It’s Thursday night -- The Office followed by 30 Rock, ahh, the perfect night to settle down in front of the TV. Hold on. Back it up. The Office followed by Parks & Recreation? Is this another Dateline special where they set up camp in a NJ park area to see what people will do?
Wait a minute. It’s not a park sting. It’s in fact Amy Poehler’s (Baby Mama) return to TV. Phew!! Lucky for them it’s sandwiched between two episodes of The Office topped off with 30 Rock. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey in the same hour, who can beat that?
Now that that’s settled. Here’s the run down of the series premiere:
You won’t be surprised to hear the latest addition to the you-can-do-no-wrong Thursday line-up is made by the same people behind The Office.
At first glance, the show feels like just that, The Office, but with parks. And booze. Any primetime show that starts off with “Miss Knope?! There’s a drunk stuck in the slide,” definitely has potential in our book.
Who’s Knope? Well, the female equivalent of Michael Scott played by Poehler. She is a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana whose overzealous, go get ‘em attitude simultaneously annoys and impresses her peers and unfortunate onlookers.
She’s awkward, talks to the camera and mixes overused clichés like, “If you can’t take it in the locker room … then you have to, umm, leave. Yep, you gotta leave.”
Apparently she’s also the office entertainment getting plastered at work celebrations, makes out with the water guy, solves crimes … well, the last one because she was dressed as Bat Man, not Bat Girl, for Halloween. Duh!
In the pilot episode Knope runs a community complaint session where we meet Rashida Jones’s (I Love You, Man) character, Anne Perkins, who is upset by a vacant lot that’s wasting space and has a dangerous pit in which her deadbeat boyfriend fell and broke both of his legs.
In attempt to appease Perkin’s complaint, Knope not only promises, but pinky promises, to fix up the lot, making it safe by erecting a park.
As Knope puts it, “This could be my Hoover Dam.”
She’s told to give up on her dream of setting up a new park -- which sounds vaguely familiar to Michael Scott’s newfound dream of creating his own paper company -- by her begrudging supervisor Ron Swanson played by Nick Offerman (Sin City).
Knope’s negotiating skills are awful as she tries to use reverse psychology telling her boss, “I don’t think I even want the park anymore?” but then two minutes later is hanging parks drawn on post-it notes in his office window. Emm, rule number one in negotiating … you gotta stick to your guns.
When in doubt, if you don’t get your way…black mail! An unlikely ally surfaces when her burnt out office mate Mark Brendanawicz, played by Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl), appears to have something on Swanson and says, “You owe me one.”
Apparently he’s willing to “cash in” his one free move to help out Knope.
Knope, fitted with a hard hat, heads to the pit on a fact finding mission with Perkins and her sabotaging right hand man Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari (Observe and Report). Even though Knope falling into the pit was expected it was still a laugh out loud moment watching Amy Poehler[‘s stunt double] tumble into the pit head over heels.
Best Line of the Night: “Good thing I was wearing that hard hat.” “Yeah, but it fell off.”
Even better is when she’s called out at work for wearing a travel pillow around her neck instead of a medical brace.
Perkins is completely committed to this project of giving the pit a makeover even if it takes two months. Woah, dedication!
Knope and the gang celebrate in the office with champagne after finally getting approval to move forward with the parks project. Yep, there was standing on chairs.
There’s already a hint of romance between Knope and Brendanawicz … which we know because Knope is more than willing to discuss her love life and conquests … we’re cheering for this grown up underdog. We shall see how this plays out!