Friday, April 10, 2009

TV Review: Parks & Recreation

This is going to be a really short review on the new NBC series, Parks and Recreation, which debuted last night sandwiched between 2 new episodes of The Office. NBC has been promoting the hell out of this thing, frankly because they kinda need a few (or a lot of) hits to save their sinking ship, and have built an entire campaign of this show on this line: "From the creators that brought you The Office..." And that is my exact problem with Parks and Recreation.

It stars SNL alum Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, the eternally optimistic and sorta pathetic head of the Parks and Recreation department of a fictional town in Indiana. The first episode sets the plot for the next season (or two or three), with Leslie's attempt to turn a giant construction pit into a park for the town. As with The Office, she has her share of interesting coworkers (the funniest being Aziz Ansari) and it seems like as much as it is about life in the office and office politics, some of the upcoming plot will also be grounded on her budding friendship with Ann (played by Rashida Jones), who gets her committed to turning the pit into a park in the first place. I don't like Rashida, but I liked this aspect of the show. Yay for fun female friendships!

But, I really didn't love the pilot. And I wanted to! I think Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (creator/writer and head writer of The Office, respectively) are geniuses and will pretty much watch anything they are involved with. I loooove Amy Poehler. But I didn't love this. Why? Though it is not a spinoff of The Office or related to it in any way, it felt exactly like an episode of The Office. The mockumentary style, the quiet buildup of humor, the similarity of Leslie Knope's character to Michael Scott, EVERYTHING. It's not that I don't enjoy any of the above, but I don't know, maybe it was because it aired between The Office that I really just felt like I watched 3 episodes of the same show last night. In all fairness, The Office had a really slow start too. And I already have Parks and Recreation set for series recording on my DVR, so I'm going to continue watching. But, my initial impression is that I just wasn't that impressed. Yet.

Let's bring this back to something that is near and dear to my heart. What I did love was The Office's new opening last night. I heart the framed picture of John Krasinski. Pam, you lucky lucky girl.


Julia Park said...

It totally felt like another episode of The Office. The awkward sexual tension between Leslie and Mark is soo Michael and Jan.

Sigh. I really hope that they make this show into its own, and not just be known as The Office spin-off (which it really isn't, but at the rate of the pilot, it's not a far stretch).