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Spring Housing Guide

TV Show Review: Parks and Recreation

TV Show Review: Parks and Recreation
TV Show Review: Parks and Recreation

Grade | A

What Marisha Pietrowski thinks:

Judging by its not-so-stellar ratings, NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” (airing 9:30 p.m. Thursdays) is the funniest show on television people are not watching.

It’s a shame, as the show, which was dismissed by many as being a less funny version of “the Office” upon its 2009 debut, has developed its own voice and sense of humor.

The show stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department in the fictional small town of Pawnee, Ind. Leslie’s enthusiasm for Pawnee and its parks is not shared by her coworkers, most notably her boss, Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman). He views his own department as an example of government waste and Aziz Ansari’s wannabe playboy, Tom Haverford.

In its Jan. 20 third season premiere, “Go Big Or Go Home,” the department is coming back to work after a summer-long government shutdown, but with a limited budget and two state auditors (Rob Lowe and “Step Brothers'” Adam Scott) controlling their actions. The budget issues Pawnee faces provide comedic fodder throughout the episode, but the heart of the show belongs with its characters.

Ron’s “Swanson Pyramid of Greatness,” a literal graphic offering words to live greatly by, showcases the integral components of the show’s success. A sample entryis “Buffets: Whenever available. Choose quantity over quality.”

Office punching bag Jerry (Jim O’Heir) faces daily barbs such as “Can you Photoshop your live with better decisions, Jerry?”

Ann Perkins (“the Office’s” Rashida Jones) tries to seduce Lowe’s overly-optimistic character in order to get more money for Leslie’s department. It eventually leads to an awkward night out at Pawnee’s gay bar, the Bulge where Leslie is a hero for marrying gay penguins in season two.

Other highlights include the potential romance between dimwitted shoeshiner Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and Ron’s sardonic, sarcastic assistant April (Aubrey Plaza). April’s deadpan stares into the camera create more laughs than the show’s writers ever could cause (which is saying a lot, considering the talent of the writing on “Parks and Recreation”).

The show is laugh-out-loud funny and a joy to watch. The characters are likable and the show’s jokes are created out of a careful blend of both subtlety and outlandishness. Poehler brings hilarity to Leslie, making her a woman the audience roots for and loves due to her admirable enthusiasm. She is a funny character and a good role model as well.

“Parks and Recreation” is not a show that has a complicated backstory, so it’s easy to begin watching it this season and still enjoy it. However, its first and second seasons, which are available on DVD, are certainly worth seeing as well.

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