“Don’t you just find Mindy Kaling, like, really annoying, though?” and other things I find, like, really annoying.

First of all, let’s just start this post by reminding everyone that The Mindy Project is my favorite new comedy of the season, and that I love Mindy Kaling more than I love a lot of things. I know that she is vaguely unpopular on the Internet, for reasons that are valid and reasons that are subjective,  but when I ask people why they don’t like her, the general response is:

  • She’s annoying
  • She whines too much
  • She’s really narcissistic
  • She talks about herself a lot

I’m pretty sure those are all characteristics that soundly belong to Kelly Kapoor and not necessarily to Mindy. I mean, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, but listen, you don’t know her, how would you know if she talks about herself a lot?

It reminds me of another vaguely unpopular person on the Internet, Zooey Deschanel, who I also happen to love more than a lot of things. People hate Zooey because she brakes for birds and rocks a lot of polka dots–wait, no, that’s something her character Jess Day said on her show New Girl, not something Zooey has thrown out in conversation with anyone we’ve ever known. But we know that Zooey has the ultimate Kitsch Empire, and for some reason, lots of people find that really offensive. But here, and I’ll tell you what, it takes more than being a woman-child to become extremely successful and famous, and if you think Zooey isn’t very smart and savvy, you’re wrong.

But let’s get back to Mindy, because I like her a lot, too, and for different reasons. Similarly to Zooey, Mindy has built an empire on persona, and that persona is being self-centered and self-deprecating. She took a bit part on The Office and turned it into one of the best supporting characters (divisive though she may be among fans, everyone knows a lot about her). The whole point of Kelly Kapoor is to constantly toe the line between realistic and outrageously unbelievable, but people very conveniently seem to forget that Kelly and Mindy are not, in fact, the same person. Mindy actually addressed it in her book IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? AND OTHER CONCERNS, which you should read if you haven’t, in saying,

No one wonders what I’m like in real life, because they assume I am Kelly Kapoor. Obviously, this confusion is not something I would mind if I were playing Lara Croft or a Supreme Court justice or Serena Williams or something, but when you’re playing a bit of a selfish, boy-crazy narcissist, it’s a concern. And even though I’m a writer and producer (and sometimes director, technically making me a quadruple threat, what of it?), people tend to forget this in the face of the fact that the character Kelly and I both love shopping.

And after she worked her way up to being an executive producer for The Office, she created and sold her own self-titled workplace comedy, which is one of the most successful of the season. Even Zooey (The Quirky Girl, or is she?) or Tina (The Downtrodden-but-Beautiful Nerd, or is she?) or Amy (The Silly Lady Who Has a Lot of Heart, or is she?) hasn’t done that (is the only other one Roseanne?), but I’m not saying Mindy is funnier than Amy Poehler, so you can put away your knives. I’m just saying that her brand of character comedy is different: it’s aggressively forward, very self-deprecating, and there’s no question that she is the center of it all.

And what’s wrong with that? Why are we downing on a very successful lady who wants her character to be about herself? She’s not doing anyone else a disservice by making her characters the focus. She never said she was making an ensemble comedy. Is Mindy Lahiri a perfect character? Well, no, and that’s why we have this tool called character development. Kaling is a woman of color making a show based on the persona she’s developed for years, and suddenly people are all up in arms about it? No, thanks.

There’s no question that The Mindy Project is intended to be about Mindy Kaling, to a degree. Like with Kelly, the two Mindys share a lot of characteristics, I’m sure. But there comes a point where the similarities end because this is not an autobiographical show. Unless Mindy Kaling is moonlighting as an OB/GYN, in which case she might be a robot, in which case that’s the show I want to be watching. But seriously–yes, the two are not divorced completely, but neither are they the exact same.

All I’m saying is that maybe Mindy Kaling and Mindy Lahiri are very different people. Maybe they’re not. I mean, I think they probably are, because that’s what being a successful TV show creator means, so everyone needs to relax about how irritating they think she is and enjoy the best new comedy of the year.

And if they’re not so different? Relax. Enjoy the best new comedy of the year.

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About Bailey

I'm a writer and a feminist. I read a lot of books and I watch a lot of television.

6 Responses to ““Don’t you just find Mindy Kaling, like, really annoying, though?” and other things I find, like, really annoying.”

  1. Clearly the Jewish casting directors and producers picked the ugliest Indian girl they could find (there are a lot of hot Indian actress girls who are out of work and 1000% times funnier) in order to punish India for siding with Iran in their oil sanctions.

  2. She is not hot her body really wierds me out… She has some good points about her but she is also very ANNOYING.

    • Agreed, and really stuck on herself. This article tries to state that the things we dislike about her are due to us comparing her to her TV characters. Mindy even states above “No one wonders what I’m like in real life, because they assume I am Kelly Kapoor. ”

      Has enyone ever seen her on the late night talk shows? All she does it talk about herself!! Just got done watching her on Late Night Jimmy Fallon 9-16-2013. All she did was talk about her short hair in her new show, and how she thought she really looked hot and was taking all of these selfies of herself. Google the show and watch the interview! She’s so stuck on herself. And she looks awful in short hair, really makes her nose look huge.

  3. Relax, enjoy the best new comedy of the year? there is nothing “best” or great about this show…

  4. She’s not hot. American? Isn’t that the question of our time? Is the era of ‘THE OFFICE’ over, yet? Carrell faring? well in cinema.

  5. You sound full of yourself and grasping the straws to protect your ego.

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