Mindy Kaling was apparently almost in Bridesmaids (as Lillian, i.e. Maya Rudolph)

She was up for Lillian, i.e. the bride, i.e. the role that eventually went to Maya Rudolph. I think Mindy Kaling is funny, although I actually think for that type of role, Maya Rudolph would have been funnier. Probably the main Lillian moment before the end is the people-taking-a-crap-while-trying-on-dresses scene, and Rudolph is a little bit better with her body on physical comedy than Kaling would have been (this might be because of SNL, which periodically requires that).

Near the end of the movie, Kristen Wiig and Lillian needed to have a whole ‘come-to-Jesus’ situation when Lillian goes AWOL for her own wedding. Wiig and Rudolph do those scenes well, which again is in large part because of Saturday Night Live — they overlapped on there and have pre-existing chemistry. That scene with Kaling and Wiig would probably not have played as well (just my guess).

I’ll be straight up: I watch Mindy Project, and pretty religiously (sadly, I’ve probably seen every episode). I also watch New Girl with the same frequency. There are interesting parallels between those shows, and not just network/night. New Girl had a rough patch last season as they were trying to define Nick and Jess as a couple; the thing with Nick (Jake Johnson) is that his humor comes from being a train wreck. When you put him in a relationship, you force the woman (in this case Zooey Deschanel) to be checking up on her train wreck of a beau all the time. That stagnated the show. Interestingly too, they added Damon Wayans Jr. from Happy Endings, and while he had good episodes, they had no idea what to do with him.

Check it out — it’s very similar for Mindy Project. Deschanel and Kaling are both adorable in their own ways, and Chris Messina and Jake Johnson in theirs. Check and check. Mindy added a guy from Happy Endings too, and while he had good episodes, they generally had no idea what to do with him. Sidebar guys steal the show in both cases — “Coach” and Morgan. And as Mindy tries to navigate a world with Danny and Mindy together, they might encounter the same issues that New Girl did last year.

That’s all a long way of saying, Mindy Kaling’s career almost blew up (Bridesmaids made a lot of money) but in the broadest sense of how funny that movie was, it’s probably best that it didn’t.

Ted Bauer