Friday, October 02, 2009

Parks and Recreation, "Beauty Pageant": One angry Knope

Quick thoughts on last night's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I go to The Glitter Factory...

This show has really struggled in the ratings its first two weeks of the season. Having the Thursday "SNL" shows (which seem superfluous in a non-election year, even if Bill Hader and Darrell Hammond do good impressions of John Malkovich and Dennis Franz) as a lead-in hasn't helped, but the larger problem is that most of the episodes from last spring weren't that great. There's a school of thought in the TV business that it's harder to get back viewers who watched and left than it is to start small and attract new viewers over time. So even though "Parks and Rec" is much improved - with "Beauty Pageant" being another winner - I fear the audience has already given up on it based on that brief spring sampling. And I worry that putting "Community" (which took a big deep from its premiere ratings to its week two numbers) as the lead-in starting next week won't help matters.

And it bugs me because this show has become increasingly funny, and confident, whether in throwaway jokes like Leslie extolling the virtues of the "Lively Fisting" painting of the reverend beating up the widow, or more obvious jokes like the quick cut from Leslie asking the other judges to look into their hearts to the shot of Trish the racist hottie being named the winner. The show is working on both the silly stuff (Andy hiding behind the screen), the deadpan humor (April's "impressions" of her sister and Leslie) and even the sweetness of Leslie realizing how much she likes Dave the cop. Even with no Ron (Bleeping) Swanson, this one was a winner.

So I really want the show to succeed, and I'm feeling antsy about seeing the fast national ratings within the hour.

What did everybody else think?

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well a lot of people checked out The Office in the beginning when it wasn't very good and probably tuned out, but word of mouth eventually brought them back.

I posted on the Community thread that the show was amusing, but not laugh out loud funny. That's how I felt about this episode of P&R. And that's a departure for me, because I ususally do find at least a couple of things in every P&R that I think are laugh out loud funny.

Jon Weisman said...

I think it's sort of uncanny how this show has followed the Office model by really hitting its stride in the second season. I've been telling everyone I can to give P&R another chance.

olucy said...

I think this show is really finding its voice and I'm glad I stuck with it. The beauty pageant was far and away better than the Ann/Andy storyline, but it was a winner nonetheless.

So happy to see Louie CK back as the cop.

I think this show could have a better chance once SNL leaves and the Thursday night line-up is intact--iow, when 30 Rock returns.

But I agree it's a shaky lead-in for the others. I think P&R would benefit from having The Office or 30 Rock as a lead-in and let people find the new-and-improved P&R.

Matt said...

I don't think the show is in any immediate trouble if just because the entirety of NBC is such a complete trainwreck right now, with The Office and Biggest Loser being basically the only programming that's a "winner" from a ratings standpoint. (One could argue for Leno to go in that category based on the cost/benefit analysis, but I don't want to do that.)

They can't can their entire schedule, even though they've got a ton of stuff ready to go, and seem not to want to tamper until after Olympics.

Abbie said...

Andy has provided me with three Friday mornings' worth of snorting with giggles on the treadmill at 6am while I remember the episode. I am so glad they made him a regular this season.

Oh, I really hope that NBC gives it a fair chance as part of the lineup on Thursday nights with The Office, Community, and 30 Rock. I am just enjoying it all right now and waiting for 30 Rock to start. That they wouldn't let Parks & Rec percolate in that stew for a bit just makes me sad. What else would they put there besides The Office reruns?

Jesus, NBC. You're saving the money by running Leno 5x a week- just let yourself have a decent Thursday night comedy night for the first time in 10 years.

Matt said...

If they wanted to play smart, they'd move it around to have Office be a lead-in to something other than Leno next week, since they're hyping the wedding episode out the wazoo. (Or even better--Office part 1 at 8, P&R at 8:30, Office part 2 at 9, Community at 9:30.)

olucy said...

Matt, I hope you're right.

