Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Premiere Week: Outsourced

Over the years, NBC has established Thursday night as a great place for comedy. Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Wings (yeah, I said Wings...fuck you)...they have a good track record for funny television on this night.

Unfortunately, Outsourced does not make this list.

Full disclosure - I read a few reviews and heard the buzz that Outsourced wasn't that good. ANd the premise left a little to be desired. Still, I figured I would give it a shot instead of flipping over to the Food Network.

And that was my first mistake. By the time the show was over I briefly considered filing a class action lawsuit against NBC for wasting 30 minutes of my time. That's 30 minutes I could have used to bitch about Grey's Anatomy.

The show, about an American transplant in India managing a call center for a novelty product company (seriously - you know those stupid catalogs you get in the mail that highlights the Seymour Butts car window product where you can moon cars next to you? They need a call center for something like this? And the products they highlighted on the show? Ugh) fits so poorly with the other shows that I grew more and more angry as I wasted my time watching it. Mad at NBC, mad at the show and mad at myself for putting up with it. Seriously, with the quick-fire, intelligent writing of both 30 Rock and The Office (both solid episodes last night, though I think The Office really shined, something I haven't thought for a few years now) Outsourced felt more like one of the shows FOX tried early in its network inception. It would have paired nicely with Herman's Head.)

I knew we were behind the eight ball when promos for it started counting down the minutes until it aired during The Office. If only the show had kept the light humor of those promos then I would have simply deemed it "terrible."

The American lead? Terrible. A bland, husk of a character that alternates between being idealistic and xenophobic.

The Indian cast? Stereotypical characters from any run-of-the-mill sitcom, only Indian. I'm not sure what we're supposed to take from that. That people from other countries are just like us?

The other caucasians in the show to pander to the white audience that can't get past the idea that the show is set in India? Incomplete. Diedrach Bader, from The Drew Carey Show and Office Space, hams it up as as a racist (ok, racist might be strong, but I assume he's supposed to play the guy that reminds us that India is a crazy place that is so different from America. And that is just too weird!) And the blond Australian woman who is obviously a love interest designed to play opposite the obvious Indian love interest wasn't given much more to do than show off an Australian accent. I assume she'll have more to do in the future. Most likely get in a bikini.

Of course, I seriously doubt I'll see it, because I can't see myself watching this show again. Maybe if I hear they've retooled it. Maybe if I feel especially masochistic some Thursday. I only hope you heed my warning and simply find something else to do on 9:30 on Thursday nights... even if it's simply to pine about Parks and Recreation - the show this is replacing for the first part of the season.


Cline said...

If there's such a thing as negative buzz, this show's got it. Put it on CBS after 2.5 Men, and it's a hit, I'd wager.

Also, you omitted mention of NBC's more recent Thursday night excellent comedies.

Parks & Rec was the funniest show on TV last season, and Community overcame a shaky start to become a fantastic ensemble comedy.

And because I'm so smitten with her, I'm obligated to mention Alison Brie.

Goose said...

I'd like to think you recognized my list of comedies were classics, and that it wouldn't include a show that, in 2 seasons, had half of a good one. Park and Recreation certainly rebounded after a poor first season, but I'm not ready to anoint it funniest show of last year. I think Modern Family and Cougartown both were funnier. I also will put Curb Your Enthusiasm up against anything.

I also don't think Outsourced is a hit anywhere you put it. Not sure if you saw it or not, but it was bad. Painfully bad. The only hope it has is that it too finds a different voice ala Parks and Recreation did.

Cline said...

Both 30 Rock and the Office had mediocre seasons last year. Much more psyched about the newer comedies.

I'd put P&R half a notch ahead of Modern Family, and 2.75 notches ahead of Cougar Town, which I like a lot.

Not counting Louie as a last-season show:

1. P&R
2. Modern Family
3. Community
4. Cougar Town
5. How I Met Your Mother/30 Rock/Office in some order of disappointment

Cline said...

I did not see Outsourced. I'm barely treading water to keep up with my DVR as it is.

But have you seen some of those CBS sitcoms?

Regardless, Outsourced can't fail fast enough so Ron Swanson can once again invade my waking hours.