NNWIJ: Parks and Recreation (2009-?)

Creator: Greg Daniels/Michael Schur

Notable Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Paul Schneider

Rating: TV-PG

Review:  Never, ever prematurely judge a film or show. I never gave Parks and Recreation a fair shot because early previews equated it to nothing but a cheap cash in attempt from the creators of The Office.  While Michael Scott was at the peak of his popularity, Daniels and Schur decided to copy the same exact formula from their first hit and insert it into an Indiana parks and recreation department. But could Amy Poehler really carry an entire TV series the way that Carrell had been doing for so many seasons?  Well, I was finally ready to find out. Three episodes in I was mildly entertained, but after that fourth episode, Parks and Recreation fully establishes its own unique voice and is off to the races.  I couldn’t stop.  A few days and two and a half seasons later, the lovable bumpkin town of Pawnee had won me completely over.  Yes, it can easily be said how similar Daniels/Schur made Parks and Recreation to The Office, but now that I think about it, how bad of a problem is that when you think how hilarious The Office can be?  The ultimate strength for the creative duo is easily their comedic timing, as translated through every single character in Parks and Recreation.  The mockumentary style shooting gives perfect opportunities to catch random character reactions or peaking at characters behind the scenes actions.  The public forums are always the highlights of episodes, lampooning the stupidity that is possible when people are given a mic and no restrictions.  But where Parks and Recreation hits it out of the park is it’s casting.  Every character is perfect.  Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope is basically the female version of Michael Scott: super enthusiastic about her job, blissfully ignorant, and totally socially awkward at times.  Rashida Jones (Jim’s old flame from The Office) plays Anne Perkins, a community member that becomes friends with Leslie during the first episode and is Leslie’s down to earth connection to reality.  Chris Pratt plays Rashida’s boyfriend/ex-boyfriend who is an aspiring musician/goofy idiot.  One of my favorite comedians of today, Aziz Ansari, plays Tom Haverford, Leslie’s right hand man/aspiring club promotor that couldn’t give a crap about his parks and recreation job and will hit on anything with a pulse.  Nick Offerman plays Leslie’s boss Ron Swanson: the alpha male, community hating, breakfast food loving head hancho who believes all forms of government should be privatized.  Aubrey Plaza plays the hipster college intern, whose only job is to put paper in the printer and even that she blows off.  Paul Schneider plays city planner Mark, Leslie’s long time crush and seemingly the only normal personality in the office.  Jerry (Jim O’Heir) is a lesser character and the most hated person in the office, basically being the Tobey of Parks and Recreation while Donna (Rhetta) is the sassy side character of the office.  Every character brings a unique personality.  Pratt’s physical comedy is unmatched, throwing himself into pits and over cars seemingly without fear.  Ansari has great facial reactions mixed with his hilariously mismatched bad boy attitude that make him a scene stealer.  Offerman’s character has the same scene stealing capabilities with his over masculine remarks and careless attitude. Poehler, playing the main character, has great timing with her lines that make her a perfect fit for Daniels/Schur’s lines.  There isn’t a single poor character on this show. But Parks and Recreation topped even itself, with some late cameos.  In the last two episodes of Season 2, Adam Scott and Rob Lowe were brought in as government officials sent to reduce the costs of the Pawnee Government.  Again, both characters were perfect fits in to the show’s world.  Lowe is the overly enthusiastic and health obsessed nice guy while Scott is forced to play the bringer of bad news because of his boss.  Then Season 3 came around and we happily learned they were here to stay.  At this point in the show, I’ve gotten tons more laughs out of Parks and Recreation than The Office, and consider the characters much more of a success.  Parks and Recreation was built off what was learned from The Office, and surprisingly became a more superior show.  If you’ve held out on Parks and Recreation even longer than I did, it’s time to jump on the train.  Quite possibly one of the funniest shows on television right now, I fully endorse the crazy political antics of Parks and Recreation, which is tearin’ it up like DJ Roomba at this point.

Netflix Rating: 5/5

Don’t believe me?  I’ll post a few of my favorite clips.

The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness:

Andy Interrogating A Vandal

Tom Fashion Show

About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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2 Responses to NNWIJ: Parks and Recreation (2009-?)

  1. I love this show! I can’t wait until they add Season 3, their best so far.

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