A poignant article in the Los Angeles Times by Geetika Tandon Lizardi, an American of Indian descent who writes for Outsourced, highlights the fact that it is OK to laugh at the ethnically based jokes on NBC’s pilot.
“Outsourced was the hippest thing to happen to South Asians in the United States since Madonna discovered henna.”
Despite popular support, Lizardi points out there were many people who found the show offensive and ignorant to cultural norms. She also notes most of the offended people were not Indian. “Perhaps they don’t realize that we have five South Asian writers on the show telling stories that often come straight from our personal experiences. Or perhaps they don’t believe Indians should make fun of themselves,” she says.
We were curious to learn more about the show and commented on the intercultural perspective writers took with Outsourced through our blog last year. At RW3, we unanimously died (read: enjoyed) laughing at the preview trailer. However, we also received online comments from individuals who did not appreciate the theme of the show:
Comment 1: I will not watch this show at all. I know a lot people who are right now unemployed due to outsourcing, and I can tell you, it is not a joke for them.
Comment 2: I too know people who have lost their jobs due to outsourcing, and I don’t see a lot of humor in it. And the trailer full of lowbrow ethnic stereotype jokes doesn’t make the show any more appealing. I don’t understand how shows like this make it past the focus groups…
The connection between unemployment in the US and outsourcing to India is a separate topic from the humor employed on the show. I wonder what Lizardi would have to say about the sore topic?
In response to those who dislike the comedy, this is what she says:
Those who only cite offensive stereotypes are missing the spirit of the show (or perhaps they’ve never actually watched it). What I love most about Outsourced is that the humor ultimately comes from a place of affection.
Outsourced has the potential to celebrate our cultural quirks, to build bridges between communities and perhaps, most important, to prove that there is a viable alternative to the ‘one brown face in a white ensemble’ model of ‘diversity.’
We couldn’t agree more.