Thursday, July 29, 2010
Not for review: NBC's "Outsourced"
"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.
The show: NBC's "Outsourced"
The premise: After completing training to run a call center for the Mid-American Novelties catalog, Todd Dempsey (Ben Rappaport) learns the company's call center has been relocated to India. When his company asks him to move to India and manage the center, student loan-plagued Todd agrees. Once there, Todd quickly discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and make the call center a success. Based on the movie.
My thoughts: The way I see it, "Outsourced" has two strikes against it. First, Americans still caught in the ongoing financial crisis might not be ready to laugh at the idea of outsourcing. Second, many of the jokes in the pilot are kind of obvious culture-clash jabs and not that funny. Yet, I'm kind of charmed by "Outsourced." Rappaport is an engaging and plucky lead who doesn't push anything too hard. And the actors who play Todd's Indian work staff are all game and immensely likable. The show, while not laugh out loud funny, is kind of warm and sweet. I would watch a second episode of "Outsourced," but maybe it should focus less on unfunny jokes about spicy Indian food and more on the growing bond between Todd and his staff.