tv meme, day 2: a show that you wish more people were watching
The true crime in television-viewing tendencies is when a truly well-written, delightful show gets overwhelmingly overlooked by audiences in favor of procedurals, crappy reality television, and sub-par pseudo-sitcoms. Case in point, Parks and Recreation, the seeming black sheep of the Must See TV Thursday line-up.
How a comedy such as this averages such low viewership and somehow, it being the strongest of the comedy block of late, manages to be the lowest-rated of the NBC Thursday series is beyond me. If you’re still doubting the show’s merit after its critically rocky beginnings last spring, look no further than season 2. If you want an education in just how great this show can be, watch the hunting trip episode immediately, and you’ll see the appeal. For starters, it has a surprisingly strong cast. Amy Poehler took what could have been an SNL-like, one-note caricature of a person and turned Leslie Knope into a fully-realized, complicated woman who struggles with relationships, her unyielding ethics, and her trouble finding a place in a man’s world. Along with her is a troupe of talented comedians, surprisingly led in hilarity by Everwood alum Chris Pratt. You’d never guess he’d become the show’s secret weapon.
And much like The Office before it, the secondary characters become pivotal parts of the comedy cog. Take Retta’s Donna or Jim O’Heir’s Jerry – two minor characters who are just as likely to reign supreme in any given episode as their more famous co-stars. Think of them as the Kelly Kapoor and Andy Bernard of Parks and Rec. And then there’s the deadpan genius of Aubrey Plaza and Nick Offerman, who’ve taken roles that could be a breeze to play and made them both relatable and fun. But the real thanks should go to Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the creators of the show, for bringing us this hidden gem. Now if everyone would just go up the viewer count, maybe we could get a few more seasons out of this thing!