September 24th, 2010

planet

Outsourced: Now it's whiter

Last night we caught Outsourced, a new NBC comedy they're showing after The Office. It's based off the 2006 movie Outsourced, and independent film that I caught by accident on Netflix Watch Now. The movie was kind of adorable. I has a romantic comedy feel to it, and you all know I hate romantic comedies, but they didn't cut realism from the ending just to make it happy. And the whole film had this really neat "appreciate a new culture" theme that was well done. Granted I haven't talked to any actual Indians about this movie or whether it's an accurate portrayal of the people of India, but part of it was filmed in Mumbai and in general I just felt cool about it.

The TV series... I don't think it's gonna make it. I think it's lacking some of the cultural sensitivity and appreciation that the movie had. I can't really explain it, but I felt like the jokes about India were laughing at, not with, the Indians.

And they committed some obvious sins that commercial media is bad about. The biggest one is that they gave the American manager some fellow white Americans to sit with during the lunch hour, so the cast of main characters isn't all Indians. There's even a hot white chick he can get all love-interested in. It's the Dances With Wolves mentality: brown people are fine as props, but always make sure your real story is about white people. I see through it now, producer-types.

I also feel like the lead Indian woman is... not very Indian looking. Sorry, gotta say it, maybe it's just me but I think she's light-skinned with features that look caucasian. It's yet another tell-tale sign that the series will not be about stretching your cultural acceptance muscles.

If you're looking for a cute movie about encountering, and accepting, new cultures, I'd recommend Outsourced the movie. I hope the TV series comes around and takes some lessons from the film and gets cool. I don't think I'll be making a point to watch it though.