I’ve never been a fan of Parks and Recreation. I tuned in for a good part of the first season, and I just found it forced and unfunny. I felt that Amy Poehler wasn’t nearly as cute as she thought she was, and it was a waste of a role for a talent like Rashida Jones. I just wasn’t a fan.
Sometime last season, I heard rumblings that the show got better. Well, I was still skeptical, and since I’m rather stubborn when it comes to TV sometimes, I still didn’t watch. After all, I’m a fan of Whedon. I supported Southland and Life Unexpected. I know how cult followings work. That’s what I thought it was.
But after watching Party Down, one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time (and one of the most painful cancellations), I started putting my faith in a man named Adam Scott. And hearing he was on Parks and Recreation, well, that was enough for me to put my hardheaded side aside and actually give it a shot.
Fortunately, nothing was really competing with it at 9:30 last night.
Anyway, I was less thrilled with Rob Lowe. I’ve seen him in a lot and never a comedy, and I also know that as an actor, he can get a little twitchy if he feels he’s underutilized (Brothers and Sisters, anyone?). But he’s decent, so I figured I’d just see what he could do.
Well, consider this my moment to tell you that the fans were right and I was wrong. The show has vastly improved (mainly because it has a plot that’s a lot more interesting than filling a hole in the ground), and the characters are actually entertaining (with the exception of Tom, played by Aziz Ansari, who is still very annoying, despite how I enjoyed his appearance in Scrubs). Most of all, Scott and Lowe were a dynamite team together. Ok, dynamite is overstating, but they were enjoyable.
Let’s start with Lowe, who was a bright and cheery spot in the show — in more ways than one. What was I expecting? Well, his typical character. The serious, but charming, political guy that we saw in West Wing and Brothers and Sisters. Personally, I was very entertained by how excited he was by everything. Sure, it was a character I’d seen in sitcoms before (I think Phoebe dated someone like him in Friends, played by Alec Baldwin), but it was still refreshing in a show that hadn’t impressed me before.
As for Adam Scott, well, he hasn’t shown his most wonderful true colors yet, though he is playing a great straightman against Lowe’s over-excited character. I’m still waiting for his jarring sarcasm to come through, and I think Parks and Rec does provide a platform for that. As for whether he’ll be a love interest for Poehler, as they advertised when he joined the show, well, I’m not as invested in that (if it hasn’t already been hinted at last season), but I’ll wait and see.
All this to say, I think Parks and Rec has changed my mind. Sure, it took two new cast members to do it (no one else is really impressing me, and Jones herself is still just a straightman to utter ridiculousness), but it’s turned itself around. Will I watch next week? I won’t make any promises, but there’s a good chance I will.