Friday, October 9, 2009

Why I Like Parks & Rec More Than The Office


Okay, so here's how it goes. First I watched the British The Office, which I absolutely loved; then I decided to give the American The Office a chance, and at first I hated it, but as it slowly started to take a different course than the BBC version, I started liking it, but I've been feeling less and less compelled by it over the past couple of seasons. Last season, I gave Parks and Recreation a chance, and at first I wasn't sure about it, but I'm glad I kept watching because I freaking love this show now.

The thing is though, at first, Parks & Rec seemed so much like The Office that I was sure it would also fall into the path of suck, but it didn't, and I think I know why.

Stuff to consider about The Office:

-Originally the most compelling thing about the show was the super touching relationship between Jim and Pam and getting to be a part of all of those little moments. That was all well and good and really emotional, but now they've got their happy ending. Yes, the reveal of the pregnancy was really nice, and the wedding episode ended up being awesome, but it's not the same type of heart breaking, gut wrenching forbidden love that once existed between these two characters. I'm really happy that they're together, but story wise, I'm a little bored with them now.

-Michael Scott is one of the hardest characters to watch on TV. That has always been the case, but the thing is, eventually he needs to change. I know that this show is supposed to be like real life, and sometimes people who are like him never change and suck their whole life, but as a viewer there's a point where I just don't give a shit anymore. He does these things that are not only awful to watch him do, but they're starting to have a negative effect on the people around him. He's not funny, he's not likable, he's sad and pathetic, and there's only so much of that I can take.

-It used to be that Dwight was a big weirdo and Jim and Pam would mess with him, and that was really funny. But slowly it seems like everyone in the office is becoming a big weirdo, and sometimes they are funny and sometimes not so much. And why did Jim and Pam invite all of them to the wedding? They should know by now how ridiculous these people are, and I know Michael's feelings would be hurt, but IT'S YOUR DAMN WEDDING. Don't invite the painfully weird awkward guy.

So yeah. The reason these things all piss me off so much is because I saw the BBC version first, and they did their shit right.

-First off, it only lasted 2 seasons of 6 episodes each and then there was a big Christmas special at the end. So as for the relationship between Tim and Dawn (Jim and Pam), it was intense. Imagine all those tough moments to watch back in the early days of the American Office and multiply them by ten. And without ruining anything, the love story ended epically. It was amazing. I didn't need to watch them slowly build a life together, cause you could imagine all of that with the little bit of closure that you got.

-David Brent (Michael Scott) was amazingly painful. And you know what, that's okay, because I received a very limited dose of him compared to what I've gotten from Steve Carrell. And in the end, he got to have a little bit of a character arc, so he went out on a good note, as opposed to me hating him.

-And you know how the American Office is shot like a documentary? Well in the British version the show actually aired and their lives were affected accordingly. Imagine if everyone on the American version saw what was happening on those tapes. Things would be much better. Or at least more interesting. (Michael would probably be fired, I mean seriously.)

The British Office was so well done, it makes me have higher expectations for the American one. So it's kind of starting to break my heart a little bit. But I love Parks and Rec, and here's why:

-Leslie Knope is awesome. Yes, she gets herself into some pretty awkward situations, but underneath it all, she's just trying to make people happy and do the right thing. Michael Scott's awkwardness stems from his super self-centeredness. Leslie is sweet and unintentionally funny (which makes her even funnier, as opposed to Michael) and though she's often completely unaware, she still tries to make the best of a situation and sticks to her guns (which I really like the fact that she has thoughts and beliefs, as opposed to just internet-inspired quips). She's often blindly trying to make her town a better place and instead of always putting people off, her naivety actually helps inspire others.

-Everyone else on that show is fucking hilarious. If The Office has turned into 'Jim surrounded by a bunch of Michaels', Parks and Rec is 'Kind-Hearted Michael surrounded by a bunch of Jims'. Even characters who are obnoxious in theory come off totally lovable. Take Tom: he's always hitting on ladies, he wears douchebag-pink shirts and he's always looking for the easy way out. But there's just something about him that's so harmless, it makes him plain funny.

-There's nothing epic that will have the potential to become annoying (i.e. Jim and Pam's love story). We've had Anne and Andy's relationship sort of fizzle, which was sad, and now she's dating Mark, which is neat but I'm not super invested yet, so if it goes south, whatevs. And this thing between Leslie and David is SUPER cute and it makes me really happy, but again, there's no crazy buildup around it so if it doesn't work out, that's okay, and if it does and they are just together and then get married and whatever, that's great, it'll just go with the flow of the show.

Maybe ultimately the difference is, The Office (both versions) is a show about the weirdness of working in an isolated environment, and how things that are very small can become very big because of that, so there's only so much it can do before it's repetitive. But since Parks and Recreation has been set up in a whole town, it doesn't have to rely on the super tense and emotional characters, plots and moments like The Office does.

But I plan to keep watching them both, but I'm much more looking forward to what Parks and Rec has in store.

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