Mindy Kaling has beauty, brains and smashing success. Now, join us on our mission to find her Mr. Right and make the rom-com happy ending of her dreams come true!

She's Just A Girl, Standing In Front of a Boy, Asking Him To Love Her...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mindy Kaling Is Victim To Mindy Kaling

A promo for Mindy's new book Why Not Me? was posted on YouTube: "Mindy Kaling Is Victim To An Elevator Scam." 
A more fitting title would have been "Mindy Kaling Is Victim To Mindy Kaling." 

First things first, I greatly admire Mindy Kaling, despite my trollish ways that have alienated me from my beloved. But does Mindy want fans who follow her blindly? Maybe? However, I don't feel being a fan is mutually exclusive from having an opinion rooted in critical thought. 

Well, I just sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that Mindy Kaling is co-opting her own insecurities to rally the masses into buying into her brand of humor - which seems to be, hey, isn't it comical that anyone could actually be attracted to me? I'll cast myself as the unlikely leading lady against the most unimaginative leading men but I'll also wink wink, acknowledge that I'm ridiculously unappealing.  

Let's really dissect this elevator promo. The punchline is basically Mindy's disbelief that a guy like Anders Holm would be interested in her or in reading her book. 

In order for this comedy to fly, we have to buy into the premise that a nondescript "white guy architect" would of course never be into a girl like Mindy Kaling, even Mindy Kaling playing Mindy Kaling (and not Mindy Lahiri, her television show sitcom character which is indistinguishable from herself in this promo, which is another gripe I have about this promo). 

In the promo, Mindy slaps Anders, but Mindy might as well have slapped herself. It may be lucrative but there's little empowerment in this brand of female slapstick. What message does this send to girls, especially minority girls, or girls with varying body types, or even grown-ass women or even gay guys who are ever stereotypically neutered? 

Mindy Kaling in no way challenges the mold of the romantic comedy hero on her show or in her promo, which is her prerogative. The sadder part is that she also bases her comedy in perpetuating that she's not a good enough heroine for the narrow archetype. It's pandering to an audience instead of commanding one. 

Sorry love, casting yourself as the heroine is not per se bold or brave when you tear yourself down in order to make it more palatable for your audience. This is actually cowardly. If you did it to anyone else besides yourself, it would be readily apparent that it is hateful. 

And gosh, it's lazy! We've seen this before! Here (Eff You Matt Damon) and here and here (everything Amy Schumer). Not to mention the on your knees meeting in an elevator here in the pilot episode of The Mindy Project.

Mindy Kaling grew up loving romantic comedies featuring good looking white people falling in love with each other. Progress would be people falling in love with each other. Progress is not white man falling for Mindy Kaling despite the fact that she is Mindy Kaling, and I don't think great comedy is either (unless you are trying to be satirical, which I just don't think you are girlfriend). 

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