Liz Lemon, head writer of the sketch comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan", must deal with an arrogant new boss and a crazy new star, all while trying to run a successful television show without losing her mind.
Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat in an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department, hopes to beautify her town (and boost her own career) by helping local nurse Ann Perkins turn an abandoned construction site into a community park. However, what should be a fairly simple project is stymied at every turn by oafish bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, governmental red tape, and a myriad of other challenges. Leslie's colleague Tom Haverford, who delights in exploiting his position for personal gain, is as likely to undermine her efforts as to help her, while her boss, Ron Swanson, is adamantly opposed to government in any form, even though he's a bureaucrat.Written by
There are always a few television shows that seem to "define" a genre every decade or so, and considering Parks and Recreation finished its final run several months ago, I feel it important to revisit the show and the impact it left. Many times it was spurned as "The Office Rip-Off" in its starting days, despite it being more of a brainchild of the writers than anything. It seems safe to say, that after more than seven years on the air, Parks and Recreation has carved its own spot amongst the quirky and well-loved comedies that are hard to come across today.
The show stars hard-working public servant Leslie Knope (played by the amazing Amy Poehler) and a cast of humorous and memorable characters that navigate through bureaucracy and red tape in the local city government to complete projects. The most notable--and perhaps most powerful--asset of this show is its lovable and unforgettable characters, some that will leave you rolling your eyes and chuckling while others will simply make you smile in the most joyous kind of way. The cast has obvious chemistry amongst one another, and this certainly breaks through into the characters in ways that will make a viewer grow more attached to them.
The humor of the show itself also sets Parks and Rec apart from other television shows. While it's apparent the first season struggled to differentiate itself from The Office's "awkward humor", Parks found its stride in the simple "cute humor", the kind that is so innocuous and dumb and simply "cute" that it becomes hard not to laugh at the bumbling antics of the Parks and Recreation branch of the city of Pawnee. The episodes are mixed with the right amount of comedy, wit, and actual drama and storytelling; each character is crafted with the perfect amount of depth, that really separates from other comedy shows that rely on cardboard characters with running jokes to spew the funny. Even in its heartfelt moments, there is always room for laughs, but it never pushes aside the rest of the characters or their development. If you find yourself immersed in Parks and Recreation, it is almost certain you will find yourself immersed with one, more, or maybe all characters.
The simple genius, the style and passion this show was borne of, really marks it as a one-of-a-kind show, one that may not have had all the high ratings or prime-time slots or huge important newspaper reviews, but it became its own, and that's really what mattered in the end. After struggling in the shadow of The Office, and finding its stride in later seasons, Parks and Recreation became its own kind of wonderful recipe, one that delivered its own style of warmth and humor not found in many television shows. It may even define the style of comedy itself; after all, both Parks and The Office made famous the "mockumentary", "talking heads" sort of humor that others are sure to try and replicate. What gave Parks and Recreation a "name" per say, is the fact that the characters were so much larger-than-life, the stories so innocuous and believable, that the avid viewer can begin to believe them too, and find that this show is as heartfelt, funny, and enjoyable as I found it. 10/10
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