Review: 'Outsourced'

When/Where: Thursday night at 9:30 on NBC/4

In 'Outsourced,' the accent is on mockery

A management wannabe (Ben Rappaport) is sent by his Kansas City novelty company to run its call center in India, where everything is so foreign to him!

MY SAY

First, there's horror. Then there's heart. Then horror again. "Outsourced" is the season's most mixed bag when it comes to judgments of comedy, taste, sensitivity and even commercialism.

"Outsourced" panders shamelessly to viewers who find foreign people and customs so gosh-durn weird. Americans faced with Indian entrees in this show's cafeteria demean them as "yellow and green stuff."

Funny ha ha! Or insulting. But who's it insulting? Indians for liking "strange" food? Or Americans, for being naively provincial? I'm not sure if "Outsourced" intends it both ways or neither.

The whole show is like this, sort of oblivious to global reality, as if making some giant step toward culture-clash understanding. Which it may be, if only thanks to charming actors of South Asian heritage and Rappaport's Teflon skill at seeming as if he means well.

But "Outsourced" also seems to think an Indian accent is, in and of itself, a punch line.

REASON TO WATCH

Rare TV take on office life outside these United States, employing a host of interesting South Asian actors.

REASON NOT TO

Offensive ethnic cliches, gas-passing jokes, hot-babe leering.

BOTTOM LINE

Though American tastes are mocked here, too, laughing at your own group doesn't necessarily excuse laughing at others.

GRADE

C

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