From the people who bring you The Office comes Parks and Recreation, the hilarious saga of government employees and local citizens turning a neighborhood hole in the ground into a new public park. Comedy superstar Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live, Baby Mama) stars as Leslie Knope, an ambitious and hopeful small town government worker, whose dreams are way bigger than her political talents. Created by Primetime Emmy Award winners Greg Daniels (The Office, King of the Hill, The Simpsons) and Michael Schur (The Office, SNL), and featuring a stellar ensemble cast, Parks and Recreation is a genuinely funny comedy (Daniel Carlson, Hollywood Reporter) about bureaucracy, hope and America at the dawn of the Obama age.
Consider season one of Parks and Recreation the series' awkward toddler phase, in which Greg Daniels and Michael Schur's comedy about midlevel town politics not only attempted to stand on its own but separate itself from its parent (of sorts), Daniels's wildly successful take on The Office. Comparisons to that show weighed down much of Parks' freshman year, with critics and fans alike suggesting that deputy parks director Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the series' relentlessly cheerful but socially awkward focus, was a wan carbon of Steve Carell's Michael Scott, with similar charges levied at its single-camera mockumentary style, aggravating office sycophant Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), and the awkward relationship between Knope and city planner Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider, who left the show after its second season).
In truth, the similarities were mostly superficial: Parks played closer to a sweet if cracked indie character piece about the hothouse effect on the eccentric if likable personalities who clung to the lower rungs of government, while The Office took a harsher look at the more aggressive flora and fauna of the American workplace. That gentler tone, embodied largely by Poehler's energetic turn and Chris Pratt as Rashida Jones's dim but ingratiating Andy Dwyer, may have put off Office fans hoping for a similarly acidic take which, in truth, was still present in Ansari and especially Nick Offerman, the show's breakout star, as the disgruntled parks director Ron Swanson. Thankfully, its network allowed Parks the time to smooth out the rougher edges and continue to develop its characters (most notably Aubrey Plaza's April, who was largely trimmed from this season), which resulted in one of the more ingratiating and proudly offbeat comedies in recent years. --Paul Gaita
|Media Type||TV Show|
|Actors||Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman|
|Director||Jeffrey Blitz, Greg Daniels, Seth Gordon, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Michael McCullers|
|Running Time||157 minutes|
|Studio||Universal Studios Home Entertainment|
|Release Date||Sep 8, 2009|