“Parks & Recreation:” friendlier humor, female characters

While “The Office” relies on cringe comedy for its laughs, “Parks & Rec’s” sense of humor is far more affable.

One of the greatest debates of the 20th century is which television comedy is better: “Parks and Recreation” or “The Office.” Both of these comedies are the brainchild of Greg Daniels and Michael Shur, filmed in mockumentary style and feature stellar actors. But “Parks and Rec” is obviously better.

Lasting six seasons, “Parks and Rec” brought us so much to love. Leslie Knope’s passionate love of government, Ron’s hatred of everything but good alcohol and meat, and Chris Pratt before he became Star Lord as the loveable Andy.

“Parks and Rec” uses the cast getting into crazy shenanigans for humor as well as slapstick comedy. This kind of comedy always guarantees laughs. I mean, watching Ron and Leslie slap Councilman Jamm silly to “de-Tammify” him will never not be funny.

On the other hand, “The Office’s” main source of comedy is awkward humor. There are lots of cringeworthy moments. I do not think I can watch an episode of “The Office” without cringing at something Michael says or does. Michael’s whole sense of humor is making fun of people for laughs.

“Parks and Rec” makes fun of people for comedic purposes, but everybody is the butt of the joke instead of singling out certain people (Jerry being the obvious exception). Even April, who begins by hating Ann and constantly making fun of her, comes to genuinely care for her as a friend by the end of the series.

“Parks and Rec” also has a loveable cast of characters that get equal screen time. There are so many pairings and relationships, it is hard to keep track. Leslie and Ben, Leslie and Ron, Leslie and Ann, Ann and Chris, Chris and Ben, Andy and April — the list goes on.

The same cannot be said for “The Office.” There is the quintessential Jim and Pam relationship as well as Jim and Dwight. However, besides them, there is really not a lot going on. Those were the only two plotlines I cared about when I watched the series and would skip through pretty much everything else.

“Parks and Rec” also has strong female characters, led by the ever lovely and hilarious Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope. Leslie Knope is extremely passionate about local government and opinionated. She is genuinely kind to everyone. She cares so much for the people in her life; she is someone I would love to have plan a surprise party for me. Leslie is never afraid to stick to her beliefs and what she believes is right.

The development of the female characters in “The Office” is not quite as strong. Pam has a large role, but her main purpose on the show is Jim’s love interest. The other women on the show are not featured or storylines are as important as some of the male characters.

“Parks and Rec” has so many good qualities, but the thing that sets it apart from “The Office” is the cast is really a big family who loves each other. All of the characters, including Garry/Jerry/Larry, are part of this family and they would do anything for each other. They show this time and time again.

After this article, I am sure you will see reason and realize “Parks and Rec” is so much better than “The Office.” So I give you permission to drop all your homework and extracurricular activities and go right now and “treat yo’ self,” to a “Parks and Rec” marathon.

graphic by Conner Maggio

Post Author: Lizzy Young