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James Franco To Maybe Amuse You on 'The Mindy Project'

The Atlantic Wire

At this point there is nothing to be done about James Franco. We can only shrug our shoulders and sigh, knowing he'll undoubtedly pop up in everything we love, and hope he doesn't turn it into too much of a joke. That's what we're doing today in reaction to the news that Franco will guest in two episodes of the second season of The Mindy Project, a show we came to love during its freshman run. 

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Fox announced today that Franco will have a two-episode arc at the beginning of the upcoming season, playing a doctor named Paul Leotard. Franco/Leotard will first appear in the premiere, taking Mindy's place at her practice while she follows her boyfriend, Pastor Casey, to Haiti. Leotard is, according to the release, "a former professional fashion model" who "radically altered his career goals after he accidentally walked off a runway at fashion week and was saved by a pregnant woman." So, yeah, it's a joke about how James Franco is good looking. Sounds like a very Franco kind of a role. (At this point it's possible to use his name as an adjective.)

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Though, when you think about it, this might not be a total disaster. The Mindy Project is at its best when it casts the guise of reality aside. The show is, at its heart, a gently absurdist romantic comedy. Mindy's dates and boyfriends are pastors, prostitutes, and—weirdly, since the role was played by Seth Rogen—soldiers. It feeds on the outlandish, and asks you not to stop and think: "Seriously? Those are people are employed in an OB/GYNs office?" Or: "Mindy finds those men on the streets of a New York that looks a lot like a studio lot?" So Franco as a Zoolander-esque doctor might just work in the weird little world this show has created, one where an ex-felon male nurse is a fan-favorite character. Plus, Franco's ill-advised forays into Faulkner aside, he's actually pretty good at the whole sitcom thing. Let's not forget his bizarre, yet hilarious, turn on 30 Rock, where he played a version of himself who was in love with a Japanese Body Pillow.  If he didn't make a mess of that show, maybe he'll do fine by Mindy too.

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