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Mindy Kaling Slams Criticism About Velma’s South Asian Identity in ‘Scooby-Doo’ Spinoff: I Don’t Care If People ‘Freak Out’

Jinkies! Mindy Kaling isn’t here for any criticism that may pop up in the wake of her new role as Scooby-Doo detective Velma Dinkley, who is South Asian in the upcoming animated spinoff centered on the intellectual mystery-solver.

“Hopefully you noticed my Velma is South Asian,” the Never Have I Ever creator, 42, told the audience at the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront presentation Wednesday, May 18, after the crowd saw a photo from the upcoming HBO Max series. “If people freak out about that, I don’t care.”

However, Kaling is hopeful that fans will accept the change with open arms: ”Nobody ever complained about a talking dog solving mysteries, so I don’t think they’ll be upset over a brown Velma.”

The Velma photo that was shown to the audience on Wednesday shows the Mystery Inc. characters like you’ve never seen them before. In addition to Velma’s (the character) update, a naked redhead — who appears to be Daphne — is covered only by soap bubbles as she and Velma stand over a dead body with the top of its head sliced cleanly off, making for a more NSFW Scooby-Doo than its other iterations throughout the generations.

Kaling, who is also executive-producing the series, has been outspoken about her desire to change the entertainment industry. She’s also candidly discussed how her own South Asian identity has been criticized and mocked in her career.

“I shortened my name because emcees for these comedy shows [when I was doing standup] would have trouble pronouncing it, and then they’d make a joke about my last name,” the Mindy Project star — whose real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam — told NPR in 2020.

Four years earlier, she spoke passionately about the importance of real representation for South Asian women and other people of color on TV. “Women, especially young women — especially young women of color — want to see someone on TV who is not playing a terrorist or someone in IT,” she said at the Women in the World Summit.

Kaling has created that representation herself — in her role as Kelly on The Office, her star vehicle The Mindy Project (in which she played an OB-GYN) and by creating Never Have I Ever, which revolves around an Indian teenager as she navigates friendships, various love interests and her Indian family and community.

Though the Office alum knows that she’s faced her fair share of racism, she also recognizes that other people of color may have been through worse in the industry — which helps her toe the line when it comes to jokes about race within comedy.

“I’m not offended by very much,” she said on NPR. “But then again, I have also not been marginalized in a lot of ways that people are. So it’s tricky.”

Source: USMagazine

  1. Once again some idiot thinks they know better than 50 years of history of a character. Why does the world need an adult version of this character? This is a kid’s character it should stay for children. I’m really sick and tired of people ruining things like this. Why not create a whole new character in the same vein as that one? Want to create something original? Instead let’s screw with everyone’s childhood favorite cartoon and make a mockery out of all the people that worked on it before her. We do not need naked, profanity and gore. It’s ridiculous. Why not create a character from scratch that is the nationality she wants?

    1. I agree with you completely. I really wish people would simply create their own things nowadays. The last few years has been filled with re-iterations of past films and all sorts. It just feels cheap. Also, you’re right, it was a children’s show regardless of innuendos etc. Why do people feel the need to sexualise such things? It is really beyond me. At this point I feel like a great deal of children’s shows and films are getting these ridiculous adult “reboots” that are just unnecessary. As well as all of the above, why do they find it justified to change a character that is 53 years old? I have no concerns when it comes to cosplay and artist renditions but fundamentally changing a characters appearance I feel is kind of disrespectful to the original creators honestly. It would be like changing Peter Pan or a Disney princess. I grew up watching said show as did those in the generations before me. I just fail to comprehend it honestly.

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