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Do 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?

69 CommentsLeave a comment

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

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

  • 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).

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I have never seen her show, but I have to sit through enough previews for it that I have to look up a place on the internet to talk smack about her. I just hate the way she looks. And its not a race/gender thing. There are a million white male actors that I cant stand just based on appearance; such as seth rogan and kevin james. My dislike of her is amplified by how often I have to watch previews. She bugs m and is gross.

  • I have tried, several times, to watch her show, and can never finish it. She is SO annoying, ugly, everything about her makes me cringe. Sorry if I’m mixing her character with her persona, but she kinda wanted that in the first place.

  • She got famous off of Steve Carell on the Office. He carried the show. She’s annoying and full of it making her out to be some sort of princess. She’s arrogant and hateful to a class of women. done.

  • I haven’t seen it, but from the commercials it seems like her character is extremely shallow. I think a lot of people would forgive or even enjoy some asshole-ness from a female character who had a lot of depth, but not from someone who is barely interesting even without the attitude. And I think that the actress’s response really highlights how one-dimensional she is. There have been many female characters throughout history who are seriously flawed, crazy, and/or horrible bitchy who have been adored by audiences. I mean, has nobody seen a movie before the 1960s? A movie that immediately comes to mind is All About Eve. Margo in that film is as awful as she is charming, and she is one of the most remarkable, interesting, and downright likable characters I’ve ever seen. So this whole thing about people not liking women unless they’re perfect angels is utter BS, just an excuse so she doesn’t have to take responsibility for her shitty personality.

  • She’s annoying, ugly and fat….not sure why she’s on tv, she also makes a bunch of racist jokes on her show….which makes her look more of a dumb try hard Paki than she already looks like on her own……damn……put her show where it belongs….on Indian networks!…..

  • FUCK mindy kaling! That is one UGLY ASS indian BITCH! She looks like a monster, haves absolutely NO kind of talent what so ever, and is just plain ANNOYING! Her little “show” should just be CANCELLED already! TO HELL WITH MINDY KALING!

  • People hating on Mindy is from too much hype. Whenever anyone becomes very popular very quickly it can soon result in exposure to demos that are never going to buy into the brand. Mindy is not one that can be marketed very broadly. Her brand is too niche for a MASS appeal. It’s simply not dumb down enough. She even says that not everybody wants to see an unlikable protagonist. That’s just it… if you don’t dumb down your product there are going to be loud voices of dissension. It doesn’t mean she’s awful, just the days of 3 networks and mass appeal are over. Trying to make Mindy everybody’s “It Girl” is never going to work.

  • Shes more of a sidekick type. Shes a goof, and annoying as hell / Not cute/ not pretty / Just want slap her or turn the channel. And she admits that she doesnt know anyone who isnt sometimes selfish (really describing herself). shallow girl. I know some people who aren’t ever selfish, actually.

  • She’s annoying and stupid to portray as an actress she’s an ass and really makes woman look stupid too.

  • I don’t like her at all, never have. I refuse to even say her name… she is a no talent, fat paki woman with purple pu$$y lips…. omg, I’m gonna be sick!!!

  • Love her! She’s really cool in real life and definitely far from her characters considering she’s a strong successful woman in a male-centric industry. Proud of her and love her! Not to mention she’s sexy and has a great, quirky sense of fashion :D

  • What an unattractive, delusional, narcissistic, overweight sad person who obviously doesn’t own a mirror. She is probably a decent person but her agent must be a hypnotist.

  • I feel awful for saying this, but based on the countless previews/clips of this show that have been shoved down my eyes and how incredibly annoying her character seems just from that, I wouldn’t watch this. Ever. At least the advertising should try to make me want to view it. There’s something about her I don’t find appealing at all. I’d like to add I’m a pretty open gay man, so it’s not all based on looks at all.

  • Wow, a lot of these comments are mean. Many are racist, and/or misogynist (pu$$y lips, fat paki?). Why would you hate a writer/actress this much? You really think you should spit this much vitriol just because she has a show you dont find funny? Your comments are mean, nasty and dumb; you sound like bully boys in a schoolyard. Try hard to evolve. Please.

  • She has that amazing talent of making a person throw up and just get all mad when watching her talentless ugly fat ass… Hell No, hope she doesn’t go on tv anymore.

  • Seems like there’s many fucktard assholes commenting here. Go ahead and cry because an Indian chubby lady is talented enough to run her own show. You on the other hand are ugly on the inside (and most likely on the outside) and will never be famous enough to gain any haters in life even if you wanted to. Grow up and get your ignorant hater mind out of your own ass why don’t you.

    Mindy Kaling, keep being great, may you always give these haters something good to bitch their own lives about.

  • i hate her character in mindy project.she is obnoxious and narcissistic and an asshole basically.i wont say she is ugly but she isn’t beautiful either.also she does not have a good body.despite all these flaws good looking,tall,white guys apparently go crazy about her which is not believable and seems like mindy kalings attempt to fulfill her real life fantasy of being with a good looking white guy.if the guys were even average looking it would have been believable.seth rogan and bill hader were more believable as her boyfriend.eventhough on a scale of 1 to 10 even they are 4 to 5 points above her in real life.

    • Saw a recent picture of her after not seeing her since The Office days…something is really weird about her face now. Like too much botox or something. Just creepy. Kinda reminds me of the Joker (Nicholson) in Batman when he uses the flesh color make up and you can still see his disfigured smile.

  • I can’t stand her. I think it’s because she looks like my old boss that EVERYBODY hated. And Mindy was super annoying on The Office. Even though its just a character she plays…it can still make you just find the actor annoying if that’s the only show you’ve ever seen them on.

  • This isn’t a “feminism thing.” If any character, male or female, thin or heavy, were as annoying and as self-centered as Mindy Lahiri, everyone would dislike them.

  • First time I saw Mindy on the office I was like my god that is the ugliest girl I have ever seen. And she tries to come off like she is attractive my god Im in a wheelchair and haven’t had sex in like a year and i wouldn’t date that pig. HAHAHAHA