On paper, NBC’s “Outsouced” is the sitcom I’ve always wanted. Not since Margaret Cho’s “All American Girl” have we seen a predominantly Asian cast on American television. Well, there was “Vanishing Son,” but nobody remembers that one. Anyway, yes, “Outsourced” should be something I lose my shit over. On a tick list of things that I’d want in an Asian sitcom, this ticks them all: predominantly Asian cast, airs on prime-time, explores Asian culture in a non-exploitive manner (kinda. This point can be argued, but I think they actually do a good job), potential interracial dating. So far, so good.

So why is it so hard for me to get into this damn show?!

I didn’t make it through the first episode of “Outsourced” when it aired. Every week, I try to stick with it. I usually have the tube on Thursdays for NBC’s comic block while I’m working on the comic. And even then, I just can’t sit through an entire episode. I usually make it half way through “Outsourced” before I click it off the idiot box and click on my Old Time Radio.

The thing is, I love a majority of the cast. I love the setting. The soundtrack is really fun. But it doesn’t work. And after trying to sit through this first season unsuccessfully, I’ve pinpointed what keeps me from enjoying a full episode. Todd Dempsy.

Todd Dempsy is our viewpoint character. He’s just like us, an average American who doesn’t know jack shit about Indian culture. Okay, so he’s nothing like me. Nor is he anything like anyone I’ve ever met, ever. But I’ve never been to Kansas City so who knows, he might be exactly like everyone there. Which would mean that everyone from there is deadly boring. I don’t know if it’s the writing or if its the way Ben Rappaport portrays him, but Todd is seriously the most boring person on television. There’s nothing memorable about him. He’s so bland, so milquetoast, so not there that I had to fucking look up his name because I forgot it!

Now I understand that the producers wanted to treat the subject matter with reverence. They didn’t want this show to be written off as racist buffoonery. And it really feels like they’ve taken the time to get familiar with Indian culture. But they’ve created a viewpoint character who’s so inoffensive, he’s practically invisible. And yet he’s the focus of every episode that I’ve tried to sit through. Honestly, I’d rather enjoy the show if he wasn’t there at all. I mean, even giving him a sexy blonde Australian chick to date who flashes his brother on the internet fails to make him interesting.

Goddamn, you’re so goddamn close “Outsourced.” I so want to like you. Just get rid of the boring dude and focus on the rest of the cast. Send him back to Kansas City already and get on with the show!

  • http://www.duelinganalogs.com/ Steven Napierski

    Did you ever watch the movie its based on? That I enjoyed, haven’t really gotten into the show.

  • http://ypcomic.com Jamie

    I just saw that it was a movie before the series! I should check that out as I’m sure the lead will be a little more dynamic than the guy they got for the show.

  • http://non-art-teacher-designs.blogspot.com SLW

    I was just going to write, “watch the movie!” but I got beat to it. :)

  • jon

    i was wondering who watches this show? are there indian people who like it? i personally think it felt kind of dumb and offensive after watching 1 episode, but i’m not indian

    kind of the same way i think “the big bang theory” is dumb and offensive to geeks, and i am a geek. but i guess a lot of people including some geeks think it is a good show?

  • OctaviusIII

    It’s pretty mediocre writing, really. I enjoy the show for everything but the writing and their terribly-lit “outdoor” scenes. I mean, the concept is great, the Indians are all great, I actually like Todd to some degree, but it’s all about HIM. Asha went from supporting actress to near-extra in half a season, and that’s just not good. No, they definitely need to transition away from being a one-man show.

  • http://ypcomic.com Jamie

    More Asha! Yes! I would be so much more interested in the show if there was more of her. The hell, I thought there was supposed to be some love triangle action going on.

  • Jade

    It also tends to be completely predictable. There’s no element of surprise except boring ol’ Todd seems to have loads of it.

  • M

    A brimful of Asha?

  • Chris

    Unfortunately, its just a poorly written and acted utterly predictable sitcom based on a poorly written and acted utterly predictable movie. I’m sorry, but if this was on the air 20 years ago, it would still seem harmless, dull and insulting – not because of racial stereotypes (though, come on!), but because it expects so little of the viewer. I keep hoping ALF will walk into the frame chasing a cat to liven this show up.

    Its dreck.