Head to Head: The Office vs. Parks and Recreation
October 20, 2015
Parks and Rec Wrecking the Competition
If you hear the name Steve Carell, there is a very good chance you know who that is. And a television show he was in? Yeah that’s right “The Office.” Now name another character in The Office’s real name. This one is a little harder.
My point of testing your sitcom wits is to make a point. A ton of people knew who Steve Carell was before his iconic role in the “The Office.” But before the show “Parks and Recreation”, did you have any idea who Amy Poehler was?
For those who don’t know what “Parks and Recreation” is about, it takes place in the quaint little town known as Pawnee, Indiana. The show follows Leslie Knope through her struggle as the head of the parks and recreation department of Pawnee. So just like “The Office”, the majority of the show takes place at work. But, what makes “Parks and Recreation” so much better than “The Office” is its depth.
Yes I did just describe a situational comedy as deep. Now hear me out. In “The Office”, most of the show takes place in the office which makes perfect sense but that gets boring! Yes, they make an occasional trip to Chili’s for the annual Dundee’s but that’s once a year. In “Parks and Recreation”, the work place is simply a base line. Knope constantly reiterates her love for the city of Pawnee and it is shown throughout all the places they visit in the show.
I only have praise for Amy Poehler and her role in “Parks and Recreation.” However, there was one character that had me team “Parks and Rec” since day one. The one and only Tom Haverford. Haverford is played by comedian Aziz Ansari. Haverford is a reluctant member of the parks and recreation department who finds his true love in entrepreneurship and money. Although I hate to use this analogy, he’s practically Dwight 2.0.
“The Office” is great but the constant office setting can sometimes get excessive. Parks and Rec has you on the edge of your seat wondering where in Pawnee they’ll be setting their show. To be completely honest, “The Office” and “Parks Recreation” are very similar. But, “Parks and Recreation” shows much more creativity whether it be Ron Swanson becoming a scout leader or Tom Haverford starting one of his ridiculous businesses. It always comes back to the great theme of Leslie Knope’s love for Pawnee.
‘Office’-ially The Best Comedy
Ever since the comedy television show The Office appeared on the scene, it has become a smash hit among people around the United States.
The reason that The Office rises above Parks and Rec for me is because the show touches on both sides of comedy and sadness, adding a mixture of laughter and tears to my experience. And I am not the only one.
“The Office is a god-like comedy show, straight from the heavens, as if scripted by Jesus himself,” juniors Dan Jewell and Ben Murray said.
Parks and Rec is funny and somewhat original, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it copied some of the jokes from people like Jim Halpert and Michael Scott, two of the best characters from The Office. Watching the two shows back to back led me to believe that Parks and Rec was almost another branch of Dunder-Mifflin and the humor in Parks and Rec was just dry and had no feeling behind it because I had already heard most of the jokes and seen the pranks in The Office, making me want to return to the laughter of The Office.
Also pushing The Office into the lead over Parks and Rec is the pure originality. It has a feel that other shows just do not possess and everything is funny, even today. Seeing Kevin walk into the building with a giant pot of homemade chili and dropping it all over the floor before anyone else even arrives it hilarious, even when he starts to pick up the chili with a phone book. Laughing at this show will happen, and it will leave you wanting more.
Honestly, arguing about this show should have ended when The Office first aired, it’s just that good. Think about it. Watching Michael and Dwight’s endless pranks on the other characters makes you laugh, but when Michael moves to Colorado to live with Holly, you feel remorseful because that special relationship has ended. Because it was so original and funny, it seems everything nowadays copies the jokes and pranks that first came from it. Also the balance between laughs and tears brings a better flow to the show. You find yourself tearing up at the end of the ninth season, because you do not want to let go of the fantastic characters after enjoying them for long.
These two shows are different from regular television, but one has more charisma than the other. The Office has a better flow, is much more of a laugh, and touches on humor and sadness.
Unfortunately, both of these shows ended two years apart, 2013 (The Office) and 2015 (Parks and Rec) but they live on through programs like Netflix and the legacy of their loyal fans.