The Sweetly Satirical Parks and Recreation Box Set

The Parks and Recreation box set makes for great viewing. You’ll be giggling helplessly at the antics of the dysfunctional family, including Leslie Knope.

Leslie believes that, if she works hard enough at her job, she will one day get the call summoning her to take up the reins at the White House, as president of the United States of America.

Seeing as she’s the deputy director of the Pawnee Parks Department in a fictionalised Indiana town, this reveals that the rather unfortunate official with a Mickey Mouse voice is at least optimistic!
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A Mockumentary Workplace Sitcom

Parks and Recreation is peppered with potentially annoying characters who, like Knope, turn out to be anything but. While she was originally portrayed as a manic clown, a moron who couldn’t pass a hole without falling in it, the character got toned down a little after the first season.

The cartoon-inspired mannerisms were put away, and she became more competent, more cunning, and more self-aware. The second season introduces a grinning power-suited blonde with a can-do attitude who is still, thankfully, very quick to crumble when the going gets tough. Her goal? Transforming a Pawnee rife with obesity into a smooth-running paradise. Well worth a viewing the next time you take a break from your online betting!
A Gentle Satire of the American Dream

You will enjoy watching Knope’s character throwing herself wholeheartedly into the rather trivial tasks she views as all-important, like building the smallest park in the town, a bench on a traffic island, or overseeing the marriage of a pair of gay penguins in the local zoo.

It’s a kindly satire of US idealism and the competitiveness that characterises many of the smaller towns peppered around the country.
A Strong Ensemble Piece

Knope is portrayed by Amy Poehler, the former denizen of Saturday Night Live, and, in the manner of all the best sitcoms, she and her team are a codependent, if slightly dysfunctional, family. From the thwarted media tycoon portrayed by Aziz Ansari to Aubrey Plaza’s uninterested emo, the cast is a very capable one, and the show is refreshingly short on cruelty and cynicism.

Even Ron Swanson, Knope’s boss, a carnivorous, gun-toting, anti-government libertarian misanthrope is perversely pleasant! Wonderfully underplayed by Nick Offerman, Swanson is one of those magical characters in a sitcom whose very presence makes you smile.

Occasionally dropping his guard and revealing an underlying affection for Knope, Offerman manages to make even this funny, using a depth of character and knack for pathos to allow us to get a little sentimental without getting schmaltzy.
Excellently Executed Romantic Subplots

The secondary romantic plots are well put together, and none fall short of the standard the show sets with its main storyline. The second season, for example, has Knope falling for a sweet policeman, played by Louis CK, and their fumbling towards a gee-whiz romance and then a rather difficult dissolution is genuinely touching.

The sharp wit, an unrelenting silliness and the naturally occurring sentiment in Parks and Recreation could easily have it being mistaken for a live-action take of the The Simpsons in its prime. It’s one of my favourite shows of all times and highly recommended for those who enjoy their humour a little on the darker side of things.

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