"Parks and Rec" isn't exactly a spin-off of "The Office." However, both shows share the same mockumentary style, some creative team members, and characters with similar world views. But as "The Office" ages, it's clear to see that there are plenty of things that "Parks and Recreation" does better than "The Office." Here are five ways that "Parks" is the superior comedy.
Jim and Pam's highly publicized, hour-long wedding episode had some laughs, but also had a lot of problems. From the tired homage to Chris Brown's "JK" to the distracting and not terribly funny subplots with Michael and Dwight, the episode might have worked better if it was half the length.
By contrast, the understated in-house wedding of April and Andy was sweet and touching, and felt more romantic than the "Office" wedding. The subplots were more engaging as well.
2. The Entrepeneur
"The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" both have characters that define themselves by their business ventures. There's Tom Haverford, who has tried to start everything from entertainment companies to cologne to a successful nightclub. Meanwhile, Ryan has had a hand in Dunder-Mifflin Infinity and WUPHF.
But Ryan's treatment of Kelly makes us not want to see his plans work out, while it's hard not to root for Tom, no matter how wacky his ideas may seem.
3. The Rugged Outsider
Dwight Shrute owns a beet farm. Ron Swanson owns a secluded cabin. Both men are outsiders who look down on the convieniences of modern life with disdain. But while Dwight is most often used as a comedic foil for other characters, Ron Swanson is a more fully-realized character. Both men have ridiculous pursuits (and dietary demands), but Swanson is the superior comedic character.
4. Parental Issues
When it comes to dealing with parental problems, both "The Office" and "Parks and Rec" have had their share of "daddy issues." In "Garden Party," we get to meet Andy's family for the first time, and the staffers overhear Andy's dad saying some pretty awful things to the new boss. But while we see that Andy's desire to please is rooted in his family life, we are more intrigued by the way Leslie Knope reacts to her mother's occasional disdain.
Leslie is always trying to impress her mom, inviting her to public forums and trying to coach boyfriend Ben as to how he should act around Mama Knope. While Marlene is harsh on Leslie, she doe ultimately want to support her because of Leslie's contagious enthusiasm.
5. The Boss
Michael and Andy can sort of be lumped into the same category of TV character. Both are cartoonishly inept, but able to somehow keep the office functioning (although most episodes seem to use the office as more of a backdrop and less as a realistic way to introduce plot.)
By contrast, Leslie Knope is always working on a specific project for the city of Pawnee, and that leadership informs her interactions with her co-workers, and gives each character relatable goals. Her sweet, quirky attitude gets things done much better than the bosses of "The Office," making her a joy to watch every week.
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