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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

We are all a 'Parks and Recreation' character

Simply put, “Parks and Recreation” (2009 - 2015) is the best television show available on Netflix right now. Nicknamed "Parks and Rec" by its adoring fans, this sitcom centers on the local parks department of the fictional Pawneee, Indiana. Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope, deputy director of the Pawnee Parks Department. The best part about watching local government take place in Pawnee is that everyone in the town thinks it is the most important aspect of their lives. In season four, Leslie runs against Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) -- a rich guy with no brains -- for a spot on the city council, and the two have a heated race that more closely resembles a presidential race than a small town election. However, the writers of the show actually researched local California politics when creating the show, so it is quite possible that this portrayal is more accurate than not.

The best part of “Parks and Rec” is not the politics but the people who work in city hall. With Leslie as their leader, this motley crew becomes a family over the course of the show’s seven seasons with characters such as Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), the entrepreneur; April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), the sullen intern turned employee; Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), the government-hating boss; and many others. What makes this show so great is that these characters start to feel like that they are a part on your own life and family. Their dreams are your dreams, their failings your failings and their hopes your hopes. This feeling is amplified by the multidimensional nature of each character. Leslie, for example, was portrayed as being a little ditzy in season one. As the seasons and episodes went by, Leslie surprised viewers with how smart and driven she was, as well as with her emotional involvement and caring attitude toward all.

Without even seeing the show, you are probably now wondering, “Is this show actually funny?” Honestly, “Parks and Rec” really is one of the funniest shows available on Netflix right now, and its combination of politics and character-driven plot makes the show’s numerous episodes a true pleasure to binge watch. In fact, the characters of “Parks and Rec” come together in many episodes to create hilarious plot lines that expand over months with a specific focus on relationships. The show’s binge-watching appeal is enhanced by inside jokes and secrets that lead the audience to believe they are sharing moments with certain characters and not with the rest of the government staff. For example, in one funny recurring plot line, Ron secretly moonlights as a jazz musician called Duke Silver. Through my binge-watching, I have found that having an overarching plot is really important for a show because it gives the viewer a reason to stay tuned for the next episode. “Parks and Rec” does this really well, especially with the previously mentioned race for city council between Leslie and Bobby. That story is easy to follow over successive episodes and successful in getting the viewer to become invested in every little part of the race.

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