Meet the Papdits

The Papdit family
The Papdit Family

Oh. My. God. Thank you so much to The Head Turban for introducing me to The Papdits. I am surreptitiously listening to this at work and it is ridiculously funny.

CBS has begun streaming the discarded pilot of this show, created by writer-producer of “Borat” and “The Ali G Show”, Ant Hines. The show was intended for FOX (which I think would’ve been great for the misplaced Arrested Development fans) and was passed up by both FOX and CBS.

The docu-comedy is centered around a family from Kashmir who have decided to travel cross-country and look for suitable locations to start quartz mining operations. They interview many people along the way including a house boat rental manager, school administration and some lovely senior citizens. The pompous father figure is played with such brilliance by Nitin Ganatra, who was last memorably seen in Bride & Prejudice. The woman who plays Mrs. Papdit steals the show with her gentle tone of voice saying the most ridiculous statements. As a Tupperware Party host, she explains Tupperware (after realizing it’s used for storing food and not for use as a toilet.) as having “a magical see-through quality”… and introducing a popular soft drink as “Dew from the mountain that is very refreshing.” Gahhh, I love it. Take a look, and tell me what you think.

November 7, 2006
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  1. November 7, 2006, 4:15 pm Hilal

    “Let’s talk Art of Deal now. The dollar.”

    Great discovery, Priya. Thanks for posting this…

  2. November 8, 2006, 1:22 am Pavani

    Ha! Just watched it – thanks. The grandma is Madhur Jaffrey. Too bad it wasn’t picked up.

  3. November 9, 2006, 2:29 am whaat?

    I am surprised that this is your response. It is frustrating to see a show that depicts indians in america as people who crap in tupperware that has “magical qualities” as if they are from a place totally obscured from any type of development. As someone who grew up in small town America who had stupid assumptions thrown in her face everyday, I am frustrated by the show

  4. November 9, 2006, 2:56 am John

    I am in the middle of watching the Papdits, and it is HILARIOUS. I would love to see this continued somehow, whether online or on broadcast TV.

  5. November 9, 2006, 6:02 am Priya

    Honestly, I know we all have our own personal tastes and whatnot…but don’t you find this outright racist and drawing upon the most idiotic of stereotypes. I had to stop watching after a few minutes. And I agree with the third comment that it depicts Indians as totally backwards and basically primitive. But aside from my harsh criticisms, I do wish there was a show that exhibited culutural diversity. They had a Diwali episode on the office, which was pretty hilarious.

    And about Arrested Development – THAT was a good show and is still greatly missed and sadly irreplacable.

    But, yes…Arrested Development…now

  6. November 9, 2006, 8:11 am Pavani

    I guess I can see where those who are frustrated are coming from. People are also offended by certain characters that Dave Chappelle portrays because they draw on the worst sort of racial stereotypes. Humor really is subjective, and sometimes conflicting. When I watched the Papdits, I wasn’t thinking too much about its effect on other viewers, just taking in the sight of South Asian comedic actors pulling one over on seemingly gullible locals, candid-camera style, like Punk’d on a grand scale.

  7. November 9, 2006, 1:10 pm Hilal

    Parts may be over-the-top, but overall I think the pilot is quite funny. I also think Ali G/Borat etc. is hilarious (and Priya tells us the same ppl are behind all three).

    The way I see it, this type of comedy is more a wry commentary on the culture of American political correctness than anything else.

  8. November 13, 2006, 8:25 pm Lisa Tsering

    This show is a dud.
    Compared to Borat or Ali G, it’s simply not as funny. Also it portrays Indians as backward.
    Though I must say the cast is uniformly good — I’m a big fan of Ganatra’s especially.

  9. November 15, 2006, 1:06 pm Gopal

    I agree with Pavani. I think this show is like the Colbert Report, it’s offensive unless you are in on the joke and realize it’s a satire. I think the reason Borat got 4 stars across the board was because he used his blatantly offensive character to gauge the temperture of our culture and see how many people he could get to agree with him. In fact, its funny to see how the Americans placate these characters in the show. Although the family is talking some outlandish things, the Americans are trying almost too hard to be respectful. It’s like we’ve scared them to the point that they will accept any behavior if the actor is ‘ethnic.’ In any case, I though the pilot was hilarious as was that episode of the office. We’re getting there!

  10. November 15, 2006, 5:49 pm AradhanaD

    You know what’s REALLY funny…

    Goodness Gracious Me — and you can find all of the episodes on youtube… Of course you can buy it on Amazon too for a fair price.

    Now there’s a show that’s totally FUBU! 😛

    Meera Syal – my hero

  11. November 15, 2006, 6:10 pm AradhanaD

    I couldn’t get a hold of the pilot on the link you provided but managed to see it elsewhere (the link doesn’t work if you aren’t in the US)…

    Wow, this was really attrocious. I liked Borat, (though it’s problematic for the same reasons), but it was obvious that the joke was on American Conservatives. You’d have to be particularly oblivious to believe Borat was for real, even if he was from a country that is seldom publicized. If you thought Borat was for real, then the joke was on you.

