I am currently sitting at the lobby of the office waiting for a copy of a disk for a not so famous TV series I just started getting into. It was shared to me by one of my former supervisor and friend. Now I am sharing the laugh with my colleagues since this show emulates our life at work. It may have the cultural difference (since the show’s setting is in Mumbai) it does blend well with the thought that our boss(es) are actually Indian. Not the “come to our casino” Indian but as stereotyping (or maybe even a bit racist) remark “pautang na 5-6”… type of Indian. Come to think of it, that specific type of racism does not really exist here in the Philippines since the word “Indian” is more of a slang or street lingo for not being able to show up in an agreed time and place to meet up (i.e “nang-indian ka naman eh!!!) So what are Indians normally called here? When I was growing up, I would usually here my dad call them “bumbay” but then, that was back in Malabon. Now I am in Cebu, people here have a different use of the term “bumbay”… onions. This also holds true in Cagayan de Oro. So come to think of it, I am not sure what the locals in the Visayas and Mindanao call Indians. Anyway, as for me I just call them bumbay.
Going back to the show I am sharing (yes sharing.. no profit was made on this endeavor) I was fascinated by the notion made by the show that the industry that I am currently in is a way of living that is now widely recognized. Thanks to this medium, those who are not aware will be informed. Informed as well as entertained thanks to the light and whimsical theme of the show. So the story starts with a management trainee from Kansas Todd Dempsey (Ben Rappaport) arriving to work after the management training he just completed to manage the contact center of Mid-American Novelties. He was surprised by the fact that he arrived in an empty office… empty except for Jerry (Todd’s boss) He was then informed that the company were “right-sizing” and the whole operations for phone sales has been outsourced to India and he is expected to run it. With much hesitation at first (until Jerry reminded him of his student loans) Todd agrees and goes to India. Todd was then greeted in India by Rajiv Gidwani, Todd’s assistant manager. Todd then started to meet and bond with the workers with the story focusing on how Todd copes with management, cultural difference, being homesick and Rajiv trying to sabotage his position every chance he gets so he can become manager are just a few of the spices that makes this show enjoyable for the whole first season.
Too bad the show was not taken as well as we hoped for in the United States. I commend NBC still for coming up with the concept of the show for national television. I really cannot speak in behalf of Americans but in the Philippines, the show did speak to us. The BPO industry is still booming in the country and more employers are still considering Filipinos as their workers therefore even if the show’s setting is in Mumbai, the whole concept of watching a comedy show that portrays the jobs that we got used to is somewhat welcoming. I guess Americans are not ready for that show… or perhaps they never will be.