Friday, April 10, 2009

More ‘Playing’ Needed on Parks and Recreation

When I first heard about the new Amy Poehler television show, Parks and Recreation, which debuted on NBC last night after The Office, I was ecstatic. If it’s anything like actual real-life stagnating bureaucracy, it will be an absolute hoot!

I imagined a comedy format similar to Seinfeld, with community meetings commandeered by unemployed sociopaths living on mental disability payments shouting, “You’re not following Robert’s Rules!” I imagined droves of people blocking traffic and throwing newspaper racks into Starbucks windows to protest idiotic issues while the really serious issues were basically ignored. I hoped to be a fly on the wall and witness secret donations by shady businesses to political campaigns in exchange for land use variances.

Instead, I saw a show formatted as a carbon copy of The Office. The Office is good, mind you, but it’s been done. Part of the attraction is that it is original.

Unfortunately, The Office can sometimes be depressingly realistic. I suppose that’s part of the reason it’s successful – we can all relate, having worked in a dysfunctional office with incompetent management. Just as the cartoon, Dilbert, is plastered all over office cubicles (when bosses don’t make you take them down), The Office recreates one of those universally experienced ills of our society. Misery loves company.

Parks and Recreation, however, is a day in the life of the largely unknown. Most of us have never experienced the bizarre world of community activism or city/county government employment. I imagine it’s hard for most people to relate.

What Parks and Recreation needs is a bit more ‘playing’ (a.k.a acting) and less narration. There’s lots of room for improvement and I want to give it a chance. I love Amy Poehler and love the idea. I hope they can make it work. Sadly, I didn't like this first episode.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your overall assessment of Tuesday's Idol show, but want to note an error: “Falling Slowly” wasn’t a Bryan Adams song. It was written and performed for a movie called “Once” by the two actors (real life professional and then-personal partners Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová) who starred in it. The song won an Academy Award in 2007 for best original song. I remember seeing them perform it on TV during the Oscars because the guitarist, Hansard, was playing this incredibly beat-up old guitar that was full of holes from being so worn out…


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