Last weekend debuted “Velma” — a reboot presented as an adult, modern reimagining of the TV classic “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” , Came up with an impressive feat: this was it Most Viewed Premiere An animated series on HBO Max – the show has yet to find a network or streaming partner in the UK.
previews hyped it up for months ahead, boasting The voices of an equally diverse and star-studded cast with an intriguing Mystery Inc. crew: a South Asian protagonist Velma (Mindy Kaling), an East Asian Daphne (Constance Wu), a Black Norville, aka Shaggy, ( Sam Richardson), Shay Mitchell, Jane Lynch, Wanda Skyes and other minor characters. The icing on top was a strange love ode to the two of our enemies, Velma and Daphne. so, wCap do not fall in love?
Brown viewers, including me, have some notes. We arrived at the series executive-produced by Kaling, only to experience some tasteless South Asian tropes that don’t reflect the nuances of our ethnic identities. It’s a track we are very familiar with, after experiencing it”The Mindy Project,” “Never Have I Ever” And “sex life of college girls: Derogatory comments about body hair and being unattractive, accusations of being lonely and unsuitable, and pandering to an aggressively mediocre white man.
Do not get me wrong; The series’ white male showrunner, Charlie Grundy, is also solely responsible for these portrayals. yet the show comes back what critics Call Kaling’s familiar pattern of self-insertion that centers whiteness as a source of validation and displaces brownness in four separate, highly publicized series.
Whiteness emerged as an aspiration in characters’ romantic relationships in three of Kaling’s other shows. Mindy Lahiri (“The Mindy Project”), Devi Vishwakumar (“Never Have I Ever”) and Bela Malhotra (“Never Have I Ever”) and Bela Malhotra (“Never Have I Ever”)sex life of college girls, And it doesn’t sit right with us now.
“We have moved on from the era of using our culture as a gag line or a reason for self-deprecation.”
While promoting “Velma,” Kaling got our hopes up when she acknowledged the importance of re-imagining the protagonist as a brown girl. “Velma’s essence is not necessarily tied to her whiteness,” she Told last fall. “And I identify with a lot of the character as her, and I think a lot of people do, so it’s like, yeah, make her Indian in this series.”
Kalinga’s authority, in a superficial sense. In the series, Velma isn’t technically bound by whiteness – she probably ticks “Asian”, then “South Asian” on her fictional standardized tests. But in Velma’s neon-soaked animated world, being brown has two meanings – being the worst punchline (the second scene in the first episode is a quick sequence commenting on Velma’s weight, “pretty face,” and “hairy gorilla arms” is) or at best being ignored. The gray area Velma lives in represents a divide: Is Kaling doing the work of bullies by putting down its gray hero? Or is she, as a brown person, completely justified in making these jokes?
The character of Velma (who, to be clear, is written by a bunch of people and not just Kaling), is reminded of the world she lived in nearly a decade ago. It was a time when the audience was still laughing Apu Nahaspeempetilon and comedian Russell Peters (who conveniently voices Velma’s father, Aman) on “The Simpsons”, who used stereotypes about Indians in their stand-up. ,The Mindy Project” Started in 2012, we see a lot of the same tropes.Velma“the ones that are only somehow reincarnated by their titular creator in each subsequent show (Very little in “never have I ever,” but exaggeratesex life of college girls,
Of course, it is not easy to create a single character that represents all South Asian Americans, as our experiences cannot be homogenized. and the show has some great nuance – especially in the making Velma Queer, something that previous portrayals of her character have painstakingly avoided. However, I would argue that we have moved on from that era of using our culture as a gag line or a reason for self-deprecation.
And so, when I saw the first two episodes of “Velma,” I immediately went to social media to see if it struck anyone else as wrong. And, judging by the flood of disapproving tweets, I wasn’t the only one. Here are some that resonated the most: