Thursday, September 23, 2010

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Outsourced - Premieres September 23; WGN America Pulls Entourage, Curb from Primetime

Outsourced

Outsourced - Thursdays 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Outsourced is NBC's latest "clash of the cultures" sitcom to explore how one person functions when being suddenly immersed in an unfamiliar environment. Todd Dempsey (Ben Rappaport) returns from his vacation to his office at Mid America Novelties to find that the call center his workplace has been "right-sized" in order to save the company every penny possible. Everybody has been fired, and their jobs have been replaced by employees in Mumbai, India. Well, not exactly everybody has been fired. Todd still has a job with Mid America Novelties, but now he is the lone American manager of the call center in India. But that is just the beginning of the story. Upon Todd's arrival into India, he discovers that his job is going to be much more difficult than anticipated when he finds that his employees are not exactly top-notch.

Cast Details:

* Ben Rappaport as Todd Dempsey
* Rizwan Manji as Rajiiv Gidwani
* Sacha Dhawan as Manmeet
* Rebecca Hazlewood as Asha
* Parvesh Cheena as Gupta
* Anisha Nagarajan as Madhuri
* Diedrich Bader as Charlie Davies
* Pippa Black as Tonya

Ben Rappaport (Todd) makes his television debut in his starring role in the series. A recent graduate of the Julliard School, he received the Drama Division's highest honor, the Michel and Suria Saint-Denis Prize. His credits include several Julliard performances and work with Roundabout, Ars Nova, Naked Angels, Irish Rep., The Actors Studio, and New Dramatists.

Rizwan Manji (Rajiiv) has many credits from guest starring roles in several series, including Glee, FlashForward, 24, Better Off Ted, Medium, How I Met Your Mother, and Without a Trace, among several other series. His movie credits include Charlie Wilson's War and Transformers.

Manchester-born Sacha Dhawan (Manmeet) has many credits to his name in the United Kingdom, but is new to American audiences. He is an accomplished tap-dancer who has previously appeared in British series such as Out of Sight and The Last Train.

Parvesh Cheene (Gupta) made his acting debut as Samir in the movie Barbershop and sequel Barbershop 2. He has many television credits in guest starring roles, including ER, The OC, Brothers & Sisters, and 'Til Death.

Diedrich Bader (Charlie) has many credits from films including EuroTrip, Napoleon Dynamite, Ice Age, Office Space, and more. Additionally, he has done many cartoon voices (including Batman) and also played Oswald Lee Harvey on the long-running series The Drew Carey Show.

Pilot Plot:

#1 "Pilot" (Airs September 23, 2010) - Directed by Ken Kwapis
In the pilot, Todd Dempsey returns from his vacation at Mid America Novelties to find that the call-center that he has been hired to manage in Kansas City is gone, outsourced to Mumbai, India. Upon arriving in India, he meets his assistant manager, Rajiiv (Rizwan Manji), who already has his eyes on Todd's job, in anticipating that Todd won't last long in India. Once Todd arrives in the office, he finds that his new employees are less-than-stellar, including Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan), the call-center employee with no self-confidence, Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood), who seems to be the most in-touch with American culture (but still struggles), Gupta (Parvesh Cheena), the obnoxious co-worker, and Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan), who is deeply intrigued by Todd's explanation of American lifestyle. He also meets Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader), who works for All American Hunter and knows what the future holds for Todd, and Tanya (Pippa Black), a young Australian woman who quickly attracts Todd's attention.

Everything appears to be a disaster at first, but as the episode progresses, the call-center employees are slowly becoming interested in the products they are selling and in American culture, even if their understanding of American culture is fatally flawed. Will they make the adjustment before Todd loses his sanity?

Analysis:

The pilot was decent, but leaves some holes that need to be filled. In particular, it felt as if too much of the attention focused on Todd's adjustment to his new job. While it makes sense that the character should be the central character of the series, the other characters often seemed to just be an afterthought and seemed to have two-dimensional personalities. The series is going to need to have some complicated plots focusing on multiple characters and bring some depth into their distinct personalities. In particular, I'm hoping to see some power struggles between Todd and Rajiiv, similar to the power struggles between Michael and Dwight on The Office.

Some of the funniest moments in the pilot came from the cultural misunderstandings of the employees in India, but the problem with this is that the call-center employees are not the "fish out of water" in the series, and instead, that role belongs to Todd. He seems to adapt to the culture a little too easily in the pilot, and the series could certainly benefit if his character was more naive about the culture in India. Still, it is important for the series to continue to include the difficulties that the employees have adapating to American culture, as they are working with American customers. There were certainly many funny elements in the pilot, but there weren't enough (if any at all) laughs regarding Todd's character.

