Chris Messina's Comments on Mindy Lahiri's Lovelife Are Somewhat Offensive
It's no longer a spoiler that Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano broke up, and actor Chris Messina recently took to Huffpo Live to apologize to fans for breaking Mindy's heart, but although his shy apology was cute, the question immediately following it was saddening. After assuring us that his character would "feel terrible and find his way back to Mindy," Chris was goaded into addressing the criticism that Mindy casts "too handsome of men" as love interests. And although he recognized that this is a completely sexist judgment lobbed at one of the first TV shows with a woman of color at the helm, he didn't quite set the matter to rest.
He said, "I think Mindy Kaling's beautiful, and why not have some handsome guys with her. And I agree, if it was a man's show [there wouldn't be a problem with differences in appearance]."
Yes, Chris's answer addressed the terrible premise that Mindy somehow doesn't deserve to cast or TV-date whomever she wants because of her appearance, and although the Huffpo commentator also mentioned Lena Dunham, it's probable that in Mindy's case, there are racial overtones in the assumption that it's not "realistic" for her to date societally approved hot white guys.
And Chris's decision to affirm that he thinks Mindy is "beautiful" only reinforces the idea that Mindy can't be beautiful without some white guy reminding everyone that she's beautiful. It's a self-defeating cycle, and it's not fair to The Mindy Project.
Whenever Internet idiots criticize figures like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling for their conventionally attractive on-screen partners, I usually snort angrily, close the tab, and make another cup of tea. But now that Chris is getting questioned about the criticisms, I guess it's time to remind everyone that Mindy Lahiri can date whomever the frack she wants.
So if you want to talk about the need for more diversity among Mindy's friends and lovers, do go ahead; sure, it may be a moot point since it has already been harped on, but diversity is important nonetheless. However, if you want to judge her physical appearance against the impossible standards of American beauty, then use that to undermine her casting choices, you can kindly sit down. Because Mindy Kaling doesn't need anyone to tell her she's successful, funny, or attractive.
Personally, I'll be rooting for Mindy Lahiri to get back in the game this week when she meets a silver-fox police officer, who is hopefully another hunky love interest. Go Mindy, go.