Episode 21: Rajiv Ties the Baraat

While most wedding guests bring gifts for the happy couple, the Outsourced’s crew brought drama to the nuptials of Rajiv and Vimmi.

The big day has finally arrived. After multiple roadblocks, Rajiv is finally getting married to the love of his life, Vimmi. Despite the long list of marital events, Todd decides to add his own tradition to the schedule by throwing Rajiv an impromptu Bachelor party. However, when Vimmi and her father walk in on Rajiv in a compromising position with a transgendered stripper, the entire wedding is put in jeopardy.

With only a few more episodes to air, Todd is facing the ultimate in Indian traditions: the multiple day, multiple ceremony, completely blinged out Indian wedding.  In the true spirit of nuptials, Todd is not the only one getting in the romantic spirit of the all weekend event. In Outsourced’s first two-part episode, seeds of romance are being planted between Madhuri and Ajit, Todd and Asha and Manmeet and his newly imported girlfriend, Ashlen. With all these relationships forming, it brings about questions about the longevity of the series. Over the course of the season, Outsourced has faced even more barriers than Rajiv and Vimmi’s romance. From battling for a full season to the most recent cancellation news, audiences seem unsure as to whether or not they want to break up with the show.

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Episode 20: Mama Sutra

With mother’s day right around the corner, this week’s Outsourced brought back Tonya’s mom for a special brand of loving.

When the Outsourced crew discovers that Madhuri reads palms, everyone wants to get their fortune told. Unfortunately, Tonya gets her palm read, it is predicted that her relationship will end because of one of the women from the call centre.  As a result, Tonya immediately becomes hyper sensitive to Todd’s relationship with Asha, viewing it to as a preview for things to come. In the meantime, while Todd is busy trying to make his office appropriate for Tonya’s mom, she’s busy heating up an X-rated fling with Charlie.

As Outsourced nears the end of its pilot season, the characters are increasingly becoming the focus over the cultural clashes. Though this storyline took place among the chaos and cattle of India, it could have easily been transported to Connecticut without any significant changes. Tapping into universal truths, such as the “meeting the parents” anxiety, translates Outsourced’s characters and conflicts right across the pond. That being said, like Tonya’s mom, it would be nice to see the writers take a few more risks. As she proved, it’s never too late for a little extra lovin.

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Episode 19: Charlie Curries a Favor From Todd

Anyone who has tried Indian food knows that each bite has the tendency to bite back.  However, this notoriously spicy cuisine wasn’t the only thing heating things up on this week’s Outsourced.

Charlie attempts to spice up his life

Tough economic times seem to be spreading across the pond and impacting the call centers. When Mid-American Hunter goes under, Charlie asks Todd for a job. Unfortunately, Charlie’s odd desk ornaments and inability to respect managerial authority wind up getting him fired from his position with Mid-American Novelties. With no job and his birthday round the corner, Charlie is feeling a bit burnt out. Seeing their sullen friend, Gupta and the others help Charlie break the chili eating record making him a local celebrity and renewing his fiery self-esteem.

This episode added some much needed spice to a fairly bland plotline by striking a balance between basic comedic elements and cultural hot topics. While All-American Charlie attempted to handle Indian chilies, Rajiv was working to exploit “white guilt” in order to pay for his honeymoon. Both storylines subtly commented on the opposing culture without sacrificing comedy for overly offensive material. Though this episode was an improvement from last week, it still lacked cohesion and plot development. Perhaps if Outsourced focused less on diarrhea jokes and more on clever cultural comedy, audiences would have more of an appetite for the show.

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Episode 18: Gupta’s Hit & Manmeet’s Missus

If high school has taught me anything, it’s that the truth has many sides. Outsourced took on a typical case of the he-said, he-said in this week’s episode.

Gupta is a notorious pain in the office but when he claims that Rajiv slapped him, Todd has the painstaking job of figuring out what actually happened. Meanwhile, Manmeet enlists the help of Charlie, Madhuri, and Asha to create a video for his girlfriend back in America. While editing the film, Charlie notices Gupta and Rajiv’s encounter in the background and brings the footage to Todd’s attention. Todd is then faced with the difficult punishing the convicted offender.

Though Outsourced is evidently trying to move away from cultural material and focus more on genuine comedic story, this episode stuck to an overused and conventional plotline. While the setting may be irregular, basing a story around a misunderstanding is the tried and tested formula to traditional primetime sitcoms. Somewhere between the third and fourth rendition of the truth, the episode lost its luster and fell flat. Hopefully the writers will punch it up a little for the remainder of the season.

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Episode 17: Todd’s Holi War

Paintball looks like child’s play in the face of the Indian festival of Holi and as this week’s Outsourced proved, the festival of colour can bring out the warrior in even the most demure.

It’s no secret that India is slightly more than warm, but when the Outsourced office loses its air conditioning; the call centre workers really begin feeling the heat. After some investigation, Todd discovers that the big boys upstairs are stealing all of the cool air. What started out as a simple discussion soon spirals into a battle royal between the Outsourced crew and Globocorp for life, liberty and a comfortable room temperature.

The battle for AC gets personal, and a little colorful

Outsourced’s season has been spiced with a huge variety of festivals, from Thanksgiving to Diwali. Between Indians and Americans, there are enough events to make up an entire season of holiday themed episodes. With this fact in mind, it was nice to see that Holiwas not the main focus of this week’s episode but rather added color to the main storyline. By drawing attention away from the culture clash, writers were able to unite the Indian and American cast members against their newly introduced corporate enemy. In the true spirit of Holi, this episode ignored cultural differences in favor of “pelting each other with colors so we all look the same in a big show of brotherhood.”

