TV Review: Parks and Recreation
“I have been developing the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness for years. It’s a perfectly calibrated recipe for maximum personal achievement. Categories include: Capitalism, God’s way of determining who is smart, and who is poor. Crying, acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon. Rage. Poise. Property rights. Fish, for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”
– from The Wisdom of Ron Swanson
It’s no secret I watch a ton of TV shows. True, the number has dwindled these last six months due to heavy coursework (I’ll get back to you someday on Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries!), but some shows I just couldn’t give up. Parks and Recreation was one of them.
So… what’s Parks & Rec all about? The Parks department of Pawnee, Indiana, and all its employees – especially in the Deputy Director, Leslie Knope.
I started watching because I love Amy Poehler. She’s one of the best female role models out there (if you don’t believe me, go to youtube and search for Ask Amy) and she’s funny and sweet and overall, my second favorite Amy in the world (first one goes to former BB staff Amy Parker, of course).
At first, I wasn’t very impressed with the show. The first season is sort of lackluster and Leslie seems sort of a dummy. However, it’s only six episodes long and the supporting cast more than makes up for the still-developing Leslie. I mean… Ron Swanson (played flawlessly by Nick Offerman) is a jewel in terms of smart writing and perfect delivery.
After season one, I was hooked. Season two is funny and Leslie is now more empowered and smart and you’ll wish all government workers were like her. Ron’s even more stoically aggressive – he seriously has some of the best quotes and gifs out there – and he balances Leslie optimism perfectly. April grows beyond her deadpan face and overall “I don’t care about anything” attitude. Andy is still a goofball, but he’s so sweet and you can’t help but root for him. Donna and Jerry – they become more important as the seasons go by – are also excellent cast members. Donna because she completely owns everything and Jerry because, well… he’s always the butt of the joke. Then, we have Ann, Leslie’s best friend and, in Leslie’s words, “beautiful nurse”, who also brings Leslie to be more down-to-earth and Tom, a complete metrosexual with crazy entrepreneurism spirit.
At the end of season 2, one of my favorite characters is introduced: Ben Wyatt, who’s a complete geek but dedicated government worker. And Chris, the ever-optimistic, always-exercising, “I’m going to live to a 150” Chris.
From there on out, Parks & Rec is perfect. From Ron’s anti-government attitudes and ex-wives (both named Tammy, and Tammy 2 is played brilliantly by Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman’s wife in real life), the blossoming relationships between April and Andy and Leslie and Ben (not a spoiler, really… you’ll see that one coming from miles away) and the struggle of someone who cares about her town, see every step she takes to better it constantly made difficult by a very stupid population.
In short, Parks and Recreation is one of the best comedies on TV and hands down and one of the best satires on American Government. If you’re like me, you’ll be in love with it fast and gobble down all episodes like the government gobbles up tax-payers’ money. And remember:
Why do I want to build this park so bad? Maybe because a pit filled with garbage isn’t the best that we can do in America. You know, in Russia they could pretend that pit was a park. Bring their kids down there,’Hey Vlad, uh, look at these rocks. Let’s pretend they’re potatoes. Nikolai, do you want to swim in the dirt?’ but not here. Okay? Cause we’re a nation of dreamers and it is my dream to build a park that I one day visit with my White House staff on my birthday. And they say, ‘President Knope, this park is awesome. Now we understand why you are the first female President of the United States.
— Leslie Knope, on why she wants to build a park on an abandoned lot behind Ann’s house