So I’m watching The Unusuals – a mildly quirky procedural that I would have recommended you check out at least once when nothing else was on, if they hadn’t already canceled it… because why approve a show with low ratings from Bones-creator Noah Hawley when you have Castle, another show with low ratings that’s pretty much Bones-put-through-a-blender?
Anyhow, in typical fashion Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn) and Walsh (Jeremy Renner) mistakenly knock on this tiny apartment that’s stuffed full of possibly illegal Asian immigrants. Since they landed there in pursuit of a drug dealer and apartments full of illegal immigrants lead to too much paperwork and not enough payoff (I guess?), Shraeger and Walsh decide to just take the helpful pointer from the nervous man who answered the door and move on to the correct address.
Suddenly my attention is caught by the rising tempo of the vaguely Indian-sounding background track. Why does it sound so familiar? Is there a point where every random sitar track and man tonelessly yowling “aaaa” becomes familiar to South Asians? Or could it be…? Nah. Is it…? No, that would be too random. I mean, why would…
Yup, it’s Daler Mehendi. Singing Tunak Tunak Tun.
And it was good. In fact, it was amazing what a difference it made to the song when you swapped out the multiple Dalers in psychedelic kurtas and put in a dumbass drug dealer/stalker running from a couple of cops. Very exciting. I’m sure production values had something to do with it as well.
It more than made up for the mild aggravation I suffered last week when I put on the pilot episode of Royal Pains a.k.a. If Michael Westin was a Doctor in the Hamptons. Mark Fuerstein doesn’t annoy me in general and I was pretty happy that Burn Notice was back, so matters were fumbling along quite okay when Reshma Shetty showed up with a van full of medical equipment but no bindi or namaste in sight.
Hey now, I thought, she’s quite something. And then they did That Thing.
That Thing = They made her talk in Hindi.
If there’s one thing that bugs me more than fake Indian accents (especially the one that sounds like Apu because come on, people! At least try a little*), it’s when the writers decide to come up with Hindi dialogue that gives off the delicate aroma of Google Translate. I wonder if they do that with other languages too? Are there Hispanics out there who’ve learned to roll their eyes and turn the volume down when people on TV start mouthing off in Spanish?
Shetty, who doesn’t speak Hindi in real life (like, um, a great many Indians much less Indian Americans), apparently came up with the lines herself. Was there some reason she couldn’t use whatever language her parents speak? Maybe only Hindi-speakers are smart enough to make it to the Hamptons.**
I comfort myself with the thought that at least she doesn’t sound like Hank Azaria.
*Exception will be made for one person only: Mindy Kaling.
** Yes, I understand this is terribly nitpicky. I can’t help having ears, however.