    Whereas with the Papdits, they aren’t making a political statement. They aren’t ‘trapping’ people into making stupid comments to prove the joke is on either the audience or the person they’ve trapped. In the papdits, the Papdits ARE THE JOKE. Huge Difference here.

    Borat highlights the ignorance prevalent in the ‘enlightened’ American masses, The Papdits use ignorance to propogate American ‘enlightenment’…

    It’s not funny.

  12. November 15, 2006, 7:29 pm Gopal

    Do you think they are not funny because they are sort of ahead of their time? They are in a culture that is not quite ready to realize they are satires rather than honest representations of a people? Or are they just downright offensive?

    I thought about this when I watched the show because at least one of the writer’s is from England where Indians have made more strides in mainstream culture (I think) than here in the states.

  13. November 16, 2006, 12:29 am AradhanaDevindra


    They would be ahead of their time if the were a) from Mars b) if there weren’t conflicting messages in the mainstream media about ‘devloping countries’.

    Most crackers believe India is full of dying starving, uneducated people (flip to any informercial on sunday morning) or the more literate crackers believe that you’re the undereducated person out to steal their job in IT.

    Either way you are 1) ignorant 2) uneducated.

    Both of these are obviously false. So when a show like the Papdits comes along and shows a girl who’s about to shit in public off a houseboat, it doesn’t ‘counter’ the negative image or break stereotypes, it just reifies them and posits “Whites as the brights” and the “rest”.

  14. November 18, 2006, 2:06 am Ice

    This is very funny. I agree with Gopol that one of the funniest things is the lengths the Americans go to be respectful and accomodating.

    The show is also broad comedy that has obvious stereotypes. I don’t think it’s offensive, but then again I think that Amos & Andy sketches funny too and many people find those offensive and perhaps on some level they are.

    For me the best comedy comes from people who are marginalized: Chris Rock, Margaret Cho, and Russell Peters (the Indian-Canadian comedian) and their perception of how they see America.

    If nothing else this program represents a chance to have this dialog about stereotypes and how stereotypes are not representative of a race or segment of society.

  15. November 19, 2006, 12:08 pm Sudha

    When I first watched this show I was slightly offended, but now I think it is quite humorous. I think the actor who plays the father is a little over the top, but the scenes with the women are hilarious.

    I must admit that it is disturbing to think that Americans would actually believe that Indians are so ignorant, and the worst part of the show is probably the way that the husband treats his wife and repeatedly says he wants his mother-in-law to die. It is sad to think that Americans would really believe that men treat women so poorly in India, and that they would not say anything because they are trying to be ‘respectful.’

    That being said, some parts are just really funny. it makes fun of ignorant Americans just as much as it does Indians.

  16. November 19, 2006, 11:17 pm Michael Whitt

    My wife and I just died laughing at this. Our favorite part was the bit about the daughter being a great swimmer. Also seeing them mess up the golf games was pure gold.

  17. November 19, 2006, 11:20 pm Michael Whitt

    Oh yeah and Priya Ayyar is too cute, she has the best bits in the show.

  18. November 20, 2006, 1:35 am Sudha

    The actress who plays the daughter is also very beautiful.

  19. November 28, 2006, 1:44 pm AradhanaDevindra

    A good article about Amos n Andy:

    From the article:

    When the same type of humor is employed by blacks for blacks it has been describes in psychological parlance as “masochism” — redirecting rage away from dangerous persecutors and onto themselves. This is a kind of false consciousness; an internalized oppression, a self-hating notion that agrees with the stereotypes. This is a tendency not unique to African Americans. Freud described the phenomenon in his discussions of Jewish humor. This strategy may appease whites, at the expense of further eroding estimates of black self-worth.

  20. December 4, 2006, 1:28 am Aradhana

    Since, we’re all in agreement here that we like white people playing/producing/making up our characters for us – maybe we can take some time to check out a WHITE ACTOR speaking up about racial stereotyping…

  21. December 4, 2006, 3:16 pm Gopal

    that’s tight a clip right there. good find aradhana.

  22. December 6, 2006, 3:13 pm monika khandelwal

    no, i went and saw the pilot on the papdits and i do not think it is funny. showinh yourself off as gawaars who do not know any better and aggravating honest unsuspecting ppl who are trying to be polite is not funny.

  23. December 12, 2006, 1:42 pm AradhanaD

    A new comedy show!!! This one actually seems interesting cause it’s FUBU!

    From the synopsis it seems like it might be challenging stereotypes. Def. worth checking out.

  24. December 25, 2006, 1:55 am John

    Is that Nazneen Contractor in the papdits? She is a Toronto actress, correct?

  25. January 7, 2008, 11:11 pm Robert Lee

    I remember when this genius talented young women played “Beethoven” as a young girl, around 11 years old by memory in my living room! She was a brilliant star that now the whole world watches. I am very proud of this young women. Along time ago I enjoyed being around her when ever her and her mom “Who is great too”, would come to town to see her brother. I remember thinking to my self ” This young girl will take this world by storm, and make it play a new tune that everyone loves.”