On Thursday April 9, the much anticipated “Parks & Recreation” began. It comes with much hype and in a time when good comedy is in dire need. So, how is the show thus far? Not amazing, but based on precedent, I will give it benefit of the doubt.
“Parks” was made by the creators of the American adaptation of “The Office.” The show centers around Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). Knope works for the government in the Parks & Rec department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Knope is ambitious and too overly giddy for a public servant. While her co-workers don’t care much about their jobs or the government, she takes her job seriously. Looking up to her idols Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi, Knope dreams of being the first female president.
The office members of “Parks” are fewer than those of “The Office,” but each have their own quirks. There’s Knope’s wise-cracking assistant Tom (Aziz Ansari) and the pessimistic, government-hating Ron (Nick Offerman). Joining the crew is Pawnee local Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), who comes to complain about a vacant lot where her boyfriend broke her leg. Knope then comes up with the idea of turning the lot into a new park, a story line that will most likely carry out the rest of the first season.
“Parks” co-creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur have a perfect eye for casting. Poehler is perhaps most flawlessly cast. She plays the same sort of kind-hearted, over ambitious, and loopy characters she made a career out of while on “Saturday Night Live.” Knope herself is probably something of a young Hilary Clinton.
“Parks” will likely draw comparisons to “The Office,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like “The Office,” the show is shot in a documentary style with tracking shots and shots from far away or through bushes. It gives the feeling that we’re watching from afar the lives of these ordinary people that we never thought could be so interesting.
The problem with “Parks” is that there’s nothing really bad about it, but nothing too amazing either. However, “The Office” had the same, tepid start but grew over time. “Parks” may need that same time to grow, and expand its characters; so don’t give up hope on it yet because based solely on two episodes I can say that I am excited to see Leslie Knope and the rest of her Karl Roveesque schemes.