Friday, October 1, 2010

TBG TV: Outsourced

When/Where: NBC -- Thursdays at 9:30 PM

10-Word Premise: See if you can imagine The Office...and, you're done.

Ben Rappaport as Jim Halpert, Rebecca Hazlewood as Pam Beesley, Rizwan Manji as Dwight Schrute, Sacha Dhawan as Ryan Howard, Diedrich Bader as Creed Bratton, Parvesh Cheena as Kelly Kapoor, Pippa Black as Karen Filippelli and Anisha Nagarajan as Phyllis Smith.

The Best Thang: The geek in me squealed with delight at the sight (and sound) of Diedrich Bader's ugly mildly unattractive American character, Charlie. I still remember him fondly as Lawrence the neighbor in 1999's Office Space ("No, thanks, man. I don't want you f*cking up my life, too.") And, for the record, I was incessantly quoting that movie LONG before the rest of you discovered it on DVD. Bader's also the voice of Batman on the new Brave and the Bold cartoon, so...yeah. He can do no wrong. In the premiere, he attempts to dissuade the new guy from ordering traditional Indian food in the cafeteria ("Do you hate your own ass?") See? No wrong.

The Worst Thang: Outsourced lifts so liberally from The Office that NBC should just pen the script for the contrived crossover episode, already. The character links above aren't that far apart -- right down to the "unofficial manager" bit that Dwight Schrute used in the first few years of The Office, now carried on by this show's Rajiv character. Simply way too many jokes about the Indian staff's names ("Manmeet"? Hahahahaha!), cultures and customs, as every joke was written for the lowest common denominator. I get that this was the pilot and probably the best place to get them all out of the way in one episode, but it was still pretty repugnant.

The Verdict: The premiere had its moments (a reference to the classic 1980s arcade game "Frogger" and the "Detroit -- home of black people" line), but the writing would have to get a lot smarter for me give it another viewing.


Lew B said...

As far as the "Office Space" reference, I think we have quoted that movie together back when you'd drop off J at school.

But I'm one up on you in this regard - I've had jobs where I actually had to wear "flair".

Jag said...

Ugh, I hate this show. As an East Indian, I couldn't even finish watching the first episode (not because I was offended by the show, just because it was so lame). I've heard the movie that the series is based on is actually quite good.

And after reading other reviews about how "racist" it was (meh...I've seen racist-er), I like your comment about how every joke was written for the lowest common denominator. I think that's the best way to describe the show.

Anonymous said...

really... great job on americanizing every Indian character on the show. dick.

Aaron C. said...

And, great job on missing the point. But, thanks for reading!