The series has a pretty decent cast, with each cast member fitting into the profile of the character he or she is playing. One of the things that I feared before seeing the pilot is that the series would stereotype all of the Indian characters as being the same, but they actually successfully managed to create a dynamic cast with each having a distinctive personality, even if the pilot episode did not present an adequate opportunity to present those personalities. Even though the cast is made up almost entirely of unknown actors, all of them seem to be prepared to take upon their roles and have great potential for the series.

Conclusion:

All in all, this isn't a bad show, although the pilot could have been better. The series probably wouldn't have a chance on another network, but it may benefit from being paired with The Office on NBC's Thursday night lineup. Still, NBC has the series Parks and Recreation returning later in the season, and something will have to be bumped to make room for it--and this series seems to be a prime candidate for that.

The success or failure of the series will depend upon whether or not people tune in, and the somewhat weak pilot may affect that significantly. Still, the pilot isn't a total disaster, and I'm hoping that the creative staff was really intending to JUST introduce us to the cast instead of creating a complex plot involving the characters (as there really wasn't any complex plot at all). The concept for the series is one that I hope to see work out for the best, and I think that with some improvements, it may attract some fans. It won't be a huge hit for NBC, for sure, but it has potential to be a stable part of the lineup.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/23/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 23 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Outsourced Photo Gallery

    Preview:



  • So, that's a wrap for the new sitcom pilot reviews. Better With You and Raising Hope were the pilots we liked best, while Outsourced was the lowest rated for us. Stay tuned later this season for more pilot reviews which includes Matthew Perry's Mr. Sunshine for ABC.


    Moving on to news, WGN America will make some schedule changes to its primetime/late night line-up beginning on Monday (Sept. 27). It looks like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm didn't do well in primetime in the ratings and they will be moved to late nights only. Starting Monday, they will now air in the 1am ET hour leading into the already scheduled late night airings at 2am ET. Replacing them in primetime will be two episodes of How I Met Your Mother in the 9pm ET hour, as that series will no longer airing in the 11pm ET hour, with Scrubs returning to that hour now. Replacing Scrubs at midnight ET will be South Park, which moves up an hour (from 1am ET). One note, How I Met You Mother won't air in the 9pm hour on Mondays, because of CBS network obligations, so Old Christine will air in the 9pm ET hour then, in addition to its regular weekdays 8pm ET hour. Old Christine will not air now in the 7pm hour on Fridays, so Dharma & Greg is all five days now in the 7pm ET hour. The 9pm move is better news for Mother, as it was airing at 11pm where Lifetime also airs it. Now you don't have to choose what network you want to watch it at 11pm.
    There are some schedule changes to weekends, too. Saturdays will also see changes in primetime and late night. Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm will be replaced on Saturdays at 9pm ET also, this time by America's Funniest Home Videos. After the news at 10pm ET, How I Met Your Mother remains in the 11pm hour on Saturdays, so it will air Tues-Fri at 9pm and Saturdays at 11pm. But the Saturday late night line-up has changed, with South Park moved up to 12am ET instead of Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Instead Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm will now air in the 1am ET hour and another hour at 2am ET. So, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Mon-Sat in the 1am and 2am ET hours now. Another hour of South Park bookends Saturdays at 3am ET.
    On Sundays, Just Shoot Me! will now air on the schedule after all, airing in the Sundays at 6pm ET hour after Scrubs. Dharma & Greg is no longer planned in this hour now on Sundays. Be on the look out for Just Shoot Me! airing as a filler as well (such as when there is no WGN News at 10pm ET).
    View the FULL and updated WGN America Fall 2010 schedule. And stay tuned for any special stunts and marathon that WGN America always plans for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, January 18

    Abbott Elementary - "New Tech" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    When a new computer program is introduced at Abbott, Janine is excited to finally help Barbara out with something. However, Barbara is reluctant to accept change and finds herself in a tricky situation when she decides to lie about her students’ results rather than admit defeat. Elsewhere, Melissa surprises Jacob when she offers up a friend to assist with his lesson on unions, but she ends up teaching Jacob an important lesson herself.

    black-ish - "Bow-Mo" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Dre calls into a radio show and gets humiliated in front of Diane and tries to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Bow tries to bond with a group of young female doctors and learns a hard truth.

    American Auto - "Millbank, Iowa" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The group travels to Iowa for the opening of a new factory.

    Grand Crew - "Wine & Hip Hop" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Sherm tags along as Nicky sells a house to a famous rapper; Noah and his date get into a fender bender; Anthony deals with dating while vegan.

    Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Payneful Suffering" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    As the family prepares for Janine's return, everyone and everything goes awry.

    Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Forgive and Forget" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Reginald seeks forgiveness from his estranged son.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 17)

    Tuesday, January 18

    • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Catch Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Francia Raisa (How I Met Your Father/growni-ish) - Francia is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about After Life on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Hilary Duff (How I Met Your Father/Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about How I Met Your Father on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie talks about her new book Enough Already on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Ana Gasteyer (American Auto/People of Earth/Suburgatory) - Ana appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) and Finesse Mitchell (Outmatched/A.N.T. Farm) - Kym and Finesse guest host The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa talks about Netflix's Brazen on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Rose McIver (Ghosts/Woke) - Rose is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason and his wife Jenny Mollen are guests on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny chats about The Masked Singer on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Stark Raving Mad/Wings) - Tony talks about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-January)

    Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
    11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
    11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
    11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
    11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
    11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
    11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
    11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
    12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
    12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
    12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
    01/04 - Work in Progress - Season 2
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    01/18 - Tim Allen to Star in The Santa Clause TV Series; Lifetime Reunites with Jenna Dewan
    01/17 - Celebrating Betty White: America's Golden Girl Airs Jan. 31 on NBC; Netflix Premieres Murderville on Feb. 3
    01/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 17, 2022)
    01/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Quantum Leap and Life Goes On Reboots in the Works at NBC; Weekend of Tributes for Betty White and Bob Saget
    01/14 - Fri-Yay: Cobra Kai Continues to Be a Delight; Fox Announces Premiere Date for Welcome to Flatch, Hulu to Release First 7 Episodes on Same Day
    01/13 - MeTV Acquires Full House, Launches with Bob Saget Tribute; Dickinson Gets Documentary Retrospective
    01/12 - TCA Winter 2022 Press Tour: ABC; Hulu Orders More of The Great
    01/11 - Hulu Orders Reboot, Sitcom About a Sitcom Being Rebooted; Emily in Paris Renewed for Season 3...and Season 4!
    01/10 - Remembering Bob Saget of Full House and Dwayne Hickman of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; Betty White's 100th Birthday Tribute on BUZZR & GSN
    01/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 10, 2022)
    01/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Reboot of The Honeymooners in the Works; Remembering Marilyn Bergman
    01/07 - Fri-Yay: ABC's Abbott Elementary Is a Solid and Promising New Sitcom; Fast Foodies Brings More Comedic Guests for Season 2
    01/06 - More Betty White Tributes Scheduled; Growing Belushi Returns Jan. 19 for New Season, Includes Guest Appearance by According to Jim Co-Star
    01/05 - Peacock Unveils Wolf Like Me; Freeform's New Comedy Single Drunk Female
    01/04 - USA Network Acquires 9-1-1; Space Force Season 2 Drops Feb. 18 on Netflix
    01/03 - Fri-Yay: Networks Have a Few Promising Comedies for 2022; Betty White Tribute Marathons on CMT, MeTV, TV Land, Decades, Hallmark, etc.
    01/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 3, 2022)>
    01/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Betty White; Lost in Space a Hit for Netflix
    12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering TV Legend Betty White and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2021
    12/30 - New Year's Eve 2021 and New Year's Day 2022 TV Marathons
    12/29 - Celebrate the End of 2021 with Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart; UPtv's Binge Week Continues with Reba, Gilmore Girls
    12/28 - HBO Max Announces January Slate; New Campaign for 2022 Includes Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and The Flight Attendant Season 2
    12/27 - Atlanta Returns for Third Season on March 24 on FX After 3 Year Break; Bridgerton Returns for Second Season on March 25 on Netflix
    12/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 27, 2021)
    12/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Grey's Anatomy Potentially Headed Toward Another Season; Lorne Michaels Looking to Retire
    12/24 - 2021 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies
    12/23 - Hallmark Channel January 2022 Schedule; Search Party Final Season on Jan. 7
    12/22 - Hallmark Channel and MeTV Celebrate Betty White's 100th Birthday; Ben Savage to Star in Lifetime Movie
    12/21 - Showtime Announces We Need to Talk About Cosby; Nick Announces Warped!
    12/20 - COZI TV Columbo Toast on New Year's Day, Brings Back McMillan and Wife, Banacek and McCloud; Better Things Final Season Premieres Feb. 28
    12/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 20, 2021)
    12/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeff Garlin Fired from The Goldbergs; The Golden Palace Headed to Hulu