The Watchman: ‘Mindy Makes Rom-Coms Cool, and Is ‘Better Things’ the Best Thing on TV?

Deputy editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

The new season of The Mindy Project starts on Hulu Tuesday, Sept. 12, and it’s the final one for the unabashed rom-com. Matt Warburton, showrunner and executive producer, described a “really nostalgic” mood inside the writers room. He noted how they know the show is truly done because Mindy has used up every bit of the faux New York street on the set.

“We didn’t overstay our welcome,” Warburton said. “It just felt right to me.”

He likes that the whole of the series — all 117 episodes — will be on Hulu, allowing latecomers to catch up with Mindy, Danny and the rest of the gang. Warburton said season six “brings Mindy not just full circle, but evolved.” As the show winds down, Warburton is allowing himself to think a bit about The Mindy Project’s legacy. “I hope it broadened the scope of who can be a leading voice on a TV show,” said Warburton, mentioning other comedies, including FX’s Atlanta, with minority main characters. “And it kept romantic comedy in pop culture when there wasn’t much of it.”

It’s hardly a romantic comedy, but the new season of Pamela Adlon’s Better Things kicks off on FX Sept. 14. Louis C.K. is an executive producer, and the show’s biggest cheerleader. Speaking of Better Things at last month’s TCA Tour in Los Angeles, he said it’s “easily the best thing” on television.

A panel dedicated to the show spent several glorious minutes dissecting the amount of “male shittiness” around the nation at the moment. Adlon was thankful for a question on the topic, from a male critic. “There is an increase societally in male shittiness — and also a decrease, because you are asking me that question,” she said.

Adlon plays Sam Fox, mother of three daughters.

Inevitably, the topic of the return of Louie was brought up while C.K. was onstage.

“I’m not going to do it soon,” he said.

Louis was asked if he had a Curb Your Enthusiasm model in mind for Louie — if a great idea hits him at some point, he can run with it. C.K. said it was an apt comparison. “I might wake up one day and say, Oh shit! This would be a great way to do another season!” he said. “Then I would run and start to make new ones.”

But for today, it’s all about Better Things. “Right now I’m involved in her show,” said C.K. “I’m just so happy to be doing that, and my standup, and my other dumb things.”