November 5, 2010

I Still Prefer My Chai as a Latte

NBC's new show Outsourced baffles me. It takes place in an American call center located in India. I assume Mumbai. I can't tell what it's going for. Is it engaging a new audience in Indian-Americans? Is it a new way to make culturally insensitive jokes? Is it a new context for tasteless jokes? I haven't figured it out yet. I can't tell if it truly represents Indian people. I watch it though. I want to support cultural diversity in my television. But I can't tell if it's actually being culturally diverse or being ignorant. Or even if it's accurate. I suppose I keep watching it in order to put my finger on what bothers me about it.

On the other hand, I love Indian culture. You know, besides the caste system and all. I have two Bollywood dance work-out DVDs, watch Bollywood movies, went to a Bollywood dance tour, practice yoga and meditation (most days) and fucking love Indian food. Oh do I love Indian food. It's the one cuisine I have a hard time convincing Mike to eat. It's the spices that get in the way. So he says. Whatever. I probably wouldn't eat that much of it anyway since it's not the healthiest. It's all my daily calories in one meal. One delicious, life affirming meal.

So here's this show that can expand a lot of American's view of the world, but in the context of taking American jobs overseas. I don't think that's the best way. I do appreciate the knocks on American culture and ignorance. The jokes aren't the smartest or funniest but they are there to be made. If this show fails it will be a long time before networks try for diversity. Margaret Cho's show was amusing but since being taken off the air there hasn't been anything for Asian-Americans. It's decades between shows featuring Hispanic people. It's 2010 and television is still very white. (And upper class for that matter. I miss Roseanne.) How long will it take before television can really represent people again?

4 comments:

Teresa said...

Indian food doesn't have to be bad for you! You can cut the oil a whole bunch, and some dishes (like Vindaloo and Korma) don't use coconut milk or cream. They are all spices and veggies and meat. Yum....

As for TV, I often wonder what is "diverse" and what is just plain offensive.

Winstonian said...

I watched the movie Outsourced, which the show is based on. It really butchers the movie, which I actually thought was pretty good. I watched about 3 episodes and couldn't take it anymore. I think if you watch the movie, then the show again, it'll answer all your questions.

I too love Indian food. Nothing beats an Indian lunch buffet. :)

belleshpgrl said...

I had no idea it was a movie first. I'll have to check it out.

I usually get the korma. It's still pretty "bad" but ohhhh so good.

dad said...

I essentially lived on curry chicken and rice in Oman--bought it frozen from the Hypermarket. I haven't found any Indian cuisine here in the dinosaur's graveyard.