Tonight NBC returns its Thursday night comedy block minus one notable exception. “Community,” “The Office” and “30 Rock” are still there, but “Parks & Recreation” is being pushed to mid-season so NBC call roll out the new comedy “Outsourced.”
While it’s disappointing that we must wait for “Parks & Recreation” after having a great second season, it’s even worse that its 8:30 p.m. spot was filled with the atrocious “Outsourced”—a (stereo)typical fish out of water tale about American call center manager Todd (Ben Rappaport) whose office has been outsourced to India.
Todd is reluctant about the move, having never been out of the states, but accepts because he must pay off student loans and thinks his opportunities in today’s job market are slim.
Once in India, Todd finds an assistant manager who’s scheming for him to fail so he can take the position and a group of Indian phone operators expected to sell American novelty products—foam fingers, leg-humping Chihuahua toy, mistletoe belt buckle, etc.—despite being totally clueless about American culture.
Todd’s biggest hurdle becomes teaching his team the ins and outs of pop culture so they can sell useless products to the rubes back home.
“Outsourced” tries to be part “The Office” and part “Office Space”—Diedrich Bader even pops up in India spewing ultra-American rhetoric and xenophobic views—but is nowhere as entertaining as either. And, I’m not even a big fan of “The Office.”
The crux of the humor in “Outsourced” revolves around a bunch of foreigners trying to learn our culture from their exasperated American boss. We’re generally expected to point and laugh at those different from us (U.S.) because their weird or strange and therefore uncool.
Making matters worse is Todd attempts to teach his workers about stateside culture using movies 20 years old—“Glenngarry Glenn Ross,” “Goodfellas.” I guessing the joke here is that India is 20 years behind the almighty United States of Freedom Fries. Going by “Outsourced’s” logic, I doubt India is even aware Al Gore invented the Internet.
Not only is “Outsourced” borderline racist towards India, but also manages to insult Americans as it seems every caller is either a mindless consumer or just some dumb hick. The only silver lining is that “Outsourced” is so bad it’ll surely be canceled soon and “Parks & Recreation” can come back.
“Outsourced” 8:30 p.m. Thursdays on NBC Zero stars