Parks & Recreation: Season 2 begins!

The second season of Parks And Recreation starts tonight on BBC Two, after they powered through the first one in three brief double bills. I did a review of the first season, so I thought I'd watch the available previews of season two (namely the first six episodes) and see if this really is where it gets good.

Well, the first season had its moments, especially the final two episodes, but still, consistent hillarity wasn't quite there yet. How about now?

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She's Now Knope Joke

Many have said to me that the main difference between seasons one and two is the treatment of Leslie Knope. In season one, she really is just useless - so inept, her mum makes fun of her. Her character was not just hamfisted or quirky but utterly incompetent. Season two does make a shift, and it's odd but well-executed - she's still the same character but suddenly able to achieve basic tasks without falling over or running to someone else for help. She has a certain naivety still, but it's portrayed as good-natured belief in the potential of both herself and others, rather than childlike idiocy.

There are also more actual jokes, rather than mere good-natured chuckles - it was shifting this way at the climax of season one, but it's good to see that continued. There's also more willingness to go outright surreal - twists like Andy living in the pit seem out of place in the universe of season one, but the resultant season two world is so much more entertaining and unique that I don't think complaining about consistency is helpful.

No Shit - No Pit!

The cast are good, Ron Swanson continues to seize all the best lines with glee, and gets even better set-ups for it when the silly stuff starts. And the lesser focus on the seemingly endless pit-filling storyline (although it is still there) doesn't hurt either. I'd rather they focus on being funny than on shoving an arc forward in tiny steps.

In short, this is really good stuff. If you didn't watch the first season, or gave up on it, you can probably just jump right in here. Worst case scenario, might be worth watching the pilot if you can get hold of it. Still, a strong beginning, and Rob Lowe hasn't even turned up yet. If it keeps improving and evolving this way, Parks And Recreation could be one of the best comedies on TV.

Parks And Recreation is airing in double-bills on BBC Four - more info on the BBC Official site, and you can see here which episodes are up on iPlayer. The afore-mentioned last two episodes of season one are currently up, they're pretty good.

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