By: Brian Beltran
The American rendition of The Office is the most memorable show in the sitcom genre making Parks and Recreation an afterthought.
Programs like Parks and Recreation have tried mimicking the magic that The Office created, but don’t quite match up.
Steve Carrell’s iconic performance as Michael Scott almost single-handedly shames the gimmicky style of knockoff sitcom, Parks and Recreation. Fans of NBC’s hit show The Office is constantly at war with the fanbase of Parks over which show is better. Only one came first and has had a larger and longer-lasting impact though.
Despite strong performances by Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and other actors on Parks, the show has been criticized for feeling campy and trying too hard to be funny. The comedy in The Office comes naturally, however, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of characters like Scott and Dwight Schrute. NBC was forced to rewrite Parks main character Leslie Knope (played by Poehler) after the show did not bring in the viewers it was expecting. Viewers did not gravitate to her character’s abrasive and overzealous nature, especially when compared to the witty and bold style of Scott.
Both shows are sitcoms created by NBC, so comparisons are inevitable, but which one is more likable? The Office delivers more complex and engaging relationships with characters like Jim and Pam Halpert. Parks’ romantic couples are often shallow or uninteresting. The Halpert’s go through various ups and downs throughout the series that lead to a much more fulfilling payoff when the two of them finally end up together.
The non-romantic bonds are also much stronger in Office as well. Dwight and Jim’s history of back and forth pranks and bickering would indicate that they are not the best of friends. They really have a soft spot for each other though, and that becomes clear when they help each other in times of need. The Parks friends are always happy and campy with each other. There’s hardly any depth to the relationships because everyone differs to Knope’s agenda without much dispute.
The Office is sometimes criticized for going on longer than it should have, but Parks and Recreation are not exempt from this same critique. NBC’s earlier show is more memorable, however, with one of the most heartwarming and satisfying series finales in tv history.