Quick spoilers for last night's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I throw a Scrabble game...
"Parks and Recreation" at this early stage feels like a show that's much more comfortable with its world than its characters.
Though I've never worked in small-town government, I feel like I recognize the way that office works, the way the community interacts with it, and the way that Leslie completely overreacted to the reporter, since hyper-local newspapers like that tend to only run the most innocuous, uncontroversial, even-handed stories possible.
But Leslie is all over the map as a character, and if I don't really understand who she is, it's hard to laugh at how she behaves in different situations. The scene in the diner where the reporter fired one quote after another was, I'm assuming, improvised, in the way that "Scrubs" often will feature scenes that are just an excuse to let Neil Flynn riff. And while Amy Poehler has a strong improv background, it didn't work here, both because she's the main character as opposed to a weird fringe player like the Janitor, and because it just didn't feel like a realistic scene. Like "The Office," this show is trying to build its comedy on top of a very realistic foundation, and while it's possible for characters to behave silly or over-the-top (ala the one genuinely funny moment in the episode, Leslie eating the plant and getting a swollen tongue), you have to believe that this is how the character would act in that moment. And I didn't believe that either Leslie or the reporter would be doing that.
I think there's a show here. I like most of the supporting characters (Ron's speech about why he likes Tom was very nice), and the setting. But just like it took Greg Daniels a while to figure out Michael Scott, I think he and Mike Schur need to spend the hiatus (assuming they get renewed) getting a better handle on who Leslie is.
What did everybody else think?