Outsourced: "Pilot": like watching a train wreck (you can't not look)

Quick Take: Outsourced: "Pilot" 
Looking for a show to offend both Indians and Americans alike? Look no further. 

outsourced

Review: Outsourced, "Pilot" 
(S0101) Based on the movie of the same title, this show is about a man named Todd whose company's call center is outsourced to India. Todd is told he has to go train everyone at the call center, or else he'll be fired. Here's the "funny" twist -- the company is called Mid American Novelties and sells things that mostly only Americans would understand, like cheese hats and a deer head that sings "Sweet Home Alabama." Some will see this as a "why are we sending these jobs to India" show and others will see it as a "wow, these are just people who want to make money too" show, but I think both will be left completely unsatisfied with the results.

As an Indian American, I was happy to see Indians on TV, and I really wanted to like this show, but instead I was kind of offended by the whole thing. Everyone on this show is a stereotype -- including the Americans. The Indian characters come off as stupid and naive, the American characters come off as self-centered and racist. For example, one run-on joke is about how Indian foods look gross and will give you severe diarrhea and how one American businessman there ships in his own food to avoid getting sick. Ha. Funny.

Another thing that annoyed me was that none of the Indians come across as regular people, where our main character Todd seems mostly like a regular guy, if a bit culturally insensitive and clueless. I'm also a bit peeved that the main character is immediately attracted to a white Australian girl, but a brown-skinned Indian girl doesn't even clock in on his radar. I think probably both of these issues are going to be slowly resolved over the series, but I'm not sure I really want to stick around to find out. 

I don't think any of the jokes were meant in a "mean-spirited way," and I understand that in comedy, choosing to offend everybody is often a good way to be funny, but in this case it didn't work at all. Knowing that people will really believe Indians are just like the stereotypes on the show (like how people used to ask my vegetarian mother if she actually eats monkey brains like the weird cult on Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom), I just couldn't find any of it funny. The only reason I managed to finish the episode was that it was like one of those truly terrible reality shows (Flavor of Love anyone?) where I just couldn't look away.

Video: Outsourced, "Pilot" 
If you can stand it, here's the pilot episode of Outsourced in full, while available, from Hulu: 

By totallytv

About the author

When I'm not watching TV and blogging about it, I'm a children's book writer. Follow my TV tweets @totallytv or my writing-related tweets @amithaknight.

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8 Comments
On: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Totally agree -- unfunny caricatures... amazing that this made it to air. 

On: Thursday, October 7, 2010
kd said:

hey!whoever is the author of this article he or she.i am of indian origin and i think the show is hilarious taken in light hearted way.Feel like todd will up hook up with the

indian not the aussie!!!!

 

On: Monday, November 15, 2010
Sonny Moon said:

"Outsourced" is even worse than "Community." If this is the best NBC can do, I think the network needs to outsource its sitcom production development team. Maybe to India.

On: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
eg said:

Hello, I was just wondering if you still dislike the show after watching more episodes (if you have watched more). I'm just curious to see if people will become less offended as the characters and plotline are developed.

On: Tuesday, January 11, 2011
totallytv said:

I ended up watching 2 more episodes. While I agree, that subsequent episodes weren't as offensive, they still weren't very funny. I think I laughed maybe once per episode. Not worth it when there are better shows on.

On: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
that man said:

Sorry, but the author of this article obviously doesn't know enough about the show that is being criticized, saying that Todd immediately goes for an Australian, even though he went first imeediately to an Indian, then an Australian.

On: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
totallytv said:

@That man -- Okay, I *did* watch this show (several months ago), and while you are right that he showed some mild attraction for the Indian girl (if I remember correctly?), I still stand by the statement, because his response once he sees the Australian girl is immediate and obvious. Taken by itself, each individual issue I had with the show would not have been a big deal, but I can't change the fact that I found the pilot episode as a whole unfunny and slightly offensive.

On: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Definitely agreed on the unfunny, which I find to be of the highest offense ;-) 

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