Binge Guide: ‘Parks and Recreation’

The always humorous Amy Phoeler is an integral part of comedy Parks and Rec. Richard Shotwell/AP

The always humorous Amy Phoeler is an integral part of comedy Parks and Rec. Richard Shotwell/AP

The always humorous Amy Phoeler is an integral part of comedy Parks and Rec. Richard Shotwell/AP

The always humorous Amy Phoeler is an integral part of comedy Parks and Rec. Richard Shotwell/AP

By Nicole Fiorica

At a glance:

Genre: Comedy

Seasons/Episodes: 6/112

Avg Episode Length: 21 minutes

Available on: Netflix, Hulu Plus

What it’s about: 

Filmed in the popular “mockumentary” style, “Parks and Recreation” follows the members of the parks and recreation department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Comedian Amy Poehler (“SNL,” Mean Girls) stars as upbeat, idealistic Leslie Knope who hopes to better the town of Pawnee. The people working alongside her include her disgruntled, government-hating boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman, 21 Jump Street), entrepreneurial coworker Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), and young, underachieving April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza).

Why it’s so good:

Parks and Rec is made in a similar vein to “The Office” and “30 Rock,” following an entertaining cast of characters around their everyday lives at home and in the workplace. With a glowing, enthusiastic Leslie Knope at the center of the show’s storyline, every plot is presented from an upbeat, quirky angle and the portrayal of the Pawnee’s small-scale bureaucracy serves as a hilarious satire of political issues that viewers will be able to recognize. While it is basic storyline may seem similar to other comedies you might have seen, its humor and characters are still fresh and lovable.

Why you should binge it:

While this is not the kind of show that is going to keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for what comes next like the way your favorite drama does, its humor is absolutely infectious. Even the strangest of the regular characters are still, in their own way, absolutely lovable, and you will want to keep laughing along with (or at least at) them.

Standouts: 

It may be predictable to say that Amy Poehler is the standout of the show, but Leslie Knope’s character is the glue that keeps the Parks and Rec department going. Still, a clear fan-favorite is Ron Swanson. His dislike for bureaucracy coupled with a deep passion for all things deemed traditionally masculine such as outdoor activities and lots of bacon make him the highlight of many episodes. In his contrast to Leslie’s bright disposition, Ron’s character only serves to provide even more comic relief. Perhaps one of Parks and Recreation’s greatest achievements, however, is the creation of Pawnee. The town’s detailed history, its importance to Leslie and its seemingly never-ending rivalry with the neighboring snotty town of Eagleton almost make it a character in its own right.

Potential Pitfalls: 

The very brief Season 1 (only six episodes) does not compare to the humor of later seasons, and it takes some time for the show to really hit its stride. However, it still sets up important relationships, such as the friendship between Leslie and civilian Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) which becomes one of the key elements of the show. The show feels more like a copy of “30 Rock” in the early episodes, but as the show progresses, actors such as Rob Lowe and Adam Scott join the regular cast. In Season 2, it really starts to blossom and stand on its own.

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Nicole Fiorica is a Staff Writer for The Fordham Ram.