Thursday, April 9, 2009

Parks and Recreation - It's a Pinky promise

It is easy to be skeptical of a show with the same format as, what I consider to be one of the funniest shows ever, The Office. At the same time, how can a show go wrong with this same format considering it's made by the same people! It's a layup! And guess what? Parks and Recreation delivers.

Following the group of folks running the parks department in Pawnee, Indiana, Parks and Recreation represents all of the government jobs you could imagine never having. Working to make the park system work is like working to ensure the library runs efficiently (which is probably the next premise on the mundanely-comedic horizon).

Parks and Recreation goes right in all the same ways The Office does which is no easy feat with spinoffs/ remakes. Too often a spinoff wants to take side characters and put them in almost the same situations they had in the original but with some little twist. Where those spinoffs go wrong is the side characters weren't funny to begin with or the writing never stood a chance. But Parks and Recreation, unapologetically uses the same format as The Office and equally unapologetically uses the same kind of characters. What ensues is the same awkward hilarity.

The Office
works because, using the docu-comedy format, we know that some characters understand the joke they are taking part in while others think they are making the world laugh. Parks and Recreation uses the same formula. Jim Halpert knows his roll in the office and Tom Haverford also understands his place in the parks world. Amy Poehlers protrayal of Leslie Knope is so Michael Scott-ish to be embarrassing, but guess what: we need a female "World's Best Boss" in our lives and she hits it out of the park.

In a world of substandard comedies, we need more shows like these. Or maybe we just need the same writers making more of the same show. Parks and Recreation is our answer.

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