While the recession has taken the subject of outsourcing out of the headlines, it never seemed too humorous. However, NBC thinks its funny enough to be the basis of a sitcom, "Outsourced," on its fall 2010 schedule. Meanwhile, lots of people on the Internet are not amused!
According to the NBC website, the comedy is about a company that sells novelty items like whoopee cushions that outsources its call center to India. The comedy results when the manager is transferred to run the center, and “the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash” where the manager must give his staff “a crash course in all things American to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales.” Producers and writers come from the BBC and American sitcoms including “The Drew Carey Show.”
If the premise sounds good, (it’s based on a 2006 movie that won the Seattle International Film Festival) the reaction on the Internet is bad. Just search Outsourced+NBC—you’ll find lots of very negative comments.
The topic is a touchy subject during a period of high unemployment—including in Hollywood. “This show is a slap in the face to all Americans and their families that have lost jobs, homes and families to outsourcing,” said one blogger. “I don’t think losing jobs is funny,” said another, and a third asked if the programming execs watch their own news shows. However, others said they would give the show a chance, and that it could be funny if the subject is handled right.
One wag wrote on a blog—“if ‘Outsourced’ is filming in Canada, it would make it extra hilarious.”
Clips of the show are available on YouTube. Will the show catch on? It’s being placed in NBC’s powerhouse Thursday night schedule with its other workplace-based hits “30 Rock” and “The Office,” so it could be a success. If it flops, will the unemployed cast and crew enjoy the reruns?