Well, the new TV season is upon us, and, with it, my complete inability to finish reading a single book.
Actually, I am not one to try out a lot of new shows. What's the point of devoting time to a show that is likely to get canceled? If the show is a hit, I can just catch up on it via DVD or Hulu. I wonder if a lot of people take this approach to new TV shows, thus causing these shows to have very limited initial viewership, thus causing them to get canceled.
Anyway, each year I end up watching one new TV show. This year's new show is Outsourced. The reasoning behind this choice as my only new show is as follows: It's on before, after, or in-between some other shows I like. Remember when you only watched Caroline in the City because it was on between Friends and Seinfeld? Yeah, it's that principle. Now, of course, in the Caroline days, shows-between-better-shows had a bigger advantage, because people's TV-viewing took place only on TVs, and only in real-time when the shows actually aired. Sure, you could technically tape a show on your VCR, but inevitably you would turn on the tape to realize that your show didn't record due to one of a variety of VCR pitfalls, including, but not limited to: you forgot to rewind the tape before you put it in the machine, somebody taped America's Funniest Home Videos or some other asinine show over the ending of your show, you accidentally set the VCR to tape Channel 7 instead of Channel 4, the beginning didn't record, the ending didn't record, Venus was in Mercury's orbit, etc. So eventually we all gave up on using VCRs in the mid-90s, and we had to actually turn on the TV in real time to watch shows. And since nobody wanted to actually turn off the TV in between two good shows, they ended up sitting there watching crappy shows.
But in the 21st century, we technically have the ability to record a bunch of good shows, then sit down later at our convenience and watch all these good shows back-to-back. Thus we no longer need to watch crappy TV and can focus all our energy on more worthwhile pursuits.
Let me tell you, as a nation, we are failing miserably with these worthwhile, non-TV pursuits. To prove that crap TV is alive and well, I offer two pieces of evidence:
Exhibit A: I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. While it did give us the memorable quote, "Ma'am, you just had a baby in your pants," this show is proof that people will watch anything. (And let me just note, I am this show's #1 viewer.) We keep tuning into this show, despite the fact that every episode is totally repetitive. It starts out with some woman who is experiencing slight stomach pains. The pains get worse and worse until she has to go to the hospital and thinks she's having some horrible intestinal distress, until the pain hits an all-time high, and (spoiler alert!) she has a baby despite the fact that she didn't know she was pregnant. I gotta hand it to this show's producers, because it seems like it would be impossible to find success with a show where the title of the program gives away the conclusion of every episode. Really, the only unknown in each episode is what sort of horrible, germ-infested surface the unexpected child will begin his or her earthly life on. (Hint: It's almost always a bathroom. Campground bathroom, amusement park bathroom, hospital bathroom in the toilet.) This show is so repetitive, it's like watching laundry in the dryer, with commercials for Kate Plus Eight and 19 Kids and Counting interspersed throughout.
Exhibit B: Hoarders. This show is proof that we enjoy programs that showcase people who are so screwed up that we look normal by comparison. Yeah, my pantry is cluttered and contains baby food that expired two years ago, but at least I don't have several cat carcasses rotting among bags of my own feces. In actuality, we should not be judging and gawking at these poor people, because hoarding is a psychological disorder, no different from the depression or anxiety that so many of us suffer from. But then, these dumbasses actually volunteered to be on a national TV program, so they were kind of asking to be ridiculed. (I think they probably do it for the free cleanup from 1-800-Got-Junk, which has got to be the worst place to work. Let's just say that most jobs do not require you to make the decision as to whether to clean up human poop by hand or using a shovel.) Oh, and when somebody says, "We found a dead possum in a box in your garage," the correct response is not, "Yeah, that doesn't surprise me." The correct response is, "OMG! Just burn it the f**k down already!"
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, TV viewing begets more TV viewing, which is how I ended up watching Outsourced. For those who don't know, Outsourced is a show about a white guy from the Midwest whose job requires him to relocate to India to run the company's call center. I'm sure NBC thought they had a lock with this one because (1) It plays on the same goofy inter-office dynamics that The Office does, (2) It finally brings some diversity to NBC, and (3) It takes a subtle jab at those India-based call centers we're all having to call at one point or another. Most of the jokes on the show center around some sort of cultural misunderstanding, and these kinds of jokes are hard to keep on the right side of offensive. So far I think they have done a pretty good job, but I still don't really like the show.
I think my main problem is that I don't really have a problem with India-based call centers. I know that outsourcing everything to India takes away jobs from Americans, and that is bad for our economy, which affects us all. However, here is why India-based call centers are more enjoyable to call than America-based call centers: Americans are kind of dicks. Not all of us, but the ones on the phone, yeah. Whenever I used to talk to an American on the other end of some sort of tech-support, customer service, or information hotline, that person spoke in an irritated tone that suggested that I was really infringing on his or her time by calling to request tech support, customer service, or information. But the people on the line in India are so friendly. For example, at one point I was on a call to a credit card company when Nathan decided to come over and just rip the credit card statement in half. I gasped, and the woman on the phone inquired as to my welfare. I said I was fine, but my three-year-old just ripped my credit card statement in half. "Oh, my son is four," she said, "They're so active at this age." And I thought, how nice that this woman, all the way across the ocean on the Sub-Continent, could give me a little dose of maternal solidarity while straightening out my credit card problem.
So, Outsourced kind of sucks. The end. I could say more, but I have to wrap this up quickly because I have to go explain to my American child why fruit snacks are not an appropriate breakfast food. I wonder if this is a problem in India. I must ask the next time I have to call tech support.