Wherein Lies Freshness?

So I’m a huge fan of FOX’s new show The Mindy Project, created by comedian Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor of The Office fame). Of all the TV shows currently airing, it’s the one I most look forward to watching every week.

Why?

That shit’s fresh.

Now I have the problem of trying to explain “freshness.” I don’t have a great definition, but I’ll do my best to describe what I mean.

Freshness is a quality often associated with good new shows.

It’s related to surprise, innovation, originality, subversion of cliché, all qualities you look for in good art.

Freshness lies in part in a show’s refusal to conform to predictable patterns–from character, to plot, to setting, to jokes. Older shows stay fresh because they even go so far as to refuse to conform to the predictable patterns they themselves have created.  Some stories overstay their welcome (How I Met Your Mother).

Freshness has something to do with honesty. With plots, characters, settings, observations, and details that seem familiar, but have never felt so damn real (HBO’s Girls).

The Office (UK version) was fresh. It wisely quit while it was ahead, before it had the chance to become stale.

The Office (American version) was fresh. Then its relationships got old. Its jokes got tired. Its conflicts wound down, and boredom prevailed. It got stale.

Breaking Bad exists in a constant state of dynamism. Its characters and their relationships are always evolving, just as the world they live in is always changing, in large part due to their past actions and their evolving characters and relationships. Breaking Bad is still fresh even through five seasons–a rare feat.

So let me ask you. What’s fresh?

And watch The Mindy Project. At least while it’s fresh. It’d break my heart if it was canceled.

About Dante Rasera

Originally from Upstate New York, I live in Brooklyn, New York, where I work in development at a nonprofit organization that provides arts education for New York City public school students. I graduated with a degree in creative writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. During my time there, I studied literature at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the Thomas E. Meehan Prize in Creative Writing.
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