‘Parks and Recreation’ to return mid-season

Sarah Choudhary

When NBC recently announced changes to its winter primetime schedule, fans of the critically acclaimed comedy, “Parks and Recreation” rejoiced. When freshman sitcom “Outsourced” was picked up for a full season run, fans of “Parks and Rec” feared their beloved show wouldn’t return. 

The comedy chronicling the happenings of the Parks and Recreation department in a small Indiana town blossomed in its second season and has become one of the best comedies on TV. 

The show debuted in spring 2009 as a solid comedy, but it was clear that improvements could be made. Season 2 of “Parks and Rec” proved that the show had cemented itself as a strong, well-written and brilliantly acted sitcom. Here are just a few reasons to tune in.

1. “Parks and Rec” is better than “The Office” 

Though “The Office” is still the ratings leader on NBC, even the most loyal fans of the show have noticed that their beloved comedy has been flailing in its sixth and seventh seasons.

 When “Parks and Recreation” debuted, it was unfairly described as an “Office” knockoff. Even though both shows are shot in a mockumentary style and led by writer Greg Daniels, who adapted the British version of “The Office,” the similarities end there. “Parks” has less of the awkwardness that made “The Office” so revolutionary. 

While those moments of absurdity and irony used to make audiences laugh out loud, they are now simply cringe-worthy. While “The Office” struggles in its later years, “Parks” grows stronger as it is quickly becoming a comedy classic, with its lighthearted yet witty quirkiness.

2. Amy Poehler as the lovable, earnest Leslie Knope

 While Poehler’s SNL castmate, Tina Fey rules over “30 Rock,” Poehler has proved her comedic prowess as the bumbling yet determined deputy director of the parks department. 

As she fights government red tape and struggles to emulate the women whose pictures hang in her office (Madame Albright, Hillary Clinton), Knope can go from insightful to completely clueless, while never coming off as ridiculous or annoying. 

3. Ron Swanson, director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee

Nick Offerman manages to be a scene stealer, even though his portrayal of the ardent Libertarian trapped in wasteful bureaucracy is brilliantly understated. 

As with the other members of the superb ensemble, subtle and clever idiosyncrasies make Swanson a memorable and hilarious character. 

His bizarrely fierce love of breakfast food and his curmudgeonly demeanor make him a standout in a show filled with well-rounded characters. 

4. Aziz Ansari is Tom Haverford.

 Ansari’s portrayal of the wannabe womanizer Haverford has always been one of the show’s strongest features, and in Season 2, Ansari’s contributions to the show grew, as we learned that he had a green card marriage to a beautiful Canadian woman (way out of his league), so she could stay in the United States. 

Haverford could easily have been a smarmy character, but Ansari manages to balance the hilariously off-putting playboy tendencies of Tom, with the sweetness and devotion Tom has to his boss, Leslie. 

5.The city of Pawnee is unlike any other. 

Though it is sometimes portrayed as an average, Middle American, small town, Pawnee is filled with unique quirks that add depth to the show. 

From its outrageously offensive Town Hall murals, supposedly displaying some of the town’s finest moments, to the wild opossums that roam the parks, Pawnee itself is a character in the show, and in every episode, the audience learns something new about this original town. 

Though the show has received numerous awards nominations and is acclaimed by critics, “Parks and Recreation” has not drawn the large audience it needs to be saved from cancellation. 

The show has lagged behind NBC’s other Thursday night comedy offerings, but with its return in January 2011 and praise for it during its time off the air, there is hope that “Parks and Recreation” will remain on the air for many years to come.