Let’s talk about obesity
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 00:10
“Parks and Recreation” is already showing signs of having a promising fifth season with no intentions of slowing down. Although it was first pooh-poohed for being too similar to “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” has only sought to differentiate itself from its predecessor. While everyone seems to loathe working in Dunder-Mifflin, Leslie Knope and her band of quasi-misanthropes and earnest friends seem to enjoy being a part of the parks and recreation department, and ultimately come together when one of them is under duress.
The second episode depicts Leslie and her best friend Ann Perkins, played by Amy Poehler and the beautiful Rashida Jones, debating whether or not to pass a soda tax. It has been mentioned before that their town of Pawnee is “third in obesity,” a marvel that may be attributed to the fact that the serving cups for their sodas, are, in fact, humongous. During the meeting, the Pawnee Restaurant Association mentions that they have a ‘child size’ cup that is 512 ounces because “it’s roughly the size of a two-year-old child, if that child were liquefied.” In the background of this, Andy Dwyer, Tom Haverford, and Chris Traeger, played by Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, and Rob Lowe respectively, are helping Andy train for the police academy in hopes that he will be able to have a better life for himself and his wife April. This could avoid many heinous things they’ve had to do in the past, such as eating diner off Frisbees and treating the live wire in their shower as a “fun game.”
Meanwhile, Ben Wyatt and April Ludgate are in the nation’s capital. The interns don’t respect Ben at all and view him as being too uptight, while April does no work at all and disinterestedly watches the interns torment him. Ben does a complete 180 to get the interns to like him, while Leslie anxiously wonders how she should vote. If she votes for her soda tax, then there will be layoffs. If she doesn’t, obesity and diabetes rates will continue to rise and it will seem like she doesn’t support her own tax.
In conclusion, Parks and Rec has come back to NBC with a bang. Amy Poehler continues to shine as Councilwoman Leslie Knope, with a quirkiness that launches her from the miserable Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope and into a spectacularly odd, yet comedically significant character. Her and Ben’s romance has not grown stale, unlike Jim and Pam’s in The Office, and has clearly profited from the slow build that the writers favored. Leslie’s relationship with her co-workers has also grown, instead of falling by the wayside. This is a system that allows them all to have to their own storylines as well instead of the show being solely focused on Ben and Leslie. Parks and Recreation is the definition of the happy medium of workplace comedies: there is a balance between romance and jokes, with enough layering of realism and the fantastical to keep the audience watching avidly.