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Series / Outsourced

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Based on the 2006 independent film of the same name, Outsourced was a short-lived (2010–11) NBC Work Com about an American heading up a call center in India. Its one and only season can be seen in its entirety on Hulu.

The major characters are:

Tropes include:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Charlie wants Tonya, Tonya wants Todd, Todd wants Asha.
  • Alternate Continuity: There are changes in the characters' names (for example, "Todd Anderson" becomes "Todd Dempsy") and the company's headquarters is moved from Seattle to Kansas City.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Holi episode might seem like a Fictional Holiday but, sitcom hijinks aside, it's an actual holiday and it really is a custom to throw paint and powder at people. Charlie tries his best to make it a Paintball Episode, and it does assume similar proportions. It was also featured, with fewer hijinks, in the movie.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • All the call center operators besides Asha. In the movie, they were Living Props, but in the TV show they're Regular Characters with their actors credited in the opening titles. And in-show, Pinky.
    • Also Bearded Turban Guy (whose name is Ajeet), who showed up as a Living Prop but who is, as of the finale, Madhuri's boyfriend.
  • Benevolent Boss: Todd. Many of his Americanism may be found unintentionally insulting by his workers, but they tend to be forgiving, as they also realize he's a good boss, who oftentimes shows how much he cares about their well being.
  • Brick Joke: You remember that one-off innuendo that Todd's boss was getting a happy ending at his massage? It isn't until two episodes later that we find out the masseuse was an undercover cop, the resulting scandal hit all the major newspapers, and it's the reason his marriage is falling apart.
    • There's also a literal brick joke in the pilot.
    • And one more crosses over with Leeroy Jenkins in the Holi episode, as Pinki charges away without listening to the plan, only to show up when the plan has been executed.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Todd taps everyone's shoulder (which counts as sexual harassment), except Asha's.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Charlie definitely qualifies with his hobbies, setting camp inside a deer, his innecessary survival and burglary kits, and his wallet made of his own skin.
  • Credits Gag: The credits either play over an extension of the episode, or a little skit related to it or what happened later.
  • Culture Clash: A big part of the plot is Todd trying to adapt to his new life amongst Indian society, likewise his workers attempt to adjust to their boss's unintended cultural faux-pas, while also doing their best to help him acclimate to his new community.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • An Arranged Marriage plays a major factor in the current storyline, and despite the fact that the practice clearly offends the American protagonist, the show has taken a surprisingly non-judgmental route with the whole thing.
    • During his lecture on sexual harassment, Todd showed his workers a video from the 80s discussing what is and is not appropriate behavior in the workplace. Not only do Todd's staff think complimenting a coworker's blouse is inappropriate, but they react to the sight of two people kissing as if it's pornography. Later, Madhuri reacts to their American boss Jerry kissing her hand as if she just had sex with him (or as she says "I just gave the milk away for free.")
    • Todd keeps getting reported to the sexual harassment hotline because he incessantly touches people's shoulders. Naturally Todd has no clue he's done anything.
    • Jerry is going through divorce negotiations, and feels it is inevitable. Rajiv is aghast at it and gives him a piece of his mind, accusing him of not trying hard enough to save his marriage. After all, Rajiv eagerly wishes to marry Vimi, much against her father's wishes, and will do what he can to keep his marriage steady for life.
  • Denser and Wackier: The movie could take place in the real world, but the show is decidedly set in Sitcomland. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as the same could be said of 30 Rock, Community, et al., but it does mean the film and the show have completely different styles of humor.
  • Fanservice:
  • Gang of Bullies: The rivals in the cafeteria claiming to work in the call centers for Apple and Microsoft.
  • Groin Attack: Charlie's accident with the waterbomb.
  • Guile Hero: Madhuri has figured out how to con Rajiv quite well, getting him to pay 21,000 rupees for a 3,000 rupee sari. Eventually, Todd uses this skill of hers to get the better of the GloboCon call center.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: A coconut, specifically.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Rajiv when Madhuri is in need.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Pretty much every episode title is an Incredibly Lame Pun merging some aspect of Indian culture with an English phrase relevant to the plot. Examples include "A Sitar Is Born", "Sari, Charlie", and "Take This Punjab and Shove It".
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Many of the problems Todd encounters could be avoided by reading a travel guide about India.
    • Similarly, many of the Indian workers come across a little too naive or lacking in knowledge given the amount of American culture that is exported via the internet/Hollywood film/TV to India.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Gupta shaking his flashlight, which somehow is always seen from behind...
  • Ironic Echo: Todd's employees are ordered off a table by Charlie's workers, who lay claim to their table, with the words "Get Up". After a chain of events, we hear Todd's employees tell Charlie's to "Get Up" at the end of the episode. See Revenge.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Asha chides Todd over 'contaminating the break room table', with a reference to his getting cozy with Tonya over it the night before. Cut to Gupta littering the same table with his eats.
  • Irrational Hatred: Rajiv towards Todd.
  • Jerkass:
    • Gupta can come across like this at times, more so than his Butt-Monkey status.
    • Charlie's employees play this trope straight. They think they're far superior because they handle customers of Apple and Microsoft and not some novelties retailer.
    • Todd's brother Brad loves shoving in his face how's he's The Un-Favourite of the family.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: One of the employees in "Todd's Holi War" storms out without even listening to the plan. After the plan is executed she shows up late to the party.
  • Meaningful Name: The character Manmeet ("Man meat")is also the playboy charmer of the group.
  • Musical Episode: Which included a Bollywood homage in the cold opening.
