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Attention Must Be Paid: Outsourced

outsourced-tv-nbcIf you’re new to the Attention Must Be Paid (AMBP) feature, here’s the deal:  when I run across something that I think is great and isn’t getting the props it deserves, I write it up in this space.  Unfortunately, AMBP is starting to become a graveyard of canceled projects, including Party Down and Air.  Today, we welcome Outsourced.

Outsourced was only on for one season (September 23, 2010 through May 12, 2011) and 22 episodes, but it left an undeniable impression upon my mind.  The characters and their stories resonated with me for reasons I can’t explain – but then, well written scripts will do that for ya.

The show follows the adventures of Todd, an American who is sent to India to manage a call center for a mail order novelty company…  I know, a fish out of water story is a little cliche, not to mention the fact that the show takes place in a contemporary setting where American jobs are being outsourced overseas and yet people are still buying stuff from mail order catalogs?  Whatever – it’s all about the characters and their relationships with each other.

Get Your Head Bobble On

I have to admit, I never thought I’d see a sitcom where they attempted to explain the head bobble… it’s just one of the great things about this show.  After working with many people from India and the Middle East, it’s refreshing to see people I know represented on TV fairly accurately.

mid-head-bobble

Madhuri, mid head bobble.

“What does it mean?”

“Sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes neither, sometimes both.”

Yeah, that’s exactly what it means!

Characters are AWESOME!

Initially, I thought I would talk about my favorite characters in this section, but frankly, I love all of the characters on this show – even Rajiv, the assistant manager you’re supposed to hate.  He’s deliciously evil, but his motives are pure – he needs to become a manager so he can prove his worth to the family of the woman he loves…  they all have great stories like that.  Madhuri, who is at first portrayed to be soft spoken and demure has a tremendous singing voice that could take her to places most of us only dream of, but she is happy with her job at the telemarketing company that pays enough to support her family.

I believe Outsourced was not renewed due to NBC’s own bungling – if they hadn’t moved the show’s time slot mid season, I doubt it’s rating would have fallen off so sharply.  To expect TV watchers to have such loyalty after barely half a season is asking a lot – particularly the audience that has a hard time choosing between this and The Mentalist.  In any case, I just don’t understand how they expected the NBC audience to watch three straight hours of sitcoms – especially since The Office and Parks & Recreation are almost the same show, even sharing some of the same actors.

Nevertheless, Outsourced is still available on Hulu for free and on DVD at Amazon – check it out!

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