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February 14, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

Amy Poehler Stars in "Parks and Recreation"

What at first looked to be a lame copycat of NBC’s hit comedy, “The Office,” back in 2009 has now become one of the most endearing and enduring comedies on television right now.

My inspiration for this post on the mockumentary series “Parks and Recreation” came from Entertainment Weekly’s most recent cover featuring the show’s cast — minus one character.  Where is Adam Scott, you ask? Here’s the magazine’s humorous explanation, with the reason from the actor himself.  Everything Entertainment Weekly says about the show, I just couldn’t agree with more.

Entertainment Weekly's Parks and Rec Cover

101 reasons to love “Parks and Recreation,” you say? I could keep going from there.  Allow me to explain why…

Following Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her co-workers in the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana’s local government is a sheer, good-natured delight.  The show did get off to a rocky start finding its own identity in season one; Leslie Knope was much too like a female version of Michael Scott of “The Office” — bumbling and socially incompetent.

Entering season two, however, the show came into its own as Leslie went from clueless copy to a dominating woman striving for excellence in her career.  She still may be naive at times, but more often than not it comes from her caring too much about her job.

The supporting cast became more full-fledged as well: Rashida Jones’ Ann is Leslie’s sweet and charming best friend, Aziz Ansari is cocky, self-indulgent Tom, Aubrey Plaza plays April, whose blank stares and sarcastic eye rolls never get old, Chris Pratt is child-like, innocent Andy, and — of course — the head of the department, Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson, is a man with a full mustache and a thing for brunettes and breakfast food.  They all are great and could easily hold the show on their own.

Season three, which started a couple weeks ago in a mid-season premiere, is the show hitting its stride.

I think Hitfix’s review of the premiere summed it up best. The premiere opened with Leslie Knope and her fellow hard-working government friends and staffers dealing with tough budget cuts in the small city of Pawnee, therefore threatening the condition of the parks department.  Not only did the premiere introduce two new regulars to the show — two state auditors, Adam Scott’s Ben and Rob Lowe’s hilarious Chris — it also introduced the show’s powerful go-getter attitude.

The show was out of commission between September and January as NBC decided to replace it with their new office comedy, “Outsourced.”  The decision to now air “Parks and Recreation” after “The Office” was a fantastic one on NBC’s part; this show deserves it.

In the premiere when Leslie discusses the endurance of Pawnee, it hit an emotional chord because it relates to the endurance of the show itself.  “Parks and Rec” transformed from an “Office” clone into a show with its very own personality — funny, heartwarming, smart and rewarding.

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