On Thursday, of all days, I called customer service. A man picked up. He spoke to me in what seemed like South Asian-accented English, but as usual, I didn’t ask him where he was, even when he said my name almost flawlessly. I generally don’t ask customer service representatives where they are. Sometimes it’s because I think that question would put them on the defensive; sometimes it’s just because I’m in a rush. On Thursday, I was in a rush. Why would I want to connect with another human? I’m BUSY. Um, right. What Vivek might call Badmoodistan. But even though I was Unfriendlyananthan, he was not. And he was the first customer-service representative I’ve ever spoken to who asked me where I was from.
HIM: Are you from Tamil Nadu? [notable tone of excitement]
ME: [taken aback by unwarranted kindness] No, my parents are Sri Lankan. Where are you?
HIM: I’m in Mumbai, but I’m from the South.
HIM: Well, madam, except for your accent, anyone would say you are an Indian.
ME: [laughs] Yeah, I was born in America.
And then: Lucky girl! he said. And suddenly, I was not in Badmoodistan any more.
I know that he’s right–I am a lucky girl. But America! America! Sometimes you have crappy sitcoms. He was so nice in that second that I wished (again!) for a different Ellis Island for mainstream humor involving desis. O television, we are your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. Please grant actual funny people, who write about real characters, some humor visas!
By most accounts, Outsourced was so unfunny and badly written, Joel Stein might have been watching. (I guess Vinod didn’t dislike this as much I did, but Heems certainly did.) I was put off by the clips I saw, and didn’t watch on Thursday; I watched on Hulu before writing this post, because I figured it was only fair. My original decision was the right one. This isn’t quite “stomach-sick that I’ve hurt so many people” territory, but for the love of Pete, when did the bar get so low?
Did you watch Outsourced? Can you rewrite a scene, a moment or a character to make it better? Or can you pitch a premise for a different show? Your characters don’t have to be spokespersons, or stereotypes, or politically correct. They just have to be funny. As the Sepia Mutiny comment box says, “it’s all good then.”
(I already thought of the one about a bunch of desi bloggers and their readers, who all live in different places (globe-scattered, dare I say?), and convene yearly in a bunker in North Dakota. So that one’s out. )
Please, Outsourced, get better or get canceled. In the spirit of kindness, I’ll root for the former.