You’re Still Not Watching Parks and Rec?

A comprehensive look at why Parks and Recreation is the best comedy on television. 

By Josh Tuper

Fall is here, and that means a few things; football, pumpkin pie, and many TV shows back in business for the viewing pleasure of the masses. But the fact (read: opinion) of the matter is, there is a great deal of bad television on the air right now. It’s as if every channel we turn gives us a saturation of bad reality TV, teenage vampire soap operas, and cheesy laugh-track heavy sitcoms.

My televised savior comes every Thursday night at 8:30 pm eastern standard time. No, not The Vampire Diaries, but NBC’S Parks and Recreation. Now, this isn’t news to most television aficionados and comedy nerds (such as myself). The show gets a great deal of praise and was even nominated for an Emmy this year in outstanding comedy. I could go into a whole rant about how it was robbed and how the academy is biased towards Modern Family, but I shall spare you all.

While Parks isn’t in any way shunned, it still unfortunately suffers and has been the subject of possible cancellation on a few occasions. Meanwhile, terrible sitcoms such as Whitney somehow get picked up for a second season. But I digress. Parks and Rec is up against one of the biggest comedies on the air, The Big Bang Theory, which is a great show in it’s own way. However, this causes Parks to suffer in the ratings department. In fact, just last week it lost to Big Bang’s 12.1 million viewers with only about 3.9 million. These numbers may still seem high, and not too important, but in the television world the Nielsen rating system is God. At most times a cruel one.

Parks and Recreation is the most the humorous sitcom on the air right now. The writer’s are some of the funniest people in the world and include stand up greats such as Chelsea Peretti and Harris Wittels (look them up). The co-creator and executive producer is the great The Office producer/writer alumnus Mike Schur, whose roots are as a SNL writer. Finally, the cast is a hilarious and amazing ensemble, comparable to The Simpsons (when it was still good) and Arrested Development.

Each character on Parks is completely insane and ridiculous in his or her own way, and it leads to some of the greatest stories I’ve ever seen televised. It introduced us to some of the finest fictional people ever created. There’s Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman); the cold yet loveable anti-government, government leader, who dabbles in breakfast foods and woodwork, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari); the Kanye West worshipping “playa”, who’s just trying to hustle his way to the top, and so many more. Even secondary and recurring characters are amazing, such as Tom’s partner in swagger-crime, Jean Ralphio (played by the hilarious Ben Schwartz). The entire motley crew is led by the amazing comedy goddess, Amy Poehler, one of the founders of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Without which, we wouldn’t have some of our favorite comedians, actors, and writers.

My point is, if you’re a fan of the show, good. Keep watching and supporting such a smart, heartfelt, and funny show. If you don’t, give it a chance. Unfortunately, it may not be around forever. I compared it to Arrested Development, but that’s not always a positive comparison. I can see Parks and Recreation taking the same path, getting cancelled too soon despite it’s praise, and then people getting into it a little too late and catching up on Netflix (or it‘s future equivalent). They’ll say, “Man, why was this show cancelled? It’s so good!” Well my friends, it’s because you were too late to realize its greatness.

Josh Tuper is a writer and comedian who has a deep love/hate relationship with all things pop culture. He’s sarcastic, witty, often times neurotic, and Jay Z may or may not be his biological father. Read his tweets and occasional tumbls. This is his first Broken Spork post.

Want to watch Parks and Rec right now? To the Netflix Machine!


One Comment on “You’re Still Not Watching Parks and Rec?”

  1. This is the right show to praise. I’m glad you clarified the Arrested Development shout out, but I have to disagree with you on the cast ensemble comparison. Yes, Parks and Rec does have a great cast but I don’t think any show will compare to Arrested for awhile, Especially when you look at the guest stars that were thrown in, and it was throughout the series not just at the end of a show such as The Office (I know it is still on air). It is sad though to see these great comedies be threaten or are taken off air, and it is also ridiculous that comedies like Whitney still go on. Let me throw you this question, do you think NBC in this situation set up Parks and Rec against Big Bang so that it could fail or because Parks and Rec is the best comedy weapon they have?

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