viewers to break Mindy and Danny apart and get them back together ala "New Girl," so what kind of conflicts can we expect on this show? Will it just be "Mindy Says the Darndest Things to Danny"? A highlight of the episode was Rob McElhenney, who plays Morgan's dilinquent cousin. Could he become a regular? Please? Or maybe give another female character something to do.
I think what I found most noticeable in both premieres is how the shows' casts have evolved over the course of three or four seasons. "New Girl": two women, four guys. "Mindy": one woman, four guys. Is the key to comedy surrounding a strong female character with stronger supporting male characters? The lack of female presence was especially noticeable on "Mindy." Beth Grant, who's terrible underused as Beverly, only gets to say a handful of hilarious lines. The introduction of Morgan's cousin involved more character development than Beverly had all of last season.