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Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Guess Who's Coming to Delhi" on Outsourced?

     Many critics weren't instant fans of NBC's Outsourced when it premiered last fall, and that may be putting it mildly. However, I found it slightly amusing, and worthy of some time to grow. Months later, while it remains the weak point in a very strong night of sitcoms, Outsourced has become pretty darn enjoyable, and I don't think the racial humor is excessive, as some have accused. Or at least, the offensive stuff isn't all there is to the show.

     Take last night's "Guess Who's Coming to Delhi," for instance. Sure, the cultural insensitivity was still there. Charlie (Diedrich Bader) even got a complaint about it from one of his staff. Jerry (Matt Walsh) arrived in India for the first time to check out the operation, and he completely disrespected customs by kissing women's hands, taking a bunch of his employees to a bar and buying them shots, and tipping a cow, which landed himself and others in jail. But the characters who did those bad things were looked upon by the others as fools. Jerry spent time behind bars! What better payback is that? It's not like the show is condoning that sort of behavior.

     The nice thing is, now that the series has had time to flesh things out, the characters are getting better defined. Rajiv (Rizwan Manji) is still a tool who hates Todd (Ben Rappaport), but he also shows signs of compassion now and then, and really wants to marry the woman he loves. Todd himself has begun to embrace the culture around him, respecting traditions and boundaries, once he is aware of them, anyway. Gupta (Parvesh Cheena) is still the workplace idiot, but his efforts to help Charlie for no benefit to himself demonstrates what a big heart he has. I have really started liking these people.

     Plus, the humor can be pretty funny. Yes, it was wrong for Charlie to rip arms off a statue of a god after using it as a back scratcher, but it was also fairly humorous. Watching Pinky (Thushari Jayasekera) dance or Ajeet (Guru Singh) barely tolerate Jerry were both pleasures. Gupta realizing that a picture of tourists in front of the Eiffel Tower was taken in Vegas instead of Paris because of the drinks in their hands was also pretty good. These are just a few examples.

     If you gave up on Outsourced last fall, give it another try. You might like what you see. Outsourced airs Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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