by Arthur Kevin Rabago

We now delve on the lighter side of call centers. Nowadays, call centers and their employees have been portrayed on TV, movies, and YouTube. They range from the informative to downright funny depictions of call center life.

Here are my best picks of call center portrayals:

5) Call Center (2008 USA)
This movie follows the story of Eric Barnett, a lowly customer service representative for SuperCom Telecommunications. When he thought that the day is another day, his world suddenly changed when he realizes it is the last day of the quarter and he has yet to reach his quota. When a technical glitch occurs in his favor, Eric is soon presented with a chance to save himself.

4) Wanted (2008 USA)
This movie features Wesley, a frustrated call center employee when he learns that he is the son of a professional assassin, and that he shares his father’s superhuman killing abilities.

3) Outsourced (2010 USA/India)
Outsourced is an American sitcom in an Indian workplace. It is based on the movie by John Jeffcoat and is adapted by Ken Kwapis (In Cahoots Productions) and Universal Media Studios for NBC. It is an adaptation of the feature film of the same name.

Outsourced is set in a call center based in Mumbai India where an American novelties company recently outsourced its order processing. A lone American manages the call center, and must explain the American culture to his employees while finding ways to understand Indian culture.

2) The Wedge (2006 Australia)
The Wedge was an Australian TV sketch show created by Ian McFadyen and produced by Network Ten. The show ran for two seasons, airing 2006 and 2007. It featured skits about “Wedgetel,” a fictional Call Center. The Wedge pokes fun at and is inspired by the large number of Australian call centers located in India.

1) Hello, Taliban! (2001)
This is a lighthearted poke at the telemarketing industry. It is a recording that features a supposed Taliban agent and the voice of an FBI agent reminiscent of Sgt. Joe Friday asking for Bin Laden’s location or “you must face the consequences.”

Taliban agent: “Leave us alone. We know nothing of this Bin Laden.”

FBI: “We think you do. Listen, Mr. Taliban Person, do you realize that this is your final opportunity or we must lash out with an assault of which you do not have the technology to handle?”

Taliban agent: “We do not fear your weapons.”

FBI: “We know that, but you don’t have answering machines.”

After which, the “Taliban agent’s” phone is bombarded by nonstop telemarketing calls.

Honorable mentions:

Slum Dog Millionaire  – Jamal Malik as a tea server working in an Indian Call Center

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Features an outsourced call center agent, asking Major William Lennox if he “wants to avail of a premium plan” during a critical moment

Spiral – A movie about a telemarketer who has only one semblance of a friend: His telecommuter boss. But the telemarketer’s social circle seems to improve greatly when a whimsical co-worker enters his life.