After much fanfare, NBC debuts a new fall comedy tonight with a decidedly Desi theme – Outsourced. Here in the Bay Area, it’s on NBC @ 9:30pm. The show’s premise?
Now, for most mutineers who grew up in the post-Simpsons/Apu age, the idea of an entire comedy focused on Desi’s isn’t a theme we particularly look forward to. However, the NYT got a sneak-peak of the show and published a pretty complimentary and hopeful review –
Back in superpower times, cultural clashes took place on this side of the ocean and the joke was on the foreigners…”Outsourced,” which begins on Thursday on NBC and is based on a 2006 movie with the same title, reverses the premise to place an American naïf out of his depth in the developing world.
He is stunned to find a sacred cow wandering freely on the street and even more amazed to learn that his new employees don’t understand a reference to “The Bad News Bears.”..In other words, “Outsourced” could be perfectly awful.
The fact that it’s neither embarrassing nor deeply offensive — once it gets rolling, the show is actually quite charming — is a credit to the cast and the writers. The show mocks Todd’s blithe, well-meaning ignorance as much as it lampoons Indians trying to sell catalog items like fake vomit and “jiggle jugs.”
…South Asians are no longer an exotic minority that needs to be sheltered from comic stereotypes; for one thing, there is no easily recognized stereotype. The Indians, Pakistanis and other characters with roots on the subcontinent vary widely — and it’s hard to think of a show that doesn’t have one.
Archie Panjabi won an Emmy this year for her role as a sexy, enigmatic private investigator on “The Good Wife.” Adhir Kalyan plays an acerbic, Oxford-educated personal assistant on “Rules of Engagement.” Mindy Kaling is a boy-crazy singleton on “The Office,” while Aziz Ansari is a sleazy small-town bureaucrat on “Parks and Recreation.” Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was a geneticist on “Heroes,” is now playing a playboy C.I.A. operative on “Covert Affairs.” And so on.
How will it turn out? Well, I’ll give it a chance, DVR it and post some thoughts tomorrow