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TV Review: Outsourced – “Rajiv Ties the Baraat, Parts 1 & 2″

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NBC’s Outsourced ends its freshman year with a bang. Literally, lots of bangs, because there are fireworks at the end of the one-hour wedding episode. Rajiv (Rizwan Manji) finally walks down the aisle with his love, Vimi (Noureen DeWulf). All of Rajiv’s co-workers are there to witness, as well as alternatingly hinder and help the ceremony happen. Happen, it does, and while the series may not return for a second season, at least it doesn’t end quietly.

Outsourced struggled to find its groove right off the bat. A sitcom about an American call center manager transferred to India, it has been accused of being offensive, but mostly by those who don’t watch it. Instead, what has emerged is a heartfelt workplace comedy that has plenty of fun in a unique environment. There is a cultural education to be had, too, as the Indian employees celebrate their varies holidays, and teach the boss, Todd (Ben Rappaport) the rules and customs of their country. Although Todd’s fellow manager friend Charlie (Diedrich Bader) often disrespects the Indian way of life, it is he who comes off as a fool, not the locals.

In “Rajiv Ties the Baraat,” assistant manager Rajiv gets married to the woman he has spent all season wooing. He invites many of his co-workers, and even asks Todd to be in the wedding party, a touching moment considering the derision Rajiv usually holds for Todd. Todd, on the other hand, has been supportive of Rajiv, so it is with a sense of satisfaction the two find some mutual respect on Rajiv’s wedding day.

The only main character not invited initially is Gupta (Parvesh Cheena), but as much as Gupta is sure to be an embarrassment at the wedding, Todd realizes it would be worse for the company to leave him at the office without supervision. Poor Gupta is good natured, but bumbling. He doesn’t really try hard, but he sure wishes he did, and is so darn persistent.

Big disaster strikes when Vimi catches Rajiv at a bachelor party. More accurately, Charlie, Todd, and the others tie Rajiv up and surround him with dirty novelties from the company they all work for. Vimi admits to indiscretions of her own when she forgives Rajiv, but his over thinking what she may have done nearly destroys the wedding, too, until Todd convinces Rajiv he’s still a lucky man.

This may seems like a familiar story or complication in a love story, and that’s because it is. The stories on Outsourced are not alien or strange. They are highly relatable. If nothing else, this series gives faces to the other end of those frustrating tech support phone calls, and helps Americans see the people with the heavy accents are just like us. OK, not just like. But their emotions are the same as anyone’s, and that’s something people can understand.

The other side of the coin, of course, are the differences, which is the reason to watch the show. Outsourced presents a rich Indian culture, at no time on better display than the wedding featured in “Rajiv Ties the Baraat.” There is dancing, colorful clothing, beautiful decorations, and fireworks set off over the ocean. The groom rides to the ceremony on a decked out elephant! All of the elements combined to make an exciting, unusual wedding not usually glimpsed in American sitcoms.

While Outsourced‘s attempts to put India in the best light, and still make the show funny, have been mixed, those elements gelled very well in the finale. For the first time, an episode made a case for renewal, and gave something to be missed should it be canceled, as will likely happen. Too bad Outsourced didn’t capture that magical spirit sooner, or it could have joined the strong lineup of NBC sitcoms in a more permanent way. At least it got a full year. Many shows have not.

For fans, there is a last minute love story tossed in for Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan) and the previously silent Ajeet (Guru Singh), some wild comedic moments for Pinky (Thushari Jayasekera), love found, lost, and found again by Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan), and a shared hand holding moment for Todd and Asha (Rebecca Hazelwood), so every character went out satisfied. Except Tonya (Pippa Black), who didn’t appear in either part, but doesn’t usually fit in all that well anyways. Should the show get renewed, it would not be surprising if Tonya is dropped.

NBC should give Outsourced a second season to see where it might go from here. It is still on the bubble, and a final decision is expected any day now. If not, at least it did its best, and could not have gone out any better than with “Rajiv Ties the Baraat,” the best episode of the season.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    Update: After I wrote this article and submitted it, Outsourced was officially canceled.

  • Jason A

    No!!!!!!!!

  • Jason A

    This was fantastically funny and a good break from consistently replayed scripts from yesteryear. There was great character development, great story lines, ample cultural exchange and humor…and now to be replaced with more of the same everyday crap. NBC do something smart here and give this show one more season to gain its following.

  • Ridwaan V

    pls dont cancel outsourced. its a great show that deserves a second season