PARKS AND RECREATION: 1.01 “The Pilot”
I should preface my post with saying that I went into this show with a negative attitude. I really wasn’t enthusiastic about it. I just felt like it was another Office, and to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Amy Poehler.
I’m not saying I don’t like Amy Poehler, but I’m not a huge fan like many others out there.
But my lackluster attitude was greeted with a lackluster show. I should mention that I broke my usual rules and actually read a review before it aired, so I knew a little of what to expect. And they were dead on.
Basically, it’s The Office with less funny. I find that one of the weakest characters that can be made in television is the “pissed off guy.” You know that character that’s just mean and angry but you never find out why? It’s a one-dimensional guy, and you’re just supposed to accept that he’s just always pissed off. And he’s funny that way. Or a major obstacle that way.
An example of a pissed off guy that comes to mind is Gene from Life on Mars. He’s just pissed off. And it’s funny and serious at the same time. Of course, as the show went on. you found out that he had more dimension. But that’s why there was weakness at the beginning of the series. He was just playing the pissed off guy.
I’m not saying that Tom in Parks and Recreation is completely the pissed off guy, but he’s pretty close. He has no levels. He’s just there and bored and rather mean. He’s irritated that he gets put on different tasks. He’s a pissed off version of Jim from The Office. But see, we knew why Jim was bored–or at least he had quips about it. We’ve got nothing here.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider him pissed off except that he’s placed next to Amy Poehler, who’s the happiest person on earth. And I don’t mind watching her, if it felt like she had more material to work with.
Not that the plot was bad. I think that they found a decent plot for this show. I’ve heard people wonder if it can last that long, though, with this plot. I think it eventually can. If you’ve ever seen any public repair projects, there are always problems and delays (hell, I’m from the city of the Big Dig). So it can go on, but will it grow stale?
And what about Rashida Jones? I enjoyed her in the show, though she seemed rather flatline. I mean, we’ve seen her in other movies and TV shows, and we know she has some sort of range. Again, I think it comes back to weak material. There was nothing that really grabbed me about her. And honestly, she said she’s a nurse, and the only reason they gave you to believe that is because she wore scrubs once. I mean, for someone who is basically a caretaker of someone with two broken legs, you’d think that’d be brought up.
And what about her boyfriend–he’s the typical jerk, another weak character in TV. I can’t imagine why such a beautiful girl is with such a jerk. It’s not the same dynamic as Pam and Roy. I mean, Pam’s attractive, but she’s shy. And at times, you could see a soft side to Roy–or at least believe that if they were engaged for three years, maybe the shine has worn off but they’re comfortable. But they had a townie feel and you believed it. I didn’t believe Rashida’s relationship.
The highlight of the episode was seeing Loudon Wainwright III’s cameo. If he appears in every episode, I’ll keep watching. But I don’t think we’re that lucky.