Velma Is Gaining Viewers Despite Thousands Of Negative Reviews?

Velma is a hit for HBO Max despite near universal scorn, likely thanks to the rise of hate watching.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

mindy kaling velma

There’s a genre on social media commonly referred to as “Fail” videos in which millions of viewers watch someone mess up baking a cake, or catching a ball. The oxymoronically celebration of human failure getting millions of people to turn their heads and watch a car crash is the only thing that can possibly explain what’s going on with the worst show on television. Movieweb is reporting that Velma, the lowest rated show in the history of the internet, is a streaming hit for HBO despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews.

Parrot Analytics tracks the interest level in streaming programs using a complicated algorithm that looks at social media stats, blogging, fan ad critic sites, and actual download/streaming numbers. Velma is the top HBO Max series coming in just behind Wednesday in fourth place on the chart. This places the Mindy Kaling series above everything on Hulu and Paramount+. The increase from last week amounts to a 127% jump, exceeding The Last of Us.

That means you can start a fight online by stating “Velma is the most in-demand program on HBO Max.” Considering the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is 6%, with 10,492 ratings as of this writing, it is very likely that the Scooby-Doo show without any Scooby-Doo is benefiting from hate watching.

The origins of the hate-watch have been lost to the mists of time, but the practice entails people that watch a show just to make fun of it. Famous examples of hate watching include the final season of Dexter, Glee, Riverdale, and any reality show but especially Big Brother and The Bachelor. Making fun of Velma and blaming HBO for what the studio did to Scooby-Doo is much easier after actually watching an episode.

Norville, Velma, Fred, and Daphne in Velma

Velma is so easy to hate and ironically, such a streaming hit for HBO, because of how it re-imagines the classic Mystery Team. Mindy Kaling voices the titular star, now a bisexual Asian-American alongside That 80’s Show star Glenn Howerton as Fred, Sam Richardson as Norville the not-Shaggy stand-in, and Constance Wu as Daphne, now also an Asian-American but one that sells drugs to other high school students. The cast is an all-star collection of talent, extending to the supporting characters voiced by Stephen Root, Frank Welker, Melissa Fumero, and Jane Lynch.

The majority of the blame for Velma falls on Mindy Kaling and the social media backlash ahs reached such a fever pitch that the comedy writer’s entire career is being re-examined. Another HBO series created by Kaling, The Sex Lives of College Girls, is being used as a mirror to highlight the faults of Velma. In doing so, fans and critics have noticed that all of the Asian female characters written by the star of The Mindy Project appear to be the exact same character.

Every Asian female written by Mindy Kaling strives to be the smartest person in the room, but not too smart, because that’s uncool. In addition they’re drawn to the wealthy white alpha male character and openly struggle with the common tropes and societal expectations placed upon them. Velma, and The Sex Lives of College Girls, are both currently on HBO Max and check off all those boxes.

Ultimately even if Velma is hated by critics and the viewing audience, eyeballs are glued to the program each week. At the end of the day, that is what Warner Bros. Discovery wants to see with the HBO Max Originals, explaining why Velma has been renewed while Infinity Train has been derailed.