Parks And Recreation - Season One
If you've been online (and reading this piece suggests you sometimes are), you may have heard of Parks And Recreation, a US sitcom that starts tonight on BBC Four. Yes, they're finally getting back into the US import game, after taking a while to recover from Mad Men dumping them for Sky Atlantic. It's a culty American comedy, well reviewed and medium rated, and those US sitcoms never seem to get a terrestrial broadcast in the UK.
Hell, it's similar in style to the US version of The Office, and even that hasn't taken off on any channel - despite the obvious reference point for British people. So, Parks And Rec starts on BBC Four tonight with a double-bill - should you give this a chance?
Don't Believe The Internet, It LiesP&R is an odd show because it's now on its fifth season in the states, and the consensus seems to be that the early episodes are a little weak, but stick with it, because it gets much better. The first season, in particular, gets a lot of bad press, but it's only six episodes long, so I decided to tough my way through it in the hope that it would set me up for the later, allegedly-awesome episodes.
Having set myself to Internet Cynic mode, I went through the entire first season and was pleasantly surprised. No, it isn't an amazing wonder-show, but having prepared for awful, it's actually quite fun. Maybe not great - the first four of the six, in particular, raise the occasional chuckle rather than any big laughs.
Still, it's endearing, short enough to not be boring, and I can see how it could become great. Supporting character Ron Swanson practically has "I WILL TAKE ALL THE BEST LINES AND BECOME A CULT ICON" stamped on his moustache, and the last two episodes are actually really good. Not just gentle smirks raised, but real big laughs from good jokes.
Follow Actors Blindly, They Never Disappoint YouNot to mention, I hear Rob Lowe (yes, Sam from The West Wing) joins the cast later, and the idea of him in a regular sitcom role sounds amazing. I'd probably stick it out just for that, but yeah, there's promise here too. Lead character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is particularly endearing, even if she never quite succeeds at anything.
For now, though, this is an odd review. Parks And Recreation season 1 starts on BBC Four tonight, it's occasionally really good, later seasons are apparently more consistent. If you don't watch it now, you'll probably end up going back and doing so anyway. Give it a go, there's hardly anything else on, and it's still better than a lot of the alternatives.
Parks And Recreation starts at 10PM on BBC Four tonight. Will it appear on iPlayer? Hopefully.