The only real sour note the sitcom struck was when one character, an Indian assistant manager, mentioned an employee’s “lower caste.” UnitedLex employees around the room seemed to wince collectively. While caste continues to be a factor in things as varied as marriages and real estate disputes in many parts of India, the outsourcing industry here considers itself a modern meritocracy that has left such old-fashioned prejudices behind.“You would never talk about that as a manager and an educated person,” said Nitin V., a second manager in the room.As for whether or not the call center itself is realistic, they say that it’s pretty behind the times:
UnitedLex viewers said “Outsourced” was not so much insulting as it was behind the times. Call centers that just take calls from Americans have become a rarity in India’s outsourcing hubs. Instead, their workers are likely to be white-collar professionals like those at UnitedLex, whose duties can be billing, design or research and development. While call centers still exist, they are often part of a larger business.“The problem is they haven’t shown what the real India is” when it comes to the outsourcing industry, said Angad, a member of the company’s litigation team. “They’ve only shown what they know.”
The New York Times screened an episode of Outsourced for a group of employees at a company in India that, like the one in the show, does work for an American company based in Kansas City. Is it in fact as racist and offensive as people say? Well, it turns out that the folks in India thought it was pretty hilarious. The jokes about spicy food and cows in the street went over well, and they deemed the show as a whole pretty great. There were a couple of rough patches, however:So, Outsourced: not racist, or at least not offensive to the folks it’s about. Whether or not it’s, you know, funny, is a different argument altogether.