Howdy people of the internet, time for a semi-review of sorts. Today I wish to talk about one of my favourite TV shows in recent history, Parks and Recreation, one of the best comedy TV shows I have seen for a long time. If you have read this blog before then you will know a little while ago I did a blog post about my history with TV shows and some of my favourites of all-time, but the one show I was probably missing and I would add now is Parks and Rec. It is THAT good. Now that the show is in its final season with the final two episodes set to air tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to talk about this show and why it kicks so much ass.
Before talking about the show, I wanted explain why I started watching it. basically I had heard some talk about Parks and Rec back in 2012 and 2013 on various websites and fair amount on AMC Movie Talk. But it wasn’t until Chris Pratt was cast as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy that I decided to give the show a watch (that and the fact that John Campea of AMC Movie Talk spoke so highly of him on the show). And that’s where it all started.
So why do I love this show? Allow me to explain…
In a nutshell the story of Parks and Rec follows the absurd antics of the town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place. The show is set Pawnee, Indiana and follows the adventures of Leslie Knope as she attempts to improve the town through government with her crew from the parks department.
The reason the show works is because of the following three main reasons: 1) It is funny, 2) The cast is brilliant and 3) It never stays the same.
I have to admit that the first season did take some time to get into, it was fine, but the show didn’t find a focus and it’s funny factor until season two. From there all of the stories have more focus and energy, the jokes are much better and the characters really start to show their more unique and hilarious personalities. Each season afterward presents new, exciting and absurd stories for us as viewers to see, nothing ever stays the same for too long and thankfully things change for the better rather than ruining the formula of the show. The are surprises to be found and plot twists that happen in the most surprising of ways, the show’s almost like a comedy mixed in with a soap opera. There is good humour but also a lot of drama to be found (but I’ll get to that later in this post.
One of the main things that make this show work so well is the humour. People who read this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of comedy-based stuff, though when I find a TV show that I find really funny, then I’m a happy place. For a time I thought Community was the funniest US TV show I’d watched, but then Parks and Rec, came along and blew the former out of the water. Parks and Rec is funny, it is really funny. The show has some of the snappiest humour I have seen in any show in a long time. Whether it be verbal or physical humour, it works so well and as the seasons go on the show’s funny factor stays consistent and provides many laugh-out-loud moments. Plus since the show is done in a documentary style with characters able to the break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, it just adds a level of intimacy and humour that other shows lack.
The best thing about the show is its characters. The characters of Pawnee happen to be some of the most absurd fictional human beings ever conceived, they’re like all of the people that go to Community‘s Greendale Community College, except on a much crazier level. Whether it is the primary, recurring or guest cast members, everyone gets their chance to shine in this show. What is neat about the citizens of Pawnee is that most of them are all given plenty of screen time for you understand who they are and why they are funny, so when they make future appearances you remember and appreciate them more.
Firstly we have Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope who is delightful to watch. Leslie is a woman crazy obsessed with government and a lot of strange habits, however she is also very kind and is a brilliant friend to all of her coworkers. Poehler is just perfect for this kind of role and I love how much her character’s progressed. The gorgeous Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins is also great, she start’s out as an outsider and a nurse but eventually become integrated into the government through her friendship with Leslie. Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford is one of the most funny people in the show, the man is classy, but also selfish, arrogant and sarcastic, but all of those traits make him so likeable. Then there’s Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who is arguably my favourite character. He is a man of few words, hates government, loves meat and normally likes to distance himself from his coworkers, and that’s just a few elements that makes him amazing. I LOVE Offerman’s performance and he just makes me smile whenever he has key scenes in the show.
Another great person is Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate. Here we have a live-action version of Daria, except much more creepy, cynical and lazy. April is SO much fun because she is cute and yet so awkward and strange. And then there’s Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer who is the character I think it arguably the best person in the show. The guy is incredibly stupid and child-like, but he’s also very sweet and his singing and physical humour makes the show SO much fun to watch. Pratt’s energy and charisma really elevate the show and provide some of the most memorable scenes in the series. Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt is probably my least favourite character in this group, that being said he has his moments where he is pretty funny (and that mainly comes from being around Leslie). Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger is just one of the best people ever. He is inhumanly heathy, absurdly positive and has such a great relationship with everyone. Jim O’Heir and Retta also bring me much joy as Jerry Gergich and Donna Meagle. Donna is a surprisingly funny and sophisticated woman who has great moments with Tom while Jerry is a man who just suffers, whether he is getting into accidents, being ignored or just being pranked by his colleagues, there is never a dull moment when he is around.
I also love small recurring characters like the brilliant Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), the sassy/crazy Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), the absurd/sexy Tammy II (Megan Mullally), the humourous Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini), the absurd Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons), the always entertaining Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) and quiet and creepy Orin (Eric Isenhower) just to name a few.
Watching this show feels like more than just 30 minutes for fun TV, it feels more like checking on good friends and seeing what they’ve been getting up to from episode to episode. What the writers and actors do so well with this show, more so than a lot of others, is make you feel connected to these characters and their situations with very real, emotional and relatable stories. For all of the humour that takes place in this show, there is a A LOT of heart, so much so that there are episodes that make you want to cry tears (sometimes of joy and sadness). I love the show so much that I re-watched the whole thing again (before season seven had aired) and now we’re on the final season and I’m not quite ready for another one of my favourite shows to end, but I guess this rollercoaster ride has to end at some point.
In conclusion Parks and Recreation is pretty much one of the best TV shows I ever decided to watch. Few shows have the power to engage me on such a level where I am addicted and need more like a crack-head junkie. The cast is brilliant, the humour is great and each season beyond the first brings something new, strange and fun to the table in ways that most shows can’t. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Parks and Rec then I implore you to do so, you’re missing out on some good stuff yo. :D
So have you seen the awesomeness that is Parks and Recreation and if so what do you think or it? Whatever your thoughts be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post.