The time has finally come to fully address the NBC folly that is Outsourced, the show about an American moving to India and experiencing a culture shock that is... pretty racist most of the time. Maybe the movie it's based on isn't -- Netflix keeps recommending it to me based on my interests, and since my interests are not generally too racist (Friday and Next Friday aside), I'm inclined to believe this show's source material is very different. But this pilot? Woof. It was rough.
But before I get into listing the offensive parts, I feel like I should point out a few moments that did attempt to balance the scale a bit. The parts about how American companies don't want to pay for healthcare and pensions is true, and a valid indictment of the messed-up way we run things over here. As was the moment when Todd decided to take the India position solely because of his crushing student loans. The American university system is completely unchecked and out of control, and student loans make us all do desperate things from time to time. Good Ameri-zing, show.
I guess I could count all the novelties themselves as a criticism of Americans (that's clearly what it was meant to be), but the truth is that while we do like stupid crap, like mounted deer that sing Skynyrd songs and foam fingers and toilet bowl mugs, every nation of people has their own version of that. You ever traveled anywhere? Tchotchkes are universal, my friends.
And though I suspect that Todd's inability to believe that people in India don't know every single thing about American pop culture is a comment on American arrogance or something, it was a mistake. It just makes him too annoying, and you can't help but hate him as a character. Why would you assume people in India would know what a Cheesehead is, or who the Bad News Bears are? No reasonable person would.
But while those things were sort of well-meaning, that doesn't mean a whole lot considering what else happened in the pilot. So now, the shit storm NBC has had coming to them since they announced this show.
-- Manmeet sounds like "man meat." Aren't their names funny-sounding?! Well, coming from an English-speaking land that has people named Dick and Gay in it, it's not, really, Todd. You ignorant ass.
-- Not only are Indians taking your jobs, America, they're being trained as evil "grits"-pronouncing, job-stealing, robot super soldiers who can impersonate you at a moment's notice! Be very afraid!
-- "Back home we had a bigger pantry." I don't know if a lot of people caught that comment, but it happened when Todd and Manmeet were hiding from Gupta (who is the only really funny part of the show), and Todd just said it for absolutely no other reason than to point out... Indian poverty, I guess? It was just such an unbelievably unnecessary, awful thing to put in the script. Unless it's some broad statement about the unfair division of wealth and assets in the world? Oh my god, I'm over analyzing Outsourced. Time to move on.
-- Todd called a Sikh turban a "crazy hat." Then, when that person was offended, he directed his comment at a woman wearing a Chunni. Literally. That happened. But he said it in a good-natured kind of way, so it's OK! Seriously, go die in your enormous pantry, idiot.
-- Indian food is so disgusting it not only gives you diarrhea, it gives you diarrhea for five days. Which, first of all, is patently untrue. Secondly, even if it did, it would still probably be better for you than Jiffy peanut butter, Smucker's jelly and Cheetos. Just saying.
-- "The traffic here is like Frogger, but with real people!" Shut. The fuck. Up. Todd.
-- The part where the call center all learns how to be American by performing Glengarry Glenn Ross scenes and Pussycat Dolls songs was clearly just a joke about how funny their accents sound. I mean, come on. Though I do enjoy Gupta's dancing. Just trying to be honest here.
-- And really, a bit about sacred cows? Aren't we past the whole "shock at India's attitude towards cows" thing as a nation? We should really move past that if we have not.
Did you see this mess? Unleash your thoughts about it in the comments, and check out some of our other fall premiere reviews!
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