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Preview: Outsourced! Offensive or Funny?

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So it seems Yemrika (the evil twin of America) has decided that desis need to start laughing with/at themselves and to aid poor brown people develop a sense of humour there is a new show on it’s way called Outsourced. Is this new NBC-show, programmed for their Fall line-up, supposed to be funny or just plain offensive, check out the clip after the jump!

Since Steve Carell announced he’s leaving The Office, NBC has been desperately racking their brains to find a decent replacement. Altough Parks and Recreation is hilarious (with the awesome Aziz Ansari, playing a non-stereotypical Indian character), it hasn’t reached the same level of popularity that The Office had.

And since Joel Stein together with Time magazine feel it’s ok to make fun of Indians. Some TV executive came up with the genius idea to merge the two worlds together and set a sit-com in an Indian call centre with a fish-out of water American manager leading his newly assigned “B team” whilst  doing his best not loose his job to an Indian nemesis, trying to well.. take his job ( very subtle, I know..). The show is based on a 2006 movie that I did not manage to catch.

I am sure Outsourced will lead to greater understanding between East and West while cultural confusion and much hilarity will ensue but looking at the clip (which I have to be honest does contain a few chuckles in it) I don’t think I will be able to get over the fact that most of the jokes seem to be in the ” See how funny they speakeh the English’-vein (and don’t we get enough of that from Russel Peters?)

Whilst first hearing about this show, which is being murdered by most critics before it’s Pilot‘s even properly aired, I thought most people found the show to be offensive towards their portrayal of Indians, apparently that is not the case at all. Most backlash is coming from people that have lost THEIR jobs to outsourcing and feel that the economic situation of America is no laughing matter. Clearly none of the actors are actual Indians and they are putting fake desi accents on ( as most Indian actors seems to do in the US) , so at least you can’t blame the show for taking away jobs from American actors.

I might be hyper sensitive, but I hate the Manmeet and the “you guys wear funny hats”-joke (multiple Gods, MULTIPLE LAUGHS- Kal Penn’s reaction to Joel Stein’s piece in the Times) in this clip. On the flipside, I do like  Anisha Nagarajan playing the shy and demure Madhuri, if I do check this show out, she might end up becoming my favorite!

Outsourced will be on NBC, this Fall. ( that’s autumn for people with funny accents)

What do you think of this clip of Outsourced? Let us know in the comment section below!

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2 thoughts on “Preview: Outsourced! Offensive or Funny?”

  1. I saw the film a few years ago and thought it was far from perfect. As my friend at Indie Quill said, it has a nice heart but is utterly bogged down in stereotypes, some mild and some utterly cringe-worthy and/or damaging. I am not sure if the basic concept of the situation in the show dooms it from the get-go, but I think there are far less complicated and politically-charged ways to explore US-Indian culture clashes – that is, if that is the purpose of the show, I wish they had set it in some other way (like a non-Indian US family moves into an Indian neighborhood in New York, or an Indian student comes to a US university [so, a bigger look at Raj on Big Bang Theory?] or vice versa, something like that).

    The movie has a very powerful scene in which an irate US caller (I assume white, though you never see him) rants at the very kind Indian phone operator about taking his job etc etc, and she offers to try to find him a similar product made in the United States (it’s some sort of horrifying patriotic kitsch – a metal eagle sculpture or some such). She does find one, but the one made in the US is something like double the price…and he orders the one from her company.

    I’m not at all abreast of labor issues in the US but that seemed dead-on to me – if Americans want to encourage American jobs, we will have to be willing to pay for them. That said, I do not work in an industry that could easily outsource to any other place, so the economic reality of outsourcing is not something I personally have had to deal with. Nor, I suspect, have many of the angry and stupid-sounding comment-leavers on certain websites.
    Another great scene in the film involves true cooperation of attitudes and approaches from both the Indian and American workers at the Indian call center. I won’t ruin it, but it’s pretty funny and struck me, an American who has spent a grand total of 5 weeks in India, as realistic (or at least not outrageously and obviously fictitious).

    I don’t know. I’m not sure why they’re making this show. I’d love to know what they’re hoping to do with it and wonder if there could have been other ways that are less likely to stir up anger based on 1) hollow stereotypes and 2) non-comprehension of global economic complexities. But I will definitely watch it – maybe it will be more thoughtful than we’re expecting!

  2. The people whose criticism of the show is based on the stereotypes portrayed are missing the point. The issue isn’t stereotypes or racism but, rather, how offensive this show is to Americans who are suffering in the middle of major near-dep…ression. The corporate execs at GE will be enjoying their cut of the $68 billion/year that the 1,200 richest families in America will share each year thanks to the Bush-tax-cuts-for-the-rich while they get even richer making fun of those of us who have lost our jobs either to offshore outsourcing or through cheap H-1B labor on-site labor. How can they get away with it.

    Let’s watch the show only so we can take down the names of the sponsor and send the SPONSORS letters of protest, too. Hopefully these sponsors will face the possibility that their ads on NBC will, not only NOT sell more soda pop or MP4 players or hairspray, but may even reduce their sales. Then the power of GREED will, hopefully, result in the ads being pulled and NBC having to cancel the show.

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