Mindy Kaling on why ‘The Office’ couldn’t be made today: Most characters ‘would be canceled’

The Cambridge native deemed the beloved NBC sitcom "so inappropriate," but also theorized that's part of what makes it so popular.

Mindy Kaling. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Almost a decade after its 2013 series finale, “The Office” remains as popular as ever, reaching a whole new generation of fans who stream the show’s nine seasons repeatedly on Peacock.

But according to one of its stars, Cambridge native Mindy Kaling, the NBC workplace comedy couldn’t be made in the same way today.

During an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Kaling spoke about how cultural mores and comedy tastes have changed since the show’s 2005 debut, deeming portions of the sitcom “so inappropriate.”

When asked by “GMA” host Robin Roberts what her character on “The Office,” Kelly Kapoor, would be doing today, Kaling speculated that she would have “quit Dunder Mifflin to be an influencer, and then probably been canceled almost immediately.”


“Actually most of the characters on that show would be canceled,” Kaling continued.

According to Kaling, however, that offensiveness may also be one of the keys to the show’s success.

“The writers I’m still in touch with now, we talk about how so much of [The Office] we probably couldn’t make now,” Kaling said. “Tastes have changed, and honestly what offends people has changed so much now.

“I think that’s actually one of the reasons why the show is popular,” Kaling continued. “Because people feel like there’s something kind of fearless about it, or taboo.”

Kaling isn’t the first alum of “The Office” to speculate on how the show would be different if it ever returned with new episodes.

Acton native Steve Carell told Collider in 2018 that even though “The Office” became “more popular” on Netflix than it ever was while on the air, he wouldn’t want to reprise his role as world’s best boss Michael Scott.

“I just can’t see it being the same thing, and I think most folks would want it to be the same thing, but it wouldn’t be,” Carell said. “Ultimately, I think it’s maybe best to leave well enough alone and just let it exist as what it was. You’d literally have to have all of the same writers, the same producers, the same directors, and the same actors, and even with all of those components, it just wouldn’t be the same.”


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