Why Do Hindsight Reviews? Outsourced is Perfect Example of Why Critics Should Always Take a Second Look


First impressions can be important. Good or bad, it can be hard to change people’s opinions afterwards.

Television critics meanwhile can be hypocritical and have double standards.

Put those two things together and you can get television series that get unfairly brushed aside.

I began doing Hindsight Reviews, particularly for my Korean drama reviews because I had previously waited until I had watched all 16+ episodes of a series before opining on what I watched. So I decided to write a review for the first maybe two or three episodes and then revisit the series after it ends. With Korean dramas and especially Philippine dramas (oy!) a series with a great start could easily fall into a pit of garbage midway through. A lackluster finale could erase all the goodwill you felt of the previous 8 weeks. Or the other way around where a series pulls a miracle out of itself and everything falls into the place at the end.

Some series could dig itself a hole so fast that a Hindsight Review can’t wait until it ends.

Television critics usually judge a show based on the first few episodes and if they don’t like what they see, they throw it aside never to watch another episode again.

But there are the rare moments when critics revisit a show later on in its run (if the panning hasn’t killed it yet) and have a change of heart. They find a series has turned itself around. That all of a sudden, a middling to downright cringe-worthy beginning has now turned into one of the best series on television today.

They started off horrible, but are now excellent! So why not give a second chance to other shows?

There’s plenty of examples of the that, most especially on NBC Thursdays. The Office, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation all were universally criticized, indifferent towards, and panned (respectively) when they first premiered. Fast forward to just a season later since each of their premieres, and critics are lauding them and heaping mounds of praise.

Now enter Outsourced, the NBC comedy barely clinging to life on Thursdays at 10:30pm.

Even before anyone saw a single episode, Outsourced was already at a disadvantage and its generic pilot episode did not help matters.

From American jitters about outsourced jobs to others thinking anything with minorities on television must be racist in some way, Outsourced had a big mountain to climb.

But after its rough start, the series picked itself up and briskly grew into a charming and funny workplace comedy. The writing improved greatly and now offers its talented (and did I mention charming?) ensemble cast plenty of opportunities to shine.

Not to mention, it is arguably (easily) the least mean-spirited and cynical show in the bunch.

Outsourced may not feature a joke a second, but it is a show that leaves you with a smile on your face the whole way through. They don’t force you to laugh every other second. When they drop a punchline, it is usually always in the right place. Not plugging in a line here and there just to fill time.

Unfortunately, critics and audiences alike continue to throw criticism its way without even seeing an episode (maybe ever). Because the series is a much different, but better show now that it was in its pilot or even 2nd episode.

But critics especially refuse to give it a second chance, even though they so courteously gave a second look to other NBC Thursday comedies and now praise them like they’re the best thing to happen before Modern Family.

Why the courtesy for them and not for Outsourced? It is very disheartening to see critics throw it under the bus when all they’ve seen is its first and second episodes. Comments that they throw out now, but may have only been applicable for those early eps. Using the series as an easy target now, but ending up being shallow barbs.

Even if the series isn’t going on your top 10 list at the end of the year, continually calling it racist or offensive or unfunny is just completely without merit and unfair.

On the contrary, the series has provided a charming and sincere look at both American and Indian cultures as well as the realities of outsourced jobs. The series puts a face on those people on the other end of the phone and shows that they are just like you, more than you ever knew.

Outsourced is the perfect example of giving a show another chance and in what should be a critic’s responsibility to revisit series after a while.

Critics can be quick to turn their backs on a show they were absolutely salivating over when its premieres, but they aren’t so quick to revisit and reconsider a show that may have been lacking at first, but has grown and built itself up over time.

0 thoughts on “Why Do Hindsight Reviews? Outsourced is Perfect Example of Why Critics Should Always Take a Second Look

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I liked, but wasn’t crazy for, Outsourced since the beginning. I know outsourcing is a problem, yeah yeah, but the show made it clear, in my opinion, that it was never about outsourcing. It was about an Indian call center.

    I find it ridiculous that people find it impossible for you to make fun of other cultures like this. When I watch The Office I don’t think to myself, “Oh my, they’re making fun of American culture and are attacking America!” so why do they think a series poking fun of an Indian call center is some attack on Indian culture or racism or offensive? If we can make fun of American offices, why can’t we make fun of Indian call centers? Why is one applauded and one offensive?

    Because we’ve become so PC that any joke made about another culture in any way is automatically labeled an attack. When it shouldn’t be. I feel that Todd, the bumbling manager, is just as much an icon of Americans who know absolutely nothing about Indian culture. Myself included. I’ve learned a lot of things about Indian festivals and traditions from this show. And sure, I am not going to base my knowledge off Indian culture on a sitcom, I have learned a bit from it that I wouldn’t of known otherwise.

    I feel like yes, they poke fun at the cultures but they do it in a fun, light-hearted way. Never mean. The show really isn’t even about India anymore, either. It’s about the characters. Gupta the clueless and bumbling buffoon. Manmeet the ladies killer. Todd the guy trying to run the call center. Quiet Maudrie. Charlie the psychopath. And Ranjit, the best of them all. It’s about these guys working together. Not so much about Indian culture or American buffoonery. And that’s why the show has gotten better.

    And you know what? Outsourced really is original. I mean, yes, it’s based off a movie. But it stands out in that it’s different from the other shows offered on NBC and the other channels. It doesn’t feel like it takes itself very seriously. And I like that.

  2. Pingback: Appreciation: Outsourced and the Hope for More Asian-Led Broadcast Series | dryedmangoez

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