A Noteworthy Binge: Parks and Recreation

We know what you’ve been searching for. A sitcom that’s funny and ultimately optimistic; a show that doesn’t build on traditional stereotypes; an intelligent commentary on the flaws of the modern political system; a comedy that focuses on the average lives of a few small-scale government employees.

“Parks and Recreation” is a show about friends, politics, love and how to balance it all. The show fights to stay lighthearted and uplifting while emphasizing the importance of growing, challenging and loving those around you.

As the show’s lead character, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) puts it, “Friends, waffles, work or maybe waffles, friends, work but all I know is work comes last.”

“Parks and Recreation” easily connects to the audience because the show is filmed in a “mocumentary” style. Characters are followed by the camera and viewers see things the characters believe to be secret or private. The film style gives personalized interviews to the audience which allow the viewer to believe each of these characters is speaking directly to them about the “Parks and Recreation” experience.

The show features a variety of characters who are each different in every way.

Leslie Knope is the head of the Parks and Recreation Department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. She is loving, passionate and an idealistically strong woman. As the leading lady in a city government predominately filled with men, she is surrounded by her best friend Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), and coworkers Donna Meagle (Retta) and April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza). Each of these women are well rounded and fit a wide range of emotion.

None of these female characters play the damsel in distress and are fiercely independent.

Along with creating memorable female characters, “Parks and Recreation” is diverse in their cast of characters. Donna is a black woman, who enjoys every part of life and isn’t afraid to reach for it. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is an Indian man who believes designer is life and although unconventional in his ways, makes for a promising and hilarious young entrepreneur. Strong willed and loyal Ann Perkins is biracial, and the notoriously unhappy April Ludgate is hispanic.

The portrayals of women and minorities  in this show gives viewers of many backgrounds fitting role models to look up to.

Another interesting facet in “Parks and Recreation” is the emphasis on the town all while the show is focused on the Parks and Recreation department and the town government. Audiences meet the unique citizens of Pawnee, Indiana and get to know their problems. When Knope isn’t fighting for the youth population’s ability to play outdoors, the town’s frightening love for slushies and burgers or running her campaign, she is fighting for the everyday needs of Pawnee.

Like in life, each of the characters fight for their dreams and their ability to find love, friendship and success. April Ludgate, Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and Tom Haverford, the department’s resident young people, struggle with their dreams. Leslie Knope struggles to do what’s best for her town when they fight her each step of the way and Ann Perkins struggles to find her identity outside of a relationship.

Their situations and stories are fascinating because they are honest and ring to true to reality.

Only the first six seasons of “Parks and Recreation” are available on Netflix, but the last season can be found on Hulu. If you enjoy “The Office” and “Arrested Development” you may enjoy “Parks and Recreation.”

Starring: Amy Poehler, Audrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Retta, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Jim O’Heir, Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones.