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29Do People Hate Mindy Kaling?

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Mindy Kaling appears to be having a Meredith Grey/Nancy Botwin problem. While Ellen Pompeo‘s character on Grey’s Anatomy and Mary-Louise Parker‘s Nancy (Weeds) have arguably been the most hated female protagonists to ever be on television, Kaling is giving them some competition. Most agree it’s not the actresses themselves, but their characters. Unfortunately for Kaling, she’s basically playing a characterized version of herself on her show The Mindy Project, and it’s not really working out. People may kind of actually hate her and/or her character. June Thomas at Slate describes the situation.

Last October, a little after The Mindy Project debuted on Fox, Mindy Kaling told me that she didn’t mind if her character, Mindy Lahiri, sometimes seemed unlikable.

“I want her to be realistic and authentic. So many of the female characters that I see on TV, they’re just kind of put-upon and boring. They’re so worried about viewers not being able to handle them being nuanced or occasionally selfish. But every woman I know is occasionally selfish—and also can be heroic and funny. I just try to make her interesting and nuanced, and if some people think she’s obnoxious sometimes, well, people are sometimes obnoxious, and they can still be heroes.”

As the season progressed, it became obvious that this was a problematic choice. As my Slate colleague Willa Paskin pointed out in her former home at Salon, “Mindy Lahiri has been an asshole many times over, but it’s not always clear the show knows she is being an asshole.”

And what does Kaling think about all this?

Yeah, as it turns out, you shouldn’t be on TV and be like, ‘I want to be unlikable.’  [...] Unfortunately, if you’re a woman, there are some things that people don’t want to see. There’s a sense of protecting the female character that I hadn’t really anticipated. Some of that is bullshit, and we need to stretch what we expect our female characters to do.

What are your thoughts on Mindy Kaling? Do you like her? Do you like her but dislike her show, or vice versa?

August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm by Catherine St. Ives
Filed Under: Mindy Kaling

29 Responses to “Do People Hate Mindy Kaling?”

  1. Alicia says:

    I like her! And it! The show is good, not my first choice, but I always watch it.

  2. FornitSomeFornus says:

    I hated her character on The Office, but that was the point. However, last winter on a loooooooooooooooooong car ride, I had to sit through an hour long interview on NPR with Mindy Kaling. God–it’s not the characters. It really is her!! She is just absolutely full of shit.

  3. IveeHill says:

    I love her and her show. I think it’s hilarious.

  4. pikki nikki polka pants says:


  5. Callid says:

    I’ve tried to sit through the Mindy Project on more than one occasion but have never managed to get through the whole thing – its just awful and she is really annoying.

  6. kay says:

    i love her show

  7. Liz says:

    Love her, real and fictional. Love the show. I had NO idea there was backlash. I think she’s a delight.

  8. Jocelyn says:

    I LOVE her and the show, and her book! She’s a funny girl.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Loves it!

  10. Laura says:

    I love mindy and her amazing show! Shes so funny and real! So refreshing to have a real representation of women!

  11. Alysssa says:

    WHAT?? Mindy is hilarious. Her show is hilarious. And I also didn’t like her character on the office, but I loved that she played it. I believe she is very talented and I like that she doesn’t always do the popular thing (as her character on her show). LOVES IT.

  12. MrsBTour says:

    Cannot STAND her, nor Lena Dunham.

    How was it a good idea to put two entirely overrated actress like Dunham and Kaling in their respective TV shows? Executive heads should roll at HBO and Fox. Why are these talentless actresses being hyped as so-called “hot properites”???!!!

    I just can’t with Kaling. No….just NO.

  13. Catherine St. Ives says:

    Wow, people are really divided on this! Keep the commentings coming. So interesting. (That wasn’t sarcastic.)

  14. Anonymous says:

    its not that i hate her but i cant stand her character, shes just very unlikable and if shes really like her character then im glad im not her friend

  15. CranAppleSnapple says:

    Love her show.

  16. Valeriea says:

    I like who she seems to be but the show is one insipid,bad trip.

  17. rbh says:

    i love her and her show. her character on her show and the office are both cheeky and so funny.

  18. annie says:

    are you kidding me? I feel like anyone who doesn’t love Mindy has no sense of humour. I get that her character on the office can be unlikeable but the mindy project is so funny and mindy herself is very likeable! I agree on how overrated and unlikeable lena dunham is though and I feel like mindy is the complete opposite.

  19. Koko269 says:

    wow really? I LOVE her. She’s hilarious and so is her show. Never knew that people actually disliked her!

  20. Bunny says:

    I hated her and the show at first, but after watching it after New Girl every week..sorta by accident she grew on me, and I think her character is hilarious! I even think The Mindy Project is better than New Girl, which in my opinion had an awful second season ( a few good moments here and there).

  21. NEENAZEE says:

    I can see the real aspects of both Mindy and Lena in their shows. It makes them relatable (and, in my opinion, very brave) even if that sometimes translates as ‘unlikable.’ I’m glad that the entertainment industry is willing to back programming that comes from female writers and represents women in more normal ways… not just as the pregnant wife, the kooky best friend, the slut, the girl-next-door, the ugly brainiac and so on. That said, I don’t watch either show regularly (I find them too self-indulgent to be consistently interesting) and am guessing that neither of them have a meaningful share of male viewers since every guy I know between the ages of 25-45 detests both women and their shows. It’s okay to have female-oriented content, but it tells me women are still a “niche market.’ Bummer. We still have a long way to go, baby…

  22. Cher B says:

    The first few episodes of The Mindy Project were hit and miss but then the show jelled and found a groove. If you haven’t given it a chance, try tuning in again, Mindy and assorted costars and especially guest stars are hysterical and likeable (not that you’d pick character Mindy for a real life bff, but then you’ll never have that option, will you?). Love.

  23. Kimbydee says:

    Love Mindy! Kelly was the character you loved to dislike on the office but I really love her on the Mindy Project. Very real. Read her book and find her personal story inspiring for all of us bookish nerds out there!

  24. Nicole says:

    Love her and love the show!!!

  25. Mike says:

    I can’t stand this show and Mindy is a fat ugly little troll. The chick is so fugly, I have to turn the channel. It’s too bad they couldn’t find some hot Indian broad to head the show instead of this turd.

  26. d blanston says:

    pretty dumb and un funny and not cute

  27. jd_riley says:

    I LOVE Mindy Kaling. She is hilarious, and the kind of hilarious that I understand. Same sense of humor I guess. Plus she is beautiful and ambitious. I’m just all around attracted to her personality. Great talent. Amazing person.

  28. ukaudience says:

    I really do not find her the least bit funny. I have NO clue why or how she got her own show on zero talent – if she HAD talent, SNL would have kept a hold of her. As for Lena D, we all know there is only one reason why she has her own show. Both her and Kaling have the same problems – unattractive, overweight and unfunny yet full of their own self-importance and Walter Mitty-style grandiose delusions regarding their own talent.

  29. chris says:

    Her whole dingy cute white girl trapped in an unattractive Hindu female body and the “laughs” she tries to squeeze out of that paradigm gets really old, really fast. Overrated. Big time.

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