On Outsourced Episode 10, “Temporary Monsanity,” the employees at Mid-America Novelties in India are all being pushed to sell the Thanksgiving items. Manmeet on the phone is recommending the turkey-butt gravy boat: “It pours out the backside!” Gupta, in a black Pilgrim hat, announces to Todd, “I’m a Pilgrim and an Indian. Burn the witch!”
When Asha says she’s confused about the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Indians, Rajiv explains that the white men subjugated the Indians so that they could run the call center. Todd tells them that the Pilgrims helped the Indians, and so they all had a big feast. Asha says, If the Indians gave the Pilgrims shelter, what did the Pilgrims give the Indians? Stumped, Todd says, “Less land to worry about?” It’s not going well, and it’s even worse when he tells them they prefer to be called Native Americans. “They find the term ‘Indian’ derogatory.”
So he changes the subject and tells them that the next day is Black Friday. “You know what that is?”
“Martin Luther King Day?” guesses Manmeet.
No. Biggest shopping day of the year. Todd shows them footage on his laptop of American shoppers stampeding into a store on the day after Thanksgiving, calling it a riot. Gupta says he’s seen worse on the subway going to work. Rajiv too is unimpressed, saying India has much better riots.
“Okay,” Todd concedes, “but we’re still Number One in spending beyond our means.”
It’s our Super Bowl, he tells them. Come ready to play or don’t come. Several of them raise their hands, ready to not come. “No! Todd says, discouraged. “It’s just an expression.”
“You forgot to tell them about the incentives,” says Rajiv.
“You went through my trash?”
“I had no choice. You keep changing your email password.”
Rajiv could win a big-screen TV. Todd tells him that the company offers these incentives that no one can really attain. He could win a trip to Hawaii-but not really.
“False hope. How cruel and manipulative,” says Rajiv. Then he announces: “If anyone can break the sales record, you will win full health insurance for you and your family.”
“They don’t even have that in the U.S.,” marvels Gupta. (This show has some good lines.)
Todd then jumps onboard with a nearly impossible challenge for daily sales. And he’s going to eliminate breaks until they get it done. Rajiv loves this, of course!
We see the rain pouring down outside, and suddenly the electricity is off. Now everyone in the call center is wearing weird light-up hats and glasses. They are all starving and want to leave. Todd won’t let them. Finally he goes to the pantry to get them some snacks, but Gupta is in there, shaking for some reason. Todd says, “Do that at home!”–thinking that Gupta is pleasuring himself. It’s rude and crude, once again making me think of the callous disregard of the children who might be watching. Gupta is in fact recharging his flashlight battery.
Gupta goes to the canteen for food and is chased by obnoxious American Charlie, in their continuing game of laser tag.
They end up eating fried dough at the table together, Gupta saying, “This is just like the American Thanksgiving, white man and Indian having a meal together.” And then Charlie shoots again-haha.
That night, Todd has a date with the rather forward Australian girl. In fact she is naked on Todd’s bed when he gets the Thanksgiving Skype call from the family-a mom and dad right out of a fifties sitcom, and a brother. The picture is just a bit fuzzy. Dad: “I would say call tech support, but you’re in India; just go outside and grab somebody.” Todd’s brother, clearly a jerk, says he broke a sales record and for his prize, he got a ski trip, which he’s giving his parents for their anniversary. Not to be outdone, Todd says he broke a sales record too, and he’s sending the parents to Hawaii. Uh-oh. Not exactly true; not quite yet.
When Todd’s brother teases him about not having a girlfriend, Aussie comes over, grabs the laptop, and shows him exactly what kind of girlfriend Todd has. End of conversation.
The parents call again the next day, when Todd is at work. Mom has a huge drumstick she’s saving for him, double-bagged for the freezer. She meets a few of his staff, says Rajiv is like a “cappuccino Tom Selleck” and oohs and aahs over the beautiful Asha. Dad gets on then, and he’s totally disgusted with his son’s job. He wants to know about the Hawaiian trip, though.
Todd lets everyone leave work after that-much to Rajiv’s dismay.
And also while the lights are out, people begin to confide personal things to each other, the way people do in a crisis. Asha comes very close to Todd and begins to tell him that her parents are actually making her get married-and then the lights come on and she loses her nerve and stops, leaving that plot thread dangling, leaving the viewers with renewed hope that these two star-crossed, culturally conflicted lovers can someday be together.
But I still say, an Indian woman and an American man? I don’t think so.
Outsourced articles by Lynne Davis:
Outsourced Is Funny and Refreshing, Not Racist
Many Characters on Outsourced Are Indian, But Not India-Born
Outsourced Episode 7 Teaches Indian Culture
Outsourced Episode 10 Is Funny If at Times Crude
Outsourced Episdoe 11: Homesick to My Stomach