Get ready for a full-on desi family to hit your television screen real soon (hopefully). CBS’s multi-camera comedy “Pandas in New York, written by Ajay Sahgal and directed by Mark Cendrowski, is about the lives of a family of Indian doctors in Manhattan.
The Pandas have a successful practice in New York and now they are working to control the life of their youngest son, Rishi. Unbeknownst to them, he’s signed up to work at a free clinic in the Bronx while they expect him to continue working at the family group practice. They’re trying to arrange his life without his knowledge so basically, this show is about the life of every South Asian kid ever.
The well-rounded cast of this show bodes well for its possible pick-up. Dhruv Singh (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and performer at several Upright Brigade Shows) will play the aforementioned Rishi Panda. After spending a year in Cambodia with Doctors without Borders, he comes home and signs up to work at a free clinic, going against his family’s wishes, especially because he is the only male child. His family will go to various lengths to change his mind.
Nishi Munshi (“The Originals”) will play the eldest sibling, orthopedic Gita Panda, who is not only like a second mother to her siblings but is literally the parent of three triplets along with Dan O’Brien’s Jim, an overworked physician.
Hina Abdullah (“The Last Ship”) plays Asha Panda, a rebel who wants her brother to live his life however he wants and doesn’t want to control him like her family. She’s the complete opposite of their elder sister Gita.
Bernard White (“Silicon Valley”) will play Om Panda, a physician and the father of Rishi, Gita, and Asha. He’s an old-school desi dad who wants his son to marry a nice Indian girl with a medical degree so they can all be a part of the family practice. His latest passion is golf, though he’s failing terribly at it.
Gita Reddy (“Orange is the New Black”) has been roped in as Pushpa, an ACL surgery expert, and mother to Rishi, Gita, and Asha. Like the dad, Pushpa also wants Rishi to marry a traditional Indian girl with a medical degree so she can join their family orthopedic clinic.
Ashley Tisdale (“High School Musical”) joins the cast as Maya, Rishi’s coworker at the free clinic and his possible love interest. Despite her tough exterior, she deeply cares about providing healthcare to the poor and tries to resist her attraction to Rishi.
Though this story sounds a little too familiar, it would be interesting to see how it all plays out on television. It has a “Fresh off the Boat” vibe, except instead of following the real lives, family expectations, and cultural assimilation of an Asian family, it’s a South Asian family.
If CBS does pick it up to series, which we think the network should, here’s hoping “Pandas in New York” helps quell the stereotypes of being a South Asian in America.