Parks And Recreation: Season Two - Review

There seems to be a common trajectory for the Parks And Recreation viewer. You watch the first season and think "Okay, interesting, but kinda sad and not always that funny". But the cast/characters are endearing, so you give the second season a chance and, you know what, everything seems more efficient and the joke ratio has jumped up.

And by the time you've seen the whole of year two, Parks And Recreation is amazing, you love almost everyone on it, long may it continue. It's a show that's just uplifting in the way few other things are. That is the standard pattern - now, let's all watch me stick rigidly to it.

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Pawnee - Happiness Capital Of America?

Of course, we're way behind the US still, they've just finished season five, but I'm comforted to hear the quality seems to keep up: they haven't yet managed to let it go stale or fire the main creative. So, season two: Leslie Knope 2.0, now merely overkeen and awkward rather than flat-out incompetent, tries to make the world a better place. Other characters do comedy in the background, largely in the soapy relationship area.

The quota of lovable characters in Parks And Recreation is amazing: most sitcoms only manage one or two this good, but this series has five or six, all vying for screentime and best lines. Everyone is good natured, or rather, everyone who isn't ultimately good natured is a cartoon and can be ignored. Boss Ron Swanson is the ultimate lovable curmudgeon, and after just this season, I can see how this cult following has sprung up around him on the internet.

And then bloody Rob Lowe joins at the end, which sets my West Wing-loving heart all a-flutter. Even better, he is apparently sticking around, and his character Chris Traeger could be yet another scene-stealer. Adam Scott's Ben also shows promise, although in a more serious-character and less pure-comedy way.

Brief Obligatory Nit-Pick

Indeed, the bulk of the ensemble is so good, any less interesting characters do show through, and you can see why Mark leaves at the end of the season - he doesn't really get a lot to do this year. To be honest, Ann seems a bit of a spare part at times too, but hopefully they'll find her a gig in season three. She often ends up bemused straight woman to all these funny weirdos, which is a thankless role at times, but I guess someone had to do it.

But to be honest, the above is the sort of criticism you only produce if you're writing a blog review and think "Hm, well, I should really say something that isn't gushing". Parks And Recreation is a great, intelligent, joyous show, the best US sitcom I've started since 30 Rock, so if you were put off by the slightly ropey first season, do give the second a chance. I think that more or less covers it.

Parks And Recreation has just finished. A few more bits and clips on the BBC official site, a few of the tail-end episodes might be up on iPlayer if you want to give it a quick sample.

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