Mindy Kaling poses in a FOX promo for “The Mindy Project.” (Photo Credit: MCT CAMPUS)

“Go On:”

4 1/2 Stars

“The Mindy Project:”

4 Stars

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As the fall television season wears on, the ratings drop, fans desert their shows in favor of real life and cancellations begin to kick in. Some freshmen series, however, manage to beat the ever dwindling odds and achieve that coveted full first season.

Two of these lucky shows include Matthew Perry’s NBC comedy, “Go On” and Mindy Kaling’s FOX comedy, “The Mindy Project.”

Both shows star two well-known and established actors. Perry obtained his fame during his decade long run on “Friends” and Kaling from her work on “The Office.”

“Go On” is a show with plenty of heart although it lacks a bit of a central story arc. Perry plays Ryan King, a man who is forced to join a support group to cope with the death of his wife.

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While it does not take long for King to cause trouble and throw a wrench in the group dynamic, that is quickly remedied.

This show does indeed go straight for the emotional kill by providing plenty of comedy, but what really stands out are some truly heart-wrenching scenes with King and his dead wife, who spends her ghostly time encouraging him to move on with the new friends in his life.

While the grief the members display is not really authentic at all, it does provide for decent comedy. Watching the gang become more co-dependently in love with each other is a fun ride, and it is great to see them rely on each other to solve their problems. The relationship works both ways as well. Some of the most ‘ahhh’ worthy moments occur when the group members help their counseling leader through her real life problems.

“Go On” can best be described as a mixture between the witty banter of “Friends” and the quirky nonsense of “Community” (both are also NBC shows, so it is not a surprise a mix like that could occur), but while “Go On” is not as good as either of those two shows, it is still fantastic in its own right. Providing good laughs and a stellar cast, the only thing this show is missing is a cohesive storyline; the characters can only help each other through so many grief problems before something more real happens. Given time, this could be one of NBC’s strongest shows.

Mindy Kaling’s show, on the other hand, goes for full on ridiculousness. These people bicker and self-loathe enough to make even Liz Lemon (Tina Fey’s character in “30 Rock”) proud.

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A young doctor, Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) tries to navigate her life as a single woman with a career. It pulls out the whole romantic comedy storyline, but it fleshes it out so much better because, while she may be infatuated with finding love, she has work drama, friend drama and wild adventures to contend with.

Similar to the “30 Rock” dynamic, it is clear Mindy Lahiri is supposed to be a fictitious version of Mindy Kaling (made slightly obvious by the fact that they share a name). Both Mindys are crazy, funny, bubbly, compulsive and neurotic.

From watching the doctors, nurses and assistants try to hire new hospital staff, or seeing them interact drunk at a club, it is fun to see a group forced together in an office mingle outside the hospital walls and play nice with people with whom they begrudgingly hang out.

“The Mindy Project” also manages to capture that feeling of being single and desperate so well and make it funny. Mindy is a mess, but she is trying to get by as best she can. Her chipper disposition juxtaposed to her bitter self-depreciation and occasional mean streaks mixed with kindness works well for everyone who has ever just been in a bad mood for no reason, and that is where this show really clicks.

Despite only airing four episodes so far, FOX has given this show the green light for a full season of 24 episodes, and “Go On” has hit its plateau at approximately six million viewers, a fantastic catch by NBC standards.

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