Aziz Ansari has been killing it lately on Parks and Recreation. He’s always hilarious, but the above clip puts him into one of my all-time favorite sitcom characters. I hate when Indians anglicize their names so normally his character changing his name to ‘Tom Haverford’ would give me pause, but as usual his explanation makes me love him more (From):
LESLIE: You’re not from here, right?
TOM: No, I’m from South Carolina.
LESLIE: But you moved to South Carolina from where?
TOM: My mother’s uterus.
LESLIE: But you were conceived in… Libya, right?
TOM: Wow, no. I was conceived in America, my parents are Indian.
LESLIE: Where’d the name Haverford come from?
TOM: My birth name is Darwish Sabir Ismael Gani and I changed it to Tom Haverford because, you know, brown guys with funny sounding Muslim names don’t get really far in politics.
LESLIE: What about Barack Obama?
TOM: Fine, Barack Obama. If I knew a dude named Barack Obama was gonna be elected president, yeah, maybe I wouldn’t have changed my name.
Danny Pudi with Joel McHale on Community. Photo from timeoutny.com
The Hollywood Reporter is the latest media outlet to notice network television is finally becoming more diverse. Among new shows which currently feature an Indian character are Parks and Recreation: Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, The Office: Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor, Community: Danny Pudi as Abed, Glee: Iqbal Theba as Principal Higgins, The Big Bang Theory: Kunal Nayyar as Raj, The Good Wife: Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma. Did I miss anyone?
According to the article, more projects are in the works — a pilot called Nirvana starring Kal Penn, Outsourced, a comedy about an American sent to work in India, an as yet unnamed pilot written by and featuring The Office’s Mindy Kaling, and a US version of the British Comedy The Kumars at No. 42.
Aziz Ansari with the hilarious Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation. Photo from eonline.com
Television reaches such a wide audience, it’s wonderful to see Indians (and not just stereotypical doctos or vixens) being exposed to the American public.
Archie Panjabi with Julianna Marguiles on The Good Wife. Photo from tvguide.com