You’ve probably already heard of “Outsourced,” NBC’s latest addition to its Thursday sitcom block, but not for the best reasons. It swiped the “30 Rock” timeslot and bumped “Parks and Recreation” to midseason. Clearly, the culprit warrants a closer look.
Disclaimer: These posts are not reviews — shows often make tweaks to their pilot episodes between filming in the spring and their fall debuts. Full reviews will come closer to the premiere date.
What it is: Adapted from a 2006 romantic comedy motion picture of the same name, “Outsourced” follows Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) from Kansas City to Mumbai when the entire staff at his novelty gift company is fired and their inexpensive replacements at an Indian call center need a Western manager. Cultural gaffes are scheduled to ensue 9:30 p.m. ET Thursdays.
Who’s making it: Executive producer and pilot director Ken Kwapis has an enviable TV resume, having been on board with “The Bernie Mac Show,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “The Office” from their very first episodes.
What to look for: Once awkward introductions are out of the way,”Outsourced” seems primed to hone in on a love triangle between Todd and two completely different costars, charmingly combative employee Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood) and Australian call center manager Tonya (Jessica Gower). And since unknowns make up almost the entire cast, we just have to point out that Diedrich Bader (Oswald Lee Harvey from “The Drew Carey Show”) is thrown in the mix as a less-evolved American working in the same office building.
What pops: Anisha Nagarajan, who plays nervous call center staffer Madhuri, could use a lot more screen time. Her incoherent whispering and distressed facial expressions easily steal attention from her more outspoken costars.
What doesn’t: Obviously the pilot has to lay the fish-out-of-water conceit on real thick, but does it need to be so racist about it? The few laughs we had were muffled by the pervasive uncertainty that none of them were in good taste.
Reminiscent of: “Aliens in America” and “Life on a Stick”
Here’s the latest preview for the series:
UPDATE: Zap2it has just learned via The Hollywood Reporter that the role of Tonya has been recast, with Australian actress Pippa Black taking Jessica Gower’s place.
Photo credit: NBC