Parks and Recreation Commentary on US Government

by Emooly (Henry M. Gunn High School) on 2016-02-22 13:50:48 PDT
Although NBC mockumentary "Parks and Recreation" is frequently praised as the workplace sitcom featuring standup queen Amy Poehler, it actually contains a subtle subtext to the political struggles of American government.
The television show is set in the parks and recreation department of fictional Midwest town, of Pawnee, Indiana. A point of political criticism in the series heavily revolves around the miscommunication between officers in government. While councilwoman Leslie Knope, the protagonist of the franchise, is exceptionally dedicated to her work, not everyone in the office share the same enthusiastic attitude.
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On March 18th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, "Parks and Recreation" co-creator Michael Schur explained the rationale behind the development of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson as foil characters: “In very broad strokes, Republicans and Democrats in this country simply don’t talk to each other and they don’t try to fix problems. The sort of cynicism of government, I think in my opinion, is worse than it‘s ever been. And we just wanted to say one guy could have a set of extremely fervent beliefs that run completely counter to the beliefs of his coworker and they can still just get along and respect each other and admire each other and find things in common and they can sit down and have a glass of whiskey together at the end of a long night."
Not only is "Parks and Recreation" critically acclaimed for its interesting storyline and character dynamic, it is also distinguishable from other television shows for its "jump cut" edits of each character having multiple reactions toward a specific situation. This quality of the show was adopted when editor Dean Holland experimented with some of Poehler's improvised responses to previously written jokes.
"I feel like our episodes are all about frequency," said Chris Pratt, the actor for goofy klutz Andy Dwyer. "Twenty one and a half minutes for a comedy is not a lot of time, especially when we have not only an A story, not only a B story, but sometimes a C story. We have a lot of story to be told, which means you have to get in and out with our jokes."
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Furthermore, the show features a multitude of hilarious guest star appearances, such as
Megan Mullally -- Offerman’s wife, who plays his character, Ron Swanson’s ex. However, it is comedian Patton Oswalt’s improvisation of an almost 10-minute speech on the next “Star Wars” film.
“So where did Lea go? She is not gone, but we will find out --” his character rambled until he was cut off by Leslie Knope: “The female part is a little underwritten here, sir, I’d like to point that out!”
Not only does Oswalt’s tirade highlight the unproductive quality of prolonged filibusters that progress in legislative assemblies while not technically contravening the required procedures, Knope’s interruption also underscores the much-needed female representation in political leadership.
Ultimately, “Parks and Recreation” should not be dismissed as an above average situational comedy, as it contains a lot of meaningful commentary on the political temperature of US government.

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