Monday, February 15, 2010

"Parks" Proves the Death of the TV Comedy has been Greatly Exaggerated

It seems like just a few years ago, pundits were predicting that television comedy was dead. These days, nothing could be further from the truth. Though the ratings might not be quite what they were in decades past, NBC's Thursday night comedies are still thriving in a sea of critical acclaim and Emmy awards. The Office and 30 Rock are well established phenoms now (and truthfully a little "off" this season, although still wonderfully watchable).

The biggest surprise in the line-up, and an absolute don't miss is the gem "Parks and Recreation", at 8:30pm on Thursday nights.

At the helm is Saturday Night Live's versatile Amy Poehler. She plays Leslie, an officious little do-gooder who works for the Parks commission in the small town of Pawnee Indiana. The surprise is that even with a job description that makes you want to hammer nails into your kneecaps, she is absolutely adorable in the role. The rest of the cast is an inspiration, including the wonderfully likable and funny Rashida Jones (formerly of The Office), Nick Offerman as the gruff, whiskey swilling politically incorrect boss, and Aziz Ansari as the hapless nerd who pines for a Canadian hottie who married him only so she could get a green card. Aziz is part of the latest trend in TV comedies, where the funniest breakout character is always of Indian descent (see Dani Pudi as Abed on "Community"). There is no end of quirky characters in this series, and not one of them strikes a false note.

This week's episode "Galintine" featured John Larroquette in a guest star roll as the long lost (and most hilariously psychotic) boyfriend of Leslie's mom. I searched in vain for a clip of this or any other episode...they just are no where to be seen on YouTube. I thought NBC was friendlier to online blogging, but I guess they just can't help doing things to tick off viewers these days!


Lisa said...

I agree -- this show is great. And good observation about the rise of the Indian characters -- count Raj on "The Big Bang Theory" as a wonderful example. NBC has it all locked up on Thursday, without a doubt. I used to always say, that the sitcom is dead...until it isn't. Just like any other genre, though I hope that when reality shows die, they will stay dead!

Lisa said...

Me again! NBC may not have their stuff on YouTube but they do offer the episode on their own website:

Unfortunately only viewers in the U.S. can access these easily. Too bad...