From the creative team of The Office came another workplace comedy, Parks and Recreation in 2009 about a local government of the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana. The series aired on NBC from April 9, 2009, to February 24, 2015, for 125 episodes, over seven seasons. A special reunion episode aired on April 30, 2020.
Parks and Recreation created by Emmy award-winning executive producers/writers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur with writers Amy Poehler, Harris Wittels, and Dan Goor.
Parks and Recreation mostly revolves around Leslie’s struggle to climb up the political ladder and her friends being with her and supporting her. Although the cast is not just to take forward Leslie’s story they have their own struggles and stories. The show touches upon important topics like how even the best of us could use a therapist and aims to normalize seeking help. Mistakes made at a young age may haunt us forever but with hard work and the help of good friends, it can be overcome. How corporations are destroying the environment and public health and the role of government in such matters. It might make you question the idea of democracy overall but because of the format and setting these questions are not pondered upon much seriously. Like if you have ever read something and thought this person doesn’t deserve to be on the internet but hey we are a democracy and different point of view is the core of our system. There are multiple examples of workplace sexism and how women are held at much, much higher pedestal as compared to their male counterparts. But ultimately this show will make you believe in the goodness of people and that a good life can be achieved by constant, focused hard work and a support system of friends and family. The final season especially has great episodes celebrating each relationship the characters have and a strong commentary on the socio-political environment.
About Pawnee, Indiana.
This city represents any democratic country and any town in such a country. We have an irresponsible corporation, the conservatives, the liberals, the right as well as the left. More importantly for me, this show provided an escape from reality along with being a small window into the lives of simple people who try and often fail but don’t give up. If you are someone who loves comedy and romance and strong friendships this show is for you.
Parks and Recreation creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur pitched this show as an ode to female friendships. Like other shows of this team, there is a focus on individual character growth and interpersonal relationships of the characters. We also see other aspects of the local government outside of the Parks department from time to time along with some iconic guest appearances of prominent politicians.
Parks and Recreation focuses mainly on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), her ambitions, and her strong will. She is feisty, focused, sometimes even pushy to people around her because of how determined she is. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of local government to make a big impact. She is ambitious and crazy about her dreams and truly believes she will become the President of the United States with her hard work and determination.
Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), a staunch libertarian who literally wants to destroy the government, he is a ladies’ man as we soon learn, he deeply cares about people around him. I can write an essay about how Ron Swanson is an alpha male character who truly also respects women and everyone around him in general, something which is so rare in pop culture. For example, he doesn’t like to cry because he is a man and men don’t cry but would not hesitate to lend a friend his shoulder and he also does cry on several occasions. He makes sacrifices for his friends but would also punch an intruder who insults them.
Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is introduced as a womanizer (rather tries to become one) who wants to create something but doesn’t work hard enough for it. His journey might be very inspiring for young entrepreneurs. Slowly he unlearns his beliefs of success and goes on to become a man he always aspired to be.
Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), Leslie’s best friend is a dedicated nurse who is content in her life but won’t shy away from new challenges. She tries to use her position to create lasting impact in public healthcare when given an opportunity.
Donna (Retta) is again like a friend we all wish to have. She is just as ambitious as Tom but is always realistic in her approach.
Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) who is a man child in the beginning but slowly learns how to be an adult. Also if you are a fan of Chris Pratt this is one of his initial works and the man is so good at comedy. Some moments in the show are actually improvised by him and they were so good the writers incorporated them.
Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider), Leslie’s old flame and colleague who helps her (sometimes) and is honestly one of the sane characters.
Jerry Gergich (Jim O’Heir) who is generally the joke of the office and universe’s punching bag, as Mike Schur said it, has a much bigger life than it appears in the beginning and his character’s journey is very satisfying to say the very least.
Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), the state auditor who comes off as strong and aloof but has his own past demons to fight. I want to talk a lot about him but I may give spoilers so let’s just say he grows a lot more confident than what he started. He has a very clear approach to his life and takes things lightly which balances him to his partner.
Chris Traeger who joins with Ben is awfully optimistic, even inspirational. Although his struggles give this character the real depth.
April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), a young and terrifying assistant who is just trying to figure out life like the rest of us.
Then there is a pit, yes, a pit that brings them all together along with a host of other characters like Jean Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd), Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson), Dennis Feinstein (Jason Mantzoukas), Craig Middlebrooks (Billy Eichner), Lucy (Natalie Morales) and many more who fill up this universe.
“It’s like I always say. When life gives you lemons, you sell some of your grandma’s jewelry, and go clubbing.” – Jean Ralphio
The end of Parks and Recreation is truly inspiring and might even seem cliché if achieving all your dreams and living a full life is cliché. But if anyone ever told you to not lose friendships over political opinions then this show may set certain standards of what differences are acceptable to you and how we treat each other and care for each other through our differences.
Parks and Recreation is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“Treat yo self.” – Donna Meagle
Written By – Roshani Jain.
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