Amy Poehler's Parks & Recreation premiered last night. We thought it was pretty good. Detractors' complaint? It's too much like its older bro, The Office. To which we say: Nonsense! They're so totally different.
Sure Greg Daniels created both, and both are mockumentary-style workplace non-laugh-trackers. But the similarities stop there. Observe:
Michael Scott on The Office is a bumbling, self-important man. Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation is a bumbling, self-important lady. Huge comedy differences there. (No, really, there are, but I don't want to get into some sort of Christopher Hitchens debate right now.)
The Office's non-African-American brown character, Kelly, is a total Valley Girl, but also Indian. Parks & Recreation's, Tom, is a self-described redneck who is also... Libyan? (That uncertainty was a joke last night.)
The Office has large-and-only-occasionally-in-charge Stanley and Phyllis. Parks & Recreation has only one full-figured person, an as-yet-unheard-from coworker. She's black, like Stanley, but a lady, like Phyllis! Two birds.
The Rashida Jones
On The Office, Jones played Karen Filippelli, a sassy in a soft sarcastic way paper saleswoman. On Parks & Recreation she plays Ann Perkins, a sassy in a soft sarcastic way nurse. Nurse vs. Paper saleswoman? That's like comparing Mothra and Rodan.
Location, Location, Location
Scranton, PA is a very real-life hell hole of boringness and creeping economic decline. Its name is a joke, but it's a very real place. Joe Biden once killed a man there, just to watch him die. Pawnee, IN—where Parks takes place—is a totally made up town in the southeast section of that boring state, tinged we imagine with creeping economic decline but, because it's fake, not an immediate ha-ha joke. Except, you know, in the usual "Indiana? Heh." kind of way.
But seriously, we actually did like the show. And who cares if they're similar? If one's good, two must be great! Right?