Last time we took a look at upcoming NBC show CHASE. Continuing our preview of some of the shows coming to network and cable tv this fall is a look at Outsourced, on NBC.
Outsourced; 9/23, Thursdays 9:30/8:30c: Todd Dempsey is a manager trainee at Mid America Novelties, a company that sells novelty items such as cheese hats, whoopie cushions, and something called a “bacon wallet”. (Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.) However, upon his completion of management training he discovers that the call center where he was set to work has been closed down and shipped overseas. Whereas most average joe’s in his position, upon learning that their job has been outsourced move on to greener pastures, Todd learns that the company still wants to retain him, and ship him overseas as well to manage their new center. He takes the position and moves to India, where he finds himself completely immersed in a culture very unlike the one he comes from. He also finds that his sales team is a group of oddball characters who don’t know the first thing about American culture, or selling American products. Be it Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan), who speaks so low she can hardly be heard–“She works the phones? Really?” Dempsy asks incredulously– Gupta, who proves that the funny fatman is as much a staple in Bollywood comedy as he is in America, and the “probably means brave, honorable or something otherwise noble in Hindi, but is unfortunately comical to American ears” suggestively named Manmeet. (“Your name is ManMeat? It must be hard to chat on the internet with a name like ManMeat.”) Dempsy realizes that if he doesn’t get results from his B, C, and D-list sales team, he’ll inevitably be replaced by Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) who’s champing at the bit to take over his job. So he gives them all a crash course in American culture, inevitably learning a little something about their own in the process.
“People are struggling out there, guys. Those who aren’t outright losing their jobs are watching them being closed down and shipped overseas. We’re escapism, that’s what television as a medium has always done better than any other. We have to be there for the poor schlub who’s lost his job, who comes home, cracks open a beer and sits down with us to forget about his problems for a half an hour.”
“I have just the thing, boss.” Adams says. “How about a show about a company office that’s been downsized, only instead of from the perspective of the people who lost their jobs– who wants to hear about that boring, depressing old story, anyway– we do it from the perspective of the people who are getting the jobs instead, and all the nutty, wacky adventures they have along the way.”
Reason to Watch: Outsourced looks to be an original show with a unique plot and a quirky sense of humor. And isn’t that what we always ask for in our new shows. (Even though in a lot of cases *Cough*Arrested Development*Cough* viewers don’t always give original new shows the love they deserve.) What executives need to realize, though, is that for some outsourcing isn’t a source of laughter but a very unfunny, harsh reality. On the other hand, Hogan’s Heroes was able to find the funny in an otherwise not-so-very situation, so who knows… Nonetheless it does show much promise and hopefully will be given a chance to sink or swim based on it’s own merits and not the presumed controversy of it’s premise. The company goes through a downsizing on Thursday, September 23rd at 9:30/8:30c.