  • Nice Guy: Despite all of his moments of unintended cultural insensitivities and his many instances of holding the Idiot Ball, Todd is an all-around friendly person, and cares about his workers and their well-being.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Charlie with his stalkerish hobbies and dangerous-looking gadgets.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Charlie's workers put on a neat American accent to show their wares, but often revert to their regular Indian accents while confronting Todd's workers. Another example is how Asha pronounces the name of a restaurant- "Lal Mirch"- the way a British or American national would, not like an Indian.
  • Out of Focus: Poor Asha. She was the secondary lead in the movie, but on the TV show, she's lucky to get a Mandatory Line in between the shenanigans of her wackier co-workers.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tonya and Charlie have jobs running call centers similar to Todd's. We don't see Tonya's workplace until the sixteenth episode. We rarely see Charlie's subordinates. Charlie is shown goofing around with Todd's co-workers more often than his own. Maybe that gives a hint why Charlie's call center was shut down?. Makes sense when you think about it. Tonya's staff is considered one of the best in India, so they don't need her constant supervision. Charlie is the Bromantic Foil, so in contrast to Todd, Charlie doesn't even know the name of his staff.
  • Post-Coital Collapse: In an effort to get her romantic rival Asha off his mind, Tonya puts Todd through a sex marathon that ends with her rolling off him on a desk at the office, while she's still wearing underwear. She succeeds.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rajiv gives one to Jerry. Doubles up as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment, depending on your opinion of marriage.
  • Revenge:
    • There is a very bitter rivalry between Todd's workers and Charlie's 'A-team'. The 'A team' order Todd's unit off a table to which they lay claim, but Todd's workers refuse to cede the table. Later on, Todd's team seems to get massive orders which are really Charlie's workers making prank calls to them. They eventually have their revenge with Charlie's help when they eventually cede the table to Charlie's team only for the table and chairs to come crashing down with the workers sitting on them, as they were rigged to fall apart.
    • Todd recruits an Indian who spent a lot of his life in the United States and has good knowledge of the country's culture and is also a smart salesman- only for Tonya to poach him with an offer that doubles his salary. Todd's revenge? He helps Charlie hire him at an even higher salary.
    • The air-conditioning being hogged by GloboCon is another nice revenge story. First, when the rival call center manager talks off Todd, Manmeet spills coffee on him. Then, they divert the air conditioning so that things get so hot upstairs, they are worried about losing a client because of that, and offer to double Todd's office internet speed, only to freeze all their computers with a virus. Todd eventually returns, and wages a Holi war on the employees of GloboCon, littering the area with paint, just as their clients step in.
  • Sensitivity Training: An entire episode about sexual harassment with the expected jokes involving different cultural standards of acceptable workplace conduct. Todd, for example, doesn't realize that touching Madhuri's shoulder is seen as inappropriate, and she reports him for it.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Tonya is lounging in bed naked, but out of view while Todd is talking to his family. When Todd talks about having a girlfriend, his Jerkass brother mocks him and says Todd is making it up. Cue a defensive Tonya picking up the laptop while still in the nude to tell him off (The viewer only sees her Toplessness from the Back or with laptop covering her chest).
  • Shout-Out: The plot of rigging the air conditioning to cool Mid American Novelties (Todd's center) when it was being hogged by the rival GloboCon center had a very familiar feel to it. It was, however, missing a cable.
  • Shrinking Violet: Madhuri, who speaks unintelligibly quietly. As Lampshaded, working a, you know, phone line may not have been her calling. She finally talks in a just intelligible voice at the end of the pilot, making a sale and thus apparently securing her position. Maybe Fridge Brilliance if you think about it-Rajiv mentions he hired her specifically so he could fire her in front of the others as a show of force. So that would explain how she got the job. And you notice hints throughout the series that she and her family aren't really well off, so it makes sense that she'd apply for an available job even when it wouldn't really suit her.
  • Smug Snake: Rajiv, though spinelessly kissing up to authorities, can't behave decently even with Todd.
  • The Starscream: Rajiv is constantly looking for a way to backstab Todd so he can take over the team leader position. He doesn't even tries to be sneaky about it.
    Rajiv, in the pilot episode, to Todd: Your success brings me success... (even happier) but your failure also brings me success.
  • Start My Own: Todd briefly considered starting his own business instead of moving to India. One reminder about a forty-thousand-dollar debt and one Gilligan Cut later and he was already in India.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream is heard when someone falls off a train at the end of "Training Day".
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Todd, desperately trying to not offend people in a new culture, seems to go out of his way to do just that.
    • Eventually Charlie shows up so, when he finds that his call center has been shut down and he's without a job, and has mounting daily expenses, and struggles to find a new job.
  • Toilet Humor: Sometimes, but not usually the focus. A lot of it is hidden in the heavily censored run on the Indian Comedy Central channel.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: An episode has Rajiv taking over temporarily after Todd gets food poisoning and instituting a strict office Dress Code, banning personal items, etc.
  • The Un-Favourite: Todd is always compared unfavorably to his brother by his parents, and urge him to come back home since they have very little faith in his success.
  • Verbed Title: It's what happens to Todd's job and he follows his job to India.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: First, some of Charlie's A-team members who get plenty of screen time, and then American-born Kamik, first hired by Todd, then poached by Tonya and subsequently working for Charlie. The call center run by Charlie is shut down towards the end of the series.
  • White Male Lead: Todd is the protagonist, being the white supervisor in a call center in India.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Early episodes have this teased between Asha and Todd. The last scene of the show implies they will.