Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: NBC's Outsourced (From a Foodie Perspective)

I puff up with a sense of pride anytime I hear about a successful Indian person in the U.S., especially if said person is successful in a field that Indian-Americans aren't really known for. (This is probably one of the many reasons for the attraction to my teacher fiance.) I realize this pride is totally unjustified as I don't really have anything to do with that individual's success -- but still, inside, I think, "Yeah! Go you! Make a good name for us!"

So, when I heard that NBC was debuting a sitcom with a mostly Indian cast, I of course had to watch (chest puffed out). The comedy Outsourced, about a call center in India and the cultural differences between the Indian employees and the imported boss from the United States, debuted tonight. It's difficult for me to pass much judgment on the show itself -- pilot episodes always have so much scene setting and character building -- but I did have to make a few comments on the food scenes.

1. When fellow expatriate Charlie Davies is eating an all-American lunch, of a ham sandwich, Cheetos, and pudding cup in a cafeteria full of people eating Indian food, I just had to laugh. This reminded me of when I'd attend temple with my family, then finally, after way too many hours, lunch would eventually be served. But after all of the hours of Sanskrit prayers and flowers and offerings, I'd reached my daily limit on how much Indian culture I could handle in one day. I'd pick at the Indian food, finding the vegetarian options (meat isn't usually allowed in temples) and the spices to be, at that moment, simply unappetizing. Our mom would always have to fork over money so we could get lunch at McDonald's on the way home.

2. When Charlie makes a comment to American manager Todd Dempsey about the intestinal side effects of spicy Indian food, I empathized. Apparently, I was born missing the gene that lets Indians "appreciate" extreme spiciness (and by extreme spiciness, I mean, being able to eat food while tears are streaming down the face). Even as I purposely try to increase my spice tolerance, it hasn't been going that well. Let's just say, the tongue is willing, but the digestive tract is weak.

3. That mess of Indian food on the plate at the end was interesting. I'm not sure where the show was going with that, but to me, it beautifully illustrated the conundrum of Indian food. A curry is great, but a bunch of curries all spilling into each other on a plate just isn't pretty. God help you if you're one of those people who doesn't like it when your entree and your sides are touching each other on your plate.

Did anyone else catch Outsourced? What did you think?


  1. I think Outsourced is funny..but I don't see it lasting long. There is only so much you can make fun of Indians for without sounding repetitive.

  2. I was wondering how long the show would last too, but I just heard today that NBC picked it up for the whole season (which surprised me a little, though I'm glad). I guess we'll find out!

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