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Required Viewing: Parks & Recreation
12/27/10 at 08:54 AM by harveyn590
If you, like myself, have some spare time on your hands this week, may I recommend you check out the fantastic NBC comedy Parks & Recreation.

Parks & Recreation revolves around the parks department of small town Pawnee, Indiana and stars an amazing ensemble cast including Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari. While the first season sure had its highlights, during the second season the show developed into one of the great shows on TV.

P&R marries a high amount of quality jokes with supreme character development, which draws you closer with each successive episode. Amy Poehler portrays main character Leslie Knope, the perennial do-gooder, well meaning and often oblivious #2 at the Pawnee Parks department, to perfection. From the pretentious hipster teen intern April (Aubrey Plaza) to the well meaning police officer Dave (Louis CK), each character adds something special to the show. As the second season goes on, be it through making fun of the hapless Jerry or helping Leslie overcome a sex scandal, you can start to feel these people become a more cohesive unit.

While new comedy superstar Aziz Ansari is obviously a highlight, its Chris Pratt's Andy character that consistently brings in the laughs. The upbeat, down on his luck idiot displays exactly why the show is so great; hes hilarious, somewhat destructive and a little sweet.

While Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is the familiar boss archetype character that's been done before, Offerman brings it a new life. Ron is the pessimistic head of the department who is lazy and shows outward disdain for his work and coworkers. Yet instead of falling into the repetitive trap of a Dr. Cox (Scrubs) type character, Ron gives the viewer and the characters on the show a reason to care about him. Through the slow reveal of who the Ron character is, you get drawn to a character you least expected to. And this is what is so miraculous about this show compared to others. After only 30 episodes, almost every character has gone through some sort of crucial transformation, that has redefined their character.

Without giving anything else away, I'll just say this series is a must see and truly raises the bar for network TV comedies. If you don't trust me check out Time Magazines year end TV rankings/analysis ( http://www.time.com/time/specials/pa...035319,00.html) or The AV Club's glowing year end review (http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-25-best-television-series-of-2010,49229/3/).

You can catch up of the first two seasons on Netflix or for free on Hulu (http://www.hulu.com/parks-and-recreation)
Tags: Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler
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