Also, 30 Rock didn't start out with good ratings (it still doesn't get them), but I think NBC stuck with it out of some loyalty to Tina Fey. I'm hoping they'll do the same for Poehler.

Michelle said...

I totally agree with you! I just love this show - definitely funnier than the Office has become. Amy Poehler just nails her character, and I can't get enough of Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman. I really hope more people watch this show!

Gooch said...

To me, P&R has consistently been the funniest of the NBC Thursday night offerings since the start of the new season. "The Hot One's" Miss South Carolina-esque Q&A was priceless.

Anonymous said...

I used to watch it just because it was part of the block and I wanted to support the Fremulon Insurance boys but it's gotten much funnier.

Nina said...

This show has been increasingly hilarious for a while now.

It delivered the best season finale of any show last May.

I hope P&R sticks around and not just because it's wonderful to have smart, witty women take over the Must See TV time slot.

Doc said...

This episode was downright hilarious. I really hope the general public starts watching. Everyone I know was ready to give it up after the first season but they are all loving it now. Now is the time for word of mouth to spread.

Trilby said...

Definitely it is better. I was laughing last night. I loved how Amy had written off the cop for not recognizing Madelaine Albright, and he came back and reeled off names and facts about her gallery of strong women. That would win me over for coffee, too.

I had no idea that was Louis C.K. I'm an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Could someone please would explain to me what is funny about Amy Poehler. In P&R she seems to be doing a bad impression of Dane Cook doing an impression of Steve Carrel. In general her best attribute seems to be that she is good friends with Tina Fey, who is funny and compelling. Amy, not so much.

Anonymous said...

The last scene, when cop dude commented on all of Leslie's photos of important women, was so awesome. This guy is such a prime addition to the show.

brian said...

Hello all! New reader here.

I think the biggest thing working against P&R is the documentary style. It is a style that The Office took a while to get good at, but the reason why I stayed tuned is because there was nothing like it on television.

I love the comedic talents of Amy, Louis, and Aziz but there is not any reason for me to stick around while they work out the kinks when The Office is knocking it out the park every episode.

If I can be candid, the honest truth is that P&R and even 30 Rock are funny on a mediocre level. We really want them to be funnier than they are. NBC needs to stop playing around and do what we all really want.

Tina and Amy need to be on the same sitcom. I know "Baby Mama" wasn't the greatest movie but who wouldn't watch that series every Thursday?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the subtle joke where he was confused by Janet Reno.

Jerry said...

The show has gotten better, but I would be afraid for its future because the ratings are a disaster.

mq1986 said...

It's really amazing to me how much funnier this show has become, to the point that I look forward to it as much as I do "The Office." The refinement of Leslie's character has really made her a major selling point of the show.

It's killing me a little to see that "Glee" (whose plots and characterizations are just all over the place) is pulling in pretty big numbers and "Parks and Recreation" is losing viewers. Maybe "Parks and Recreation" will luck out and get endorsed by Apple just like the "The Office" did a couple years ago.

Anonymous said...

It's quickly becoming my favorite comedy on television right now. Maybe it's because 30 Rock is not on right now, or The Office hasn't been top notch since it's 3rd season. Anyways, I think the show is starting to find it's groove after these past 3 episodes, and I hope NBC let's Park and Rec find it's audience in the same fashion that it let The Office after it's rocky start. I love these characters, from Leslie and who she works with to Andy the loser ex-boyfriend living in the pit.

Anonymous said...

My Favorite Moment (that demonstrates Leslie's Unique World):
When she's comiserating to Ann about the cop

Leslie: And he didn't know who Madeliene Albright was.
Ann: Who?

While the pageant was predictable, this line was delicious:

It should be called Ourmerica!

Puff

Anonymous said...

Andy is hilarious. I realize why they kept him on the show even though Ann broke up with him.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't terribly into this show last season, but I'm really enjoying it so far this year. The biggest turnoff for me last season was Leslie Knope/Amy's characterization of LK: the character was just so chirpy and unsympathetic, it was more like one of Amy Poehler's annoying SNL characters. