Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Parks Recreation Season One|
Actors: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman
Director: Jeffrey Blitz;Greg Daniels;Seth Gordon;Beth McCarthy-Miller;Michael McCullers;Michael Schur
Genres: Comedy, Television
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 Poeh... more »
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Richard Hine | 09/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in 2008 there was much talk of a spinoff of The Office. Rashida Jones was attached. Would her Office character Karen Fillippelli be getting her own show? (Answer: no.)
Then, despite the involvement of Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the line became "don't call it an Office spinoff." (Answer: too late.)
Then Amy Poehler quit SNL to headline the show.
Then Parks And Recreation debuted in April 2009 and people immediately ripped it apart for being too much like The Office (mockumentary style, workplace setting) or not like The Office enough (no Michael-Jim-Pam-Dwight... not even a Karen Fillippelli).
I have no idea how the show actually came about. But during the development process, there was also a rather inspirational Presidential campaign playing in the background of everyone's lives. A new day dawned in America. And somehow the non-Office-spin-off show that emerged was set in local government (the Pawnee, Indiana Parks & Recreation department). With a lead character who believes (perhaps, naively) that government can still be made to work for the people. With an emphasis on grassroots citizen involvement. And even a few raised voices at town hall meetings.
The show centers on Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope. And Poehler nails it. She's created a character who is intense, focused, tenacious, clueless and annoyingly lovable. Her efforts to turn a dangerous abandoned construction project (a.k.a. "the pit") into a community park are, in her mind, a launch pad for a future presidential bid. Her efforts are alternately helped and thwarted by an anti-government boss (played by Nick Offerman), her complicated feelings for her "ex-lover" colleague (Paul Schneider) who barely remembers their drunken, anciently historic one-night stand, and her fast-talking sub-committee partner-in-crime (Aziz Ansari), a walking bundle of ethical and marital immorality who is perpetually (but unsuccessfully) seeking an outlet.
Rashida Jones features prominently as Ann Perkins, the nurse who grudgingly gets drawn into the project and then pulled along by Leslie's can-do spirit and manic drive. Ann also has Andy, an injured boyfriend (Chris Pratt) to nurse. He broke both his legs falling into the pit and his been milking the situation ever since. Leslie is also using the project to help inspire April (Aubrey Plaza), the departmental intern (who knows how to create social networking embarrassments) and to impress her mother Marlene (Pamela Reed), who is far bigger player than Leslie in local politics.
Throughout Season One, Leslie and Ann become the double act who work most closely to move the project forward. It's an Abbott and Costello-like pairing, with Jones playing the straight foil to the antic Poehler. But as we get to know all the characters, more layers are revealed, especially as Schneider's character Mark Brendanawicz gets more drawn into the action and inspired by Leslie's undaunted spirit.
I wasn't always wowed by Amy Poehler on SNL. And I still haven't forgiven her for the fact that anytime I hear the name "Rick" I have to run around a couch for five minutes repeating the name incessantly. But Parks & Recreation is both a great ensemble show and the perfect showcase for Poehler's comic talents. In an age of recycled ideas in every TV format, from reality shows to regular sitcoms to primetime soaps to police procedurals, I'm not sure why people are so eager to dump on the "mockumentary" format. I happen to love mockumentaries. Some people thought the first episode of this series was the pits. But over the course of six episodes, Season One of Parks & Recreation turned into an uplifting tale with finely drawn characters and a whole lot of laughs. Hopefully one day, there will also be trees and benches and grass to enjoy.
Perhaps even a water feature."
Often hilarious first season
Westley | Stuck in my head | 01/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Parks and Recreation" debuted in April, 2009, with a limited 6-episode first season run. The show was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who helped adapt the American version of "The Office" (Schur also plays Dwight's cousin, Mose). Filmed in the same mockumentary style as "The Office," the show is bound to draw comparisons. I'm a huge fan of "The Office," so that's what drew me to this show, and I was more or less satisfied. Both shows also feature rather mundane work settings populated with less than stellar workers. With "Parks and Recreation," we get Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who is the naive second-in-charge at the parks and recreation office in fictional Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie believes that she can make a difference, and she aspires to be like some of her favorite female politicians (her office walls are lines with photos of the likes of Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi).
Leslie regularly holds town forums for parks and rec, and at one of these meetings a young nurse, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), relates that her boyfriend fell into a pit on a vacant lot and broke both his legs. Leslie is horrified and agrees to look into the problem; when the crowd responds favorably, Leslie begins to (as is her m.o.) overpromise and tells Ann that she will build a park on the lot. Ann is skeptical, but this promise sets into motion the main plot line for the series - Leslie's futile efforts to build the park.
Amy Poehler makes a likeable protagonist, and the supporting players in the series are uniformly terrific. Rashida's Ann character is mostly the straight man, but the other supporting characters are often hilarious. In particular, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is a great comic creation - equal parts horny flirt, sarcastic troublemaker, and suck-up. During this first season, though, the show struggles a bit to find its voice. Having all the plots revolve around Leslie's efforts to get the park built makes these episodes somewhat constricted, and the way that Rashida Jones' character is involved is sometimes not very believable (she seems to spend more time at the parks and rec office than she does at work). For every funny joke or set piece, there's at least one bomb. However, the series seems headed in the right direction, and I've seen a few episodes from season 2 which are very good. I'm not totally hooked, but "Parks and Recreation" is funny enough to merit being added to my tv watching schedule.
The DVD set includes deleted scenes for most episodes; these scenes are extremely funny. In addition, each episode has commentary from the show producers, writers, and cast. Amy Poehler appears on one of the six commentaries ("The Banquet").
A very weak Season One; the show improved dramatically in Se
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/19/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I watched the Pilot of PARKS AND RECREATION and was not impressed, so I didn't keep watching. I inadvertently watched a couple of episodes of Season Two and realized that the show had gotten better. I decided to go back and watch Season One before watching the parts of Season Two that I hadn't yet seen. Doing so largely confirmed what I had already thought: Season One simply wasn't very good. It was not without interest and some good moments, but for the mot part the season was, frankly, pretty dull. But having seen parts of Season Two, I know it gets better so I waited the show out.
If anyone enjoys Season One, then they will enjoy Season Two considerably more. If you don't like Season Two, neither did I. Wait it out and it will get better. One of the problems in Season One is that there is no real chemistry among the cast. It doesn't mesh very well and frankly most of them are not especially interesting. And sometimes the humor gets a bit harsh. I don't like it when the humor progresses by humiliating the key characters, like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM always does and THE OFFICE sometimes does. The second episode of the show features a public meeting in which Leslie gets pummeled by local residents over the proposal to fill in a neighborhood pit and put a park in its place. This did not make me laugh or smile. It just made me cringe and feel a tad uncomfortable.
So, not a strong start to the series, but luckily it got better."