Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Better Late Than Never?

I know that I am very late to the party with NBC's Park and Recreation. I know why. When the show first premiered three years ago, I was hating on The Office. I still am, actually. That show hasn't been funny since season three. Anyway, I love Amy Poehler from her days at SNL, but when I first checked out Parks & Rec, I just saw it as Office 2.0 (due to the fake documentary style it is shot in). I made a snap judgment - sucks - and stuck with it. I'm not too big to admit I was wrong.

On a plane last week, I read an article in Entertainment Weekly that detailed the 101 reasons they loved Parks and Recreation. It gave me a lot to work with, reminded me of a few things I had forgotten about the show, and told me some things I didn't know. So, I checked out the first few episodes of season three on Hulu. DAYOM! I am so pissed that I have not been watching this show all along.
Rashida Jones = world's most perfect face
One of the things about the show I had forgotten was Rashida Jones. If Jones is not the world's most attractive woman, than she is among them, for certain. In addition to being exceptionally pretty, she is also very funny. She showed that during her stint on The Office (despite the weak material, she was still able to shine) as Karen, the "other" girlfriend of Jim's. She mostly played the straight man (in comedic terms), but that still requires comic timing and skill. Anyway, on P&R, she plays Ann Perkins, a nurse who is good friends with Amy Poehler's character. In the episodes I saw, she is dating the new character played by Rob Lowe. More on Lowe later. Bottom line on Rashida Jones...I'd watch her sit and read from the phone book if the camera stayed on her face.
The current Park & Recreation cast minus Rob Lowe
The second thing I had forgotten about the show was Aziz Ansari. That dude is hilarious. I wonder if he was on the early episode I saw, because if he had been, I don't think I would have judged it so harshly. I became a fan of the guy after seeing him in Funny People. Though that movie was not funny (on purpose), Ansari stood out while playing his alter-ego Raaaaaaaandy. He even created some web videos of himself as Raaaaaaaandy, and they were better than anything in the movie. His Comedy Central special was great, also. On the show, he plays Tom Haverford. Tom works at the Parks Department with Amy Poehler, and I guess is her assistant or something like that. He tries his hardest to do as little actual work as possible. He's quite good at it.

The rest of the cast is exceptional, too. The boss, Ron Swanson, who is played by Nick Offerman, deserves special mention above everyone else, though. His right-wing libertarian character is so hysterical (especially since, as a libertarian, he hates government, yet works for the government). His assistant April, played by Aubrey Plaza, hates everything and everyone. She is easily the worst assistant ever. Tom tries very hard to keep her as his assistant. I can only imagine why.

Last thing I'd mention is Rob Lowe. Everyone knows who Rob Lowe is, since he's been famous since the 80s. His character, Chris, is new to the show. He is some sort of big shot from the state government. In his brief time in Pawnee, Indiana he has already begun dating Ann (lucky dog), and has snagged April as his assistant (which is odd that people would compete over her since she does nothing). I used to fully dislike Rob Lowe before The West Wing. He was so excellent there that I deleted all my previous opinions of him. His character on P&R is an insanely upbeat guy who seems to make friends with everyone. In real life, I'd hate a guy like that. On television, it's hysterical. In one episode I saw, he takes Ann to a gay bar. Some guys try to pick him up, at which time he explains to them that he is on a date with a woman, but he buys the entire group of guys drinks for being to "welcoming" to him. How fucking weird, eh?

Similarities to The Office aside, Parks and Recreation is now getting the full DVR treatment from me, and will be seen every week. I now look forward to going back and watching the first two seasons and getting caught up.

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