Many people in the U.S. think the show is a slap in the face to Americans who have lost their jobs to predatory industries that exploit cheap Indian labor. There is wide suspicion that the purpose of the show is to indoctrinate Americans to accept outsourcing by subliminally conditioning them into accepting job losses as a natural course of unstoppable globalism. Another theory is that the show is just an attempt by corporatists and/or Indian supremacists to rub our noses in the wasteland our country has become. Jack Fichter of the Cape May Country Herald described the issue as succinctly as possible:
Is it funny if your job was sent to India and you are losing your home and car? Is it a laugh if you find yourself working in Wal-Mart for $8 per hour when you formerly earned $20 per hour? "Is Outsourcing Jobs Funny? Ask NBC", 9/28/2010Other critics think the show exhibits racist xenophobia against Indians by using negative stereotypes. Entertainment reviewer Piya Sinha-Roy (Senior Entertainment Editor at NeonTommy.com) didn’t mince any words about what she thinks:
The premiere of NBC’s new sitcom, "Outsourced," kicked off last night and managed to singlehandedly piss off every Indian who made the mistake of thinking that in the 21st century, television may slowly be phasing out the stereotypes. ”Outsourced” — NBC’s Latest Foray Into Racist Xenophobia, NeonTommy.com, September 24, 2010The bottom line: All these criticisms and more are true about the show — which is an something a 1/2 hour sitcom rarely achieves so early in a season.
There are efforts by well intentioned Americans to either boycott the show in order to convince NBC to change it to be more sensitive to American workers (Facebook campaign and petition drive). They are unlikely to succeed but that probably won't stop them from trying. Protesting the show on the behalf of American labor is futile because there are no major organizations that would support such a cause (except unions) so it's unlikely that anyone could mount a significant enough of a campaign to scare NBC. It has been done before, like for instance when the powerful Latino and Chicano activist groups pressured CNN to dump Lou Dobbs, but publishing a Facebook page isn't going to get the job done as long as NBC executives think the show is profitable. A fake organization called "Computer Workers of America" put out this declaration in July but it obviously doesn't have NBC quaking in their boots:
If NBC chooses to air the program "Outsourced", they will face a boycott and public protests. These protests will target NBC and their advertisers, and will involve millions of Americans whose lives have been impacted by outsourcing. Computer Workers of America To Protest NBC's "Outsourced"So far labor organizations haven't been pushing for a protest bandwagon, although AFL-CIO activist Sarita Gupta made this suggestion:
So, as not to leave NBC hanging (we at Jobs with Justice are solution oriented, after all), how about another idea for a new NBC sitcom called ”Good Jobs, Fair Pay.” In this innovative new show, U.S. workers would have full and fair employment–all paid for courtesy of a small sales tax on Wall Street, otherwise known as a financial speculation tax. Outsourced: No Laughing Matter, AFL-CIOIf NBC were to crumble to groups who want the show changed, most likely the heavy pressure would come from Indian lobbyists and activist groups. They are far more organized and better funded than the hapless minority of Americans who threaten to change the channel on their cable TV tuner if NBC continues to glorify outsourcing.
Personally I thought the show was a real hoot — and it didn't even have a laugh track. For a sitcom it seems to be taking on a surprising number of controversial social issues such as shallow American style consumerism, cultural and religious conflicts, and the discriminatory caste system of India.
The show's biggest shortcoming is the way it depersonalized American workers whose jobs were outsourced to India. Viewers never got to see their faces since the star of the show (Todd) walked into an empty office and then headed straight for India once he understood that his future was in an Indian call center. It's unlikely NBC will revisit the personal tragedies these people suffered after they lost their job.
There are other problems with the show — like for instance the offices where this takes place are a very sanitized version of the squalid conditions that exist in most of the outsourcing facilities in India. Truth to be told the call center is probably better than most of the ones in the U.S. Throughout the show there is a prevalent theme that Americans are stupid and culturally corrupt while Indians are smart and wily energetic workers who don't hesitate to lie and deceive gullible Americans.
If there is something good to become of this show it would be to bring more awareness to the American public of the offshoring issue, and maybe there will be a chance for both Americans and Indians to learn some things about each other’s cultures. Since the globalists are determined to throw our countries together we might as well learn to understand each other and "Outsourced" may help.
The premiere show ended with the star of the show (Todd the American) coming down with a serious case of diarrhea after eating a dish of nasty looking Indian curry. Will this week's show open with him on an Indian squat toilet? Hopefully so because part of understanding India is learning all about it's problem with clean toilets.
Also we can look forward to interracial love affairs — after all this is a sitcom and we have to assume the NBC writers are exploitive liberals who want to push diversity agendas. The mega-hot Aussie lady named Tonya has her eye on Todd but if they get something going it won't last long because it would be boring to see two white people in India having a love affair. Something more scandalous will be required to keep ratings up so my prediction is that Todd will find an Indian love interest (most likely Sasha), while Tonya will shack up with one of the Indian hunks like Manmeet.
"Outsourced" is televised on Thursday at 9:30 pm. You can watch the entire premiere show from last week on the NBC website as well as view trailers and read all sorts of show related trivia.