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Episode 16: Take This Pun-Jab and Shove It

When you win the lottery, it doesn’t take long until everyone wants a piece, regardless of whether or not you’re willing to share. In this week’s Outsourced, Todd finds out how treasure found is also very easily lost.

When one of Todd’s workers quits, Todd begins hunting for a new call centre employee. Between the hoards of unqualified applicants and questionable referrals, Todd begins to wonder if he’ll be able to fill the position until he meets Kamik. Educated and raised in America, Kamik is the holy grail of call centre employees and gets the job on the spot. However, word spreads about Todd’s new superstar employee and before long, Kamik gets poached by another call centre.

Finding the perfect employee is particularly difficult because Todd needs to find an Indian that can pass as an American.  While Rajiv may think that being American means being “tall, blond, exceptional in almost every way except in knowledge of math and the basic science”, Todd really just wants an Indian speaks with minimal accent. Kamik offers even more because not only does he speak like an American but he also has extensive knowledge of American pop culture. The job opening reflects the foundational culture clash of the show and reveals that there is a middle-ground between the Indian-American dichotomy. Kamik exemplifies that you don’t have to be one nationality or the other, but instead that individuals can be a hybrid of multiple cultures. The race is on to find another employee with that perfect blend of curry and California.

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Episode 15: Guess Who’s Coming to Delhi

Outsourced is in session and this week’s topic of discussion is cultural understanding. The Indian-American contrast may be a staple on the show, however, this episode brought about some unexpected lessons from even more unexpected teachers.

Ganesh gave Charlie a hand but apparently no cultural sensitivity

Todd’s worlds collide when his All-American boss, Jerry, flies to India for an unexpected visit to the call centre. Terrified that the office won’t meet corporate expectations, Todd tries to train his staff on the finer points of buttering up the boss. Having put the Brown in brown-nosing, Todd is disappointed to find that Jerry’s visit is more about drinking and debauchery than office development. After a rough night out and an even rougher night in jail, Jerry returns to the call centre with a hangover and the title of “call centre manager” for Rajiv. While Jerry was out on the town, Charlie employs Gupta for some long overdue tutorials in Indian culture.

Up until now, audiences the show has focused on Todd’s cultural education. The student has since become the teacher in this episode Todd attempts to help Jerry and Charlie become more culturally sensitive to India. Between Jerry from cow tipping and telling Charlie not to use Ganesh’s statue as a coat rack, it’s evident that these two have a lot to learn. Since Todd is busy with Jerry, Charlie turns to Gupta for some extra-help sessions.   Thanks to Gupta, Charlie gains a new appreciation for the biggest democracy in the world, inventor of chess, geometry and tandoori, and Columbus’ original destination. To reciprocate, Charlie educates Gupta about America, the land that “invented the lightbulb, the computer, the swimsuit issue, spring break, a spork, hard-shelled tacos and the Beatles”. While Outsourced may have its own inaccuracies, with episodes like these, perhaps audiences will broaden their Slumdog perceptions of India and like Charlie, gain a greater cultural understanding and respect.

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UPDATED CONTENT COMING SOON!

Lying on a beach, soaking up the sun and limiting your concerns to what cocktail your will order next may be a great way to escape reality, however, it also sets you up for a nasty shock upon your return to society. After returning from my vacation, time seemed to traveling at twice its normal speed, sadly resulting in my prolonged hiatus from the blogosphere. Sob stories and poor excuses aside, I am here to inform that this week, I will be posting all the missing episode reviews in anticipation of Outsourced‘s April 21st episode: Mama Sutra.

Get ready, get set, and get excited…UPDATED CONTENT COMING SOON!

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Vacation Time!

Once in a while, and sometimes more frequently, everyone needs a bit of time away. A little time off for some fun in the sun, guilt free galavanting and and some much needed R+R. Well, my time has come. I am off to a tropical paradise to squish my toes in the sand and treat my stresses to a much needed pina colada.

I’ll be back before you know it, but in my absence, I suggest you check out Daemon’s TV for photos, promo videos, and episode reviews.

Sincerely,

Ishani

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Episode 14: The Todd Couple

Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentines is celebrated in India too! In the spirit of the upcoming festivus of sweet chocolate and bitter singles, this week’s episode of Outsourced was Valentines Day themed. The holiday proves to be a major milestone for a certain “Todd couple”, however, it is most definitely not the pair that you’re expecting.

It's Valentines Day on Outsourced!

After Gupta yells at a customer, Todd decides to hold an anger management session for all the call centre employees. When the standard company video turns out to be, as Rajiv termed it, a “racist yoga movie”, Todd resolves to train the employees himself. Despite his efforts, the following day, Gupta once again loses his cool causing him to lose his job for a week. His suspension from the call centre proves to be a turning point for Gupta and with some encouragement, he uses the time to move out of his parents’ place. Unfortunately for Todd, Gupta takes up residence in the upstairs flat, giving a whole new meaning to nosy neighbour.

Though it was a slightly tumultuous relationship at the outset, recent episodes of Outsourced are craftily courting audiences back to cultural comedy. This episode even poked fun at the comical conceptions of Indians as a “spiritual, magical people”, speaking the exotic language of “Indian” and living on nothing but a dirt floor. Rather than displaying the differences between Americans and Indians, there is an emerging focus of the similarities between the two cultures. When Gupta explained that, “In India, we live at home until we get married”, Todd was initially surprised until he realized that he had essentially done the same thing. This balance and the developing characters is a sweet treat. Audiences may not be in love quite yet, but increasing ratings indicate that they’re developing a pretty substantial crush.

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