Features The Weekend Binge

The Weekend Binge – Parks and Recreation

I’ve never been the biggest fan of The Office, both UK and US versions. It’s not that I hated it completely but I could never really get into it. Perhaps it was the characters or perhaps it was the set up. See I could never completely grasp the idea that a film crew, unseen, is following some lowly office workers around and they are interviewed after a certain event happens. It seems like a cheap trick. But while I couldn’t wrap my head around The Office, I most certainly dived head first into Parks and Recreation without a second thought. Why? Because of Leslie Knope and her collection of incredible characters who lifted this show into exceedingly good comedy.

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Parks and Recreation revolves around the small town of Pawnee. Leslie Knope is in charge of the titular committee, meant to bring more character and leisure activities to the town. When local resident Anne Perkins tells her of the massive hole behind her house that her boyfriend Andy Dwyer fell into and broke both his legs, Leslie makes it her mission to turn it into the town’s best park. With the help of her team which includes intern April Ludgate, the entrepreneurial Tom Haverford and the stoic anti-government director Ron Swanson. Through seven amazing seasons, the team will battle bureaucracy and the weird townspeople who’ll try to cut April down at every turn.

At the centre of Parks and Recreation is Amy Poehler, and, oh my gosh, aren’t we happy about that? As the perky Knope, Poehler’s leading lady is certainly no wallflower and brings a fresh beat to the television screens. Smart yet loving, tenacious but endearing, Knope is a remarkable woman and an icon for viewers. Poehler’s talent marvellously brings her to life and it is an epic and consistent performance. Surrounding her and each bringing a extraordinary character that you cannot forget. Aziz Ansari’s Tom brings metrosexual to the team, Rashida Jones’ earthier best friend Anne is complex, Chris Pratt’s silly man-child Andy is a fan favourite as well as Aubrey Plaza’s droll and sullen April. Not forgetting Adam Scott as Leslie’s counterpart Ben that brings the geek to the show, Retta’s mysterious but dynamic Donna, Rob Lowe’s fitness and optimism, Jim O’Heir’s big sap Gerry (or Garry. Or Larry) and not forgetting Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who is simply epic (and has the best giggle ever).

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After a few slow episodes, the mockumentary style sitcom begins to flourish, much like Leslie’s career. The comedy becomes more honed and rambunctious, with each character fleshing out their role, the seasons heighten with this flare and humour unmatched. As Leslie rises through government and marriage, her storylines don’t squander that of those around her. Throughout her journey, the Parks and Rec department evolve too and through slapstick, sarcasm and some unbelievable yet realistic moments, Knope and her team create one of the best television shows of all time. I’d like to sit here and pick out highlights but from Bye Bye Lil’ Sebastian to the Snake Juice effects, Leslies campaign for councilwoman to Ron amd Tammy, this is a series filled with excellence, exuberance and spirit.

The show may have ended  but luckily Amazon and many VOD hosting sites still have all the episodes for your perusal.  Honestly, with Amy Poehler at the helm, creating one of the most beloved characters on television. With each new adversity that she must tackle, you feel very much part of the team. And there are poignant moments here too (including a beautiful wedding and Ron Swanson getting emotional), so you aren’t without your character development either. Parks and Recreation is entertaining, wholly and completely.


Parks and Recreation is available on Amazon Video! 

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