Character Rehab: How to fix Jeremy on 'The Mindy Project'
Here at EW, we have a new weekly series in which we — and readers — weigh in on ways to rehab much-maligned characters on some of our favorite shows.
The Mindy Project returns this fall — Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 9:30 p.m., to be exact — with a slew of attractive male guest stars. It’s no secret that Mindy likes her
man meat male companions, but there are but a few that stick around for the long haul. Along with her will-they-or-won’t-they other half Danny (Chris Messina) and lovably insane nurse Morgan (Ike Barinholtz), smarmy Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) holds one of the only constant male presences on the Fox comedy series. But unlike Messina’s and Barinholtz’s characters, Weeks’ portrayal of the British OB/GYN hasn’t been developed as a multi-dimensional character. I’ll admit, he’s not my type of British guy. He’s more debonair and classically handsome than gawky and Cumberbatch-y. But that’s not why his character leaves something to be desired.
At the start of the first season, Mindy and Jeremy’s hookups were fun to watch. Equally as interesting was not having to endure major drama when those flings stopped. Not making a big deal out of two co-workers ending their casual hookups while maintaining a collegial work relationship is actually pretty revolutionary for TV. But after getting past his womanizing and inflated sense of self, Jeremy is pretty boring. By the end of the season, he was lucky to land a few funny quips per episode, and yet none were as hilarious as those from scene-stealer Morgan. He’s lucky to have not ended up like the other supporting characters that were retooled or replaced altogether. As a result, here are a few ideas to transform Jeremy into a unique and valuable presence for the show’s sophomore season:
1. Give him an active purpose. Mindy wants to her life to be a romantic comedy. Danny wants everyone to leave him alone — or does he? Jeremy wants to … get with the ladies? Be successful? Be exactly the same as he is and never change ever? Even Betsy’s goal of being Mindy’s bestie is clear. Yes, Jeremy is a player, but what else? In “Santa Fe,” there were glimpses of Jeremy’s passion for his work. He wouldn’t have developed “The Reed Method” if he didn’t care, right? Unfortunately, that storyline didn’t recur throughout the season. Jeremy is most interesting when he’s actively doing something regardless of whether he’s a success or epic failure (although epic failure is decidedly more fun).
2. Make him interact with more characters. In the aforementioned “Santa Fe,” Jeremy and Morgan played off one another in an upper-crust doctor and streetwise nurse pairing that bizarrely worked. Jeremy’s best moments so far have been when interacting with other (albeit stronger) characters. The male triumvirate of Danny, Morgan, and Jeremy provides an adorably dysfunctional friendship unit. Hints at Jeremy and Betsy’s developing relationship are also promising. The fallout from a Jeremy-Betsy hookup is rife with awkward possibilities. But again, in these interactions, Jeremy should provide more of the crazy version of himself rather than merely reacting.
3. Let his freak flag fly. Character quirks are fun! They make the world of sitcoms go ’round. Jeremy has alluded to being the black sheep of his well-to-do family, so what tics did he develop as a result of his cold upbringing? If his “game” is a result of that, then let’s see that even more explicitly or have him do something more with his special skills. Imagine if Jeremy started a pickup-artist school, à la Mystery. I’d enjoy the hell out of that. No one is perfect — especially those like Jeremy, who seem to think they are — so let’s experience Jeremy being his own special brand of weird.
Any other thoughts on The Mindy Project doctor from across the pond?
Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.