Parks and Recreation: The show that’s adored by pretty much all of Tumblr. If you’ve spent any time on the site, you’ll know that it’s all about the important things in life: friends, work, and obviously waffles.
In A Nutshell
The series centres around the Parks and Recreation Department – a government branch – in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The parks employees are generally uninterested and unmotivated. However, they’re reluctantly rallied together by their enthusiastic deputy director Leslie Knope. It is under Leslie’s guidance that this motley crew tackles various projects and learns how to work together as a team.
Meet the Characters
Leslie is a classic Type A personality: impeccably organised and relentlessly determined. However, these traits also make her a great friend. Whether its throwing a birthday party or planning a fundraiser, Leslie always strives to do her best for others. And these efforts don’t go unrewarded, as she eventually inspires a positive change in her co-workers.
Ann gets involved with the parks department through one of their projects – to turn a dirt pit into a park. She and Leslie become fast friends, although Ann’s job as a nurse means they can’t see each other as often as they’d like. Thoughtful and pragmatic, Ann acts as the voice of reason when Leslie’s schemes get out of hand.
Ron presides over the department with a stern but fair reign. He also holds strong anti-government views and often attempts to shut down parks projects. As a result, he and Leslie clash in their opinions; the one thing binding them together is their shared love for breakfast foods. Ron is something of an enigma due to his reserved nature, but he becomes more open as the series progresses.
Tom is an avid consumer of youth culture. He takes pride in his appearance and is obsessed with cultivating his reputation. He generally lacks a work ethic but will put in the effort for things that he is passionate about. Despite his self-serving tendencies, Tom never fails to lend a helping hand when the parks gang is in need.
April is the department’s apathetic college intern. April initially cares very little about her job or her co-workers (which makes her the perfect employee in Ron’s eyes). She later grows comfortable showing affection towards those she considers her close friends.
Andy is a musician and Ann’s live-in boyfriend. He spends most of his time on the couch due to breaking both of his legs after falling into the dirt pit beside her house. Andy’s playfulness and childlike curiosity provide many of the show’s funniest moments.
Donna is the most worldly of her co-workers as she often vacations to exotic (and expensive) locales. Many of the characters turn to her for advice, which she happily gives out. She has a keen eye for fashion, and is a good friend of Tom’s due to their similar personalities.
Jerry’s bumbling nature makes him an easy target for his co-workers, and as such he is the victim of many office pranks. Although he is treated poorly, he remains kind and friendly at heart.
You’ve probably heard about other characters such as Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger, but I haven’t listed them here since they join the show in the later seasons.
A Brief History of Parks and Recreation: The When, Where, and How
Parks and Recreation is an American political sitcom that aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015. It was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who had previously worked together on another NBC show; The Office. In order to make the plot believable, the creators researched California politics as well as consulting with elected officials.
The series has received numerous accolades including a TCA for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. Amy Poehler was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards (one of which she won) for her performance as Leslie Knope.
Why It’s Awesome
Parks and Recreation is hugely successful because it appeals to many different types of people. Whether you’re watching with your parents, your friends, or your younger siblings, they’re sure to find something entertaining about it. The show also offers a unique brand of witty humour that will make you think deeply as well as laugh out loud.
The series has influenced a whole cultural movement – at least on the internet. We have Parks and Rec to thank for the entire concept of ‘treat yo self’. Besides that, there are some great messages of female empowerment advocated through Galentine’s Day (a Valentine’s Day for your best girl friends) as well as Leslie Knope’s own personal code: ‘hoes before bros; uteruses before duderuses; ovaries before brovaries’. The fact that these things have been so popularised is evidence enough that the show is pretty damn awesome.
But the best thing about it by far is that the writers actually respected the characters and didn’t mess with their storylines simply for shock effect. The planning that went into the show is evident just from watching a few episodes; every plot development and character arc makes sense, so you’re never left feeling short-changed. Even the series finale is perfectly executed, which is no easy feat. After its seven-season run, Parks and Recreation leaves you with nothing but nostalgia and feel-good vibes (and, of course, a desire to watch it all again).