Outsourced - NBC: Thursday at 9:30
I applied for a KingSize Direct Card, not expecting to get it, but curious as to the state of my credit. When you're turned down for such things they have to send you a letter explaining in detail why.
My letter was short. In fact, after the salutation, it was only one word long:
This brings us to NBC's new Sitcom Outsourced (Thursdays at 9:30). If one were to ask me whether or not they should watch the new show (about an American Novelty Company that outsources its customer service department to India and sends one American over to manage them), I would rely on the wit and wisdom of the good people at KingSize Direct Credit in my answer.
I got nothing against India. Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines, India is one of the Top Three** countries for consistently producing hot women, and who can forget Springfield's most underrated comic genius Mr. Nahasapeemapetilon?
But that's no excuse for lazy writing. I can't think of a single joke that would work if you took the show outside of India. Yes, I know the show is set in India, and certainly one would expect some Indian-centric comedy, but funny is funny, and they should be able to put this cast (no pun intended) in Indiana and have them be just as funny. (By the way, me saying the jokes wouldn't work outside of this setting is NOT an endorsement that the jokes DO work in the setting. Largely, they don't.)
Professional Asshole Michael Moore has gone on record that a show about lost jobs in America is in especially poor taste, and while it's tragic that Moore hasn't yet been eaten by something or someone, he may have a small point.
In the Big Picture sense the Economy is a truly Global thing, and those jobs going to India are ultimately good for the U.S., but in the short term, and to families and communities who have been devastated by the outsourcing of entire industries I can see where they might not go for a show like Outsourced.
Nonetheless I remain adamant that anything can be funny, if done right. (Someone remind me some day to tell you all the idea I had for four jaw-droppingly offensive sitcoms.) What's truly offensive, though, isn't the situation, but the execution, and at least in the pilot, Outsourced was as painful to watch as those job losses. (Maybe that's what they were going for.)
During the show I got in a Twitter discussion with someone who loves Indian men the way President Clinton loves beefy gals with poofy hair, and her point (I think) was that it was just great to see so many Indian actors on television. I suppose that's a fair point.
Remember back in the '70s when there started to be black shows on television, like Sanford and Son, and then later The Jeffersons, What's Happening and Good Times? Some became classics, but if you go back and watch, most are pretty atrocious. It wasn't until The Cosby Show that America saw a truly outstanding show featuring a black cast. But back then, black people were so happy to have anything on TV that they didn't complain.
However, by the time you got to the late '90s and UPN, that same "let's not rock the boat" attitude gave us Hanging with Mr. Cooper, Shasta McNasty and Homeboys in Outer Space. I maintain that we're past the stage of just being grateful some group is finally represented on TV. It's time we demand quality for all! That's the whole point of TV Warrior, to champion great shows and jump up and down on the nuts of the shows that make our souls all hurty.
Outsourced is closer to the second option. So if you ask me - "isn't it cool there's a sitcom about fat people and now one about Indian people, and shouldn't we just be happy we have all this diversity and not whine about the lack of quality?" - I answer:
[** Obviously Russia and Sweden are the other two, and if you were making a Mt. Rushmore of hot women-producing countries God help you decide on the fourth, though gun to my head, I give Brazil the slight advantage over Italy, but only slight.]
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