“Parks and Rec”: My All-Time Favorite Comedy
I’ve spent the last month taking the time to re-watch the brilliant NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” from start to finish. The show, which concluded its seven season run in February, truly is one of the greatest comedies I’ve ever seen on TV. For anybody unacquainted with the show, the first 6 seasons are available on Netflix and I’m sure the final season will be on there shortly. I highly recommend you start watching.
This first-hand account from a fan of the show, claiming it helped save her from depression, does a great job explaining what it is that’s so special about “Parks and Rec”. In what’s been dubbed the golden age of television, most of the greatest shows of this current era offer a particularly bleak outlook on humanity. Shows like “Game of Thrones”, “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” often display humankind at its very worst, and the greatness of these shows is heavily tied to the nihilistic worldview they share. Even most of the best modern comedies, shows like “Arrested Development”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Office”, tend to veer towards a more cynical perspective. As much as I like all of these shows, there’s something refreshing about the optimism and sentimentality that “Parks and Rec” is overflowing with.
The other great virtue of “Parks and Rec” is how top to bottom brilliant the entire ensemble is. The cast is extremely talented and nearly every possible combination of characters can lead to hilarious interactions. Perhaps just as funny as the show itself are the gag reels that come at the end of each season. This cast has a gift for improvisation, and it’s hilarious to see the various cast members cracking each other up between takes. It’s clear that they like each other as much as their characters like each other, and that chemistry helps elevate “Parks and Rec” to the next level.
For anyone embarking on the show should be made aware that, like most comedies, it took “Parks and Rec” some time to find its voice and become the great show it eventually did. It’s agreed by most fans (myself included) that the first season is mostly a dud but that the show immediately picks up from the beginning of the second season. Having re-watched the entire series again recently, I can say with absolute certainty that this is my favorite comedy of all time and quite possibly my favorite TV show, period.