After weeks of wafting back and forth on whether or not I actually liked Parks and Recreation, I’ve finally landed on the side of “yes” after last night’s episode. I’ve always tried to dismiss criticism of the show as “an Office clone” because if the show can take the same formula, steal none of the Office‘s cast, and they write something that’s half as good, it’s going to be better than 90% of other comedies on the air these days.
And they’ve done just that. True, Parks and Recreation is NOT as well-written or well-acted as The Office, but it’s still enjoyable and clever anyways. And now other touches of what makes The Office great are coming through, like the deepening of supporting characters. We got to see that minor players like Leslie’s boss Ron and Ann’s boyfriend Andy (really, Ann and Andy? Just noticed that) are more than just cardboard one-note props.
Ron put himself on the line to save Leslie from disciplinary action, showing he has a heart, and Andy spent all day frantically cleaning the house (and himself) to let his girlfriend know that he cares. It was a very Office moment to inject a bit of human emotion into the goofy slapstick.
And Parks and Recreation does have a bit more slapstick than The Office overall, but I’d say Leslie’s opening dog poop fight scene is comparable to this week’s Kevin spilling chilli scene. But neither show steps on the other one’s toes, and I think there’s more than enough room for both on NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup. What were they even doing before Parks and Rec came along? Two episodes of My Name is Earl?