April 30, 2009

Does The TV Show "Parks And Recreation" Really Look At The Inside World of Local Government? I Think Not!

THERE HAVE been a lot of TV shows about government. Spin City, LA Law and The FBI to name a few. And now there is a new show about local government called Parks and Recreation. It stars Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones.

Parks and Recreation is billed as a new mockumentary that looks inside the world of local government. The cameras follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live fame), the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. The thirty minute comedy airs Thursday nights on NBC.



The reviews for the show haven't been that kind. Tom Shales of the Washington Post says of the show "called the show "a too-obvious imitation of the network's imported hit "The Office," and complained that "NBC has managed to come up with a prime-time network sitcom that suffers from an excess of subtlety -- a flaw so utterly unprecedented that it has considerable novelty value on its own."

Robert Bianco of USA Today said "came down hard on the show saying, "What you find in Parks and Recreation is a style in search of a show. Worse yet, it's not even a new style, or one that seems particularly well-suited to the character being played by the star, Saturday Night Live's Amy Poehler."

While those reviews are critical, the New Yorker recently featured a flattering article on the show's star, Amy Poehler, entitled the Cockey Optimist. Nancy Franklin starts that article by asking, "Is there a more appealing performer on television than Amy Poehler? Yes, "appealing" sounds bland and unappreciative, and it's unspecific, but the radiance and the warmth that come from Poehler are general and broad in the best way, and they offer a universal welcome."

The first episodes contain a lot of good scenes and quotable quotes - here are a few:

“You know, government isn’t just a boy’s club anymore. . . . It’s a great time to be a woman in politics—Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, me, Nancy Pelosi.”

"My idea for the perfect government would be Chuck E. Cheese. They know how to run things."

"I hate the public. The public is stupid."


My mother is “as respected as Mother Teresa, she’s as powerful as Stalin, and she’s as beautiful as Margaret Thatcher.”

"Committees are the lifeblood of our democracy."

"City hall is like a locker room - you gotta get in there and snap the towels."

"All government is a waste of money."

"I lost my optimism for government in two months."

"Don't go the extra mile - it's what I want in a government employee."

"My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in an empty room and he decides who to nuke."

And so it goes.

I wonder if cops watch Southland - if crime lab people watch CSI, if lawyers watch Boston Legal and if doctors watch House?

Does anyone in local government catch Parks and Recreation?


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