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Parks & Quotable Recreation (S2:E1)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 20, 2009

Parks & Recreation got a lot of negative press last year for being a) an Office spin-off without any Office characters, b) stealing Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live, and c) not being all that funny. The latter was probably the most significant. I thought it was an alright sitcom that just didn’t have enough time to get into a groove. Look at The Big Bang Theory. I watched a few episodes of its first season and thought it was horrendous. Now, it’s a fan and critic favorite…and I’ll probably start watching it Monday to see how much it’s changed. But it’s evolution took time and I’m hoping Parks & Recreation will also benefit from a little time off. Plus, they only had six episodes in their first season, so it was more like a miniseries. Or a made-for-TV movie in six parts.

No, not Hillary Clinton. Thats Leslie from an episode last season.

No, not Hillary Clinton. That's Leslie from an episode last season.

By the way, if you didn’t watch it, it’s about the quirkiness of bureaucracy in a small Midwestern town. That alone makes it appealing to me.

“Pawnee Zoo” (S2:E1)

Plot Summary: Leslie, in an effort to make the Pawnee Zoo more fun, decides to marry a pair of penguins. But they turn out to be two male penguins, making her the “Queen of the Gays,” much to the reproach of Pawnee’s family group.

Good Moment: A clip from Pawnee Today, showing Tom being interviewed, but he’s slumped in a chair with his feet up looking desheveled, hitting on the host and making her very uncomfortable. He’s one of the brighter supporting characters in P&R.

Weak Spot: The show still seems riddled with lazy jokes and unnecessary scenes. Scenes that just repeated a problem or question without the funny. And jokes that were simple and obvious. I think the basics of The Office are there: A cast of characters, none of whom are completely with it, and a lead character who is naive and gets really into tasks. But it’s coming off flat. They do incorporate subtle reaction shots and actions well, though.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

  1. Tom: (at a gay bar) “I’ve seen so many dudes from city hall here tonight. It’s crazy! (pause) But…I guess they’ve seen me here, too…so, uh, that’s not great.”
  2. Ann: “Andy, after we broke up, he told me he was going to Kansas to climb mountains. So…I don’t…I don’t really know where he is.”
  3. April: “Leslie, hey. This is my boyfriend Derrick and this is Derrick’s boyfriend, Ben.” Leslie: “Hey! Oh, wait…Sorry, what’s the situation?” April: “What do you mean?” Leslie: “How does this work?” April: (confused) “Derrick is gay but he’s straight with me but he’s gay for Ben and Ben’s really gay for Derrick…and I hate Ben.” Derrick: “It’s not that complicated.” Ben: “Yeah.” Leslie: “Oh, yeah…sure.”

Grade: B-


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