Saturday, February 6, 2010

What we're watching: Parks and Recreation on DVD

This series, created by Greg Daniels, presents a comical look at local government in Pawnee, Indiana. After slacker/musician Andy (Chris Pratt), the boyfriend of nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), falls into a huge pit left behind from an undeveloped basement, a subcommittee in the Parks and Recreation Department forms with the goal of filling the pit and turning it into a park. Currently in its second season on NBC, Parks and Recreation has a strong cast that continues to get better in each episode. Leading the subcommittee is Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the always-optimistic Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department. She loves her job even when the duties include leading public meetings where she is essentially yelled at by the public. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) quotes rap songs and sees himself as a womanizer even though he is married and women have no interest in him. April (Aubrey Plaza), the department's intern, is so bored at her job even the task of speaking is a chore. Mark Brendanowitz (Paul Schneider), a city planner, appears to be the only sane one in the group; Leslie describes him as "a smart, capable guy. He knows where the bodies are buried." Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), the boss of the Parks Department, doesn't believe in government and would like to privatize parks and follow the business example of Chuck E. Cheese. While each episode is filled with funny dialogue, Ron says perhaps the most unbelievably blunt things; the actor Nick Offerman delivers his lines so matter-of-factly you can't help but crack up laughing: "I hate the public. The public is stupid." Shot using the same mockumentary style seen on The Office and Modern Family, Parks and Recreation gets laughs not only from its talented cast but also from the time-wasting steps involved in government bureaucracy.

Season 1: Find it in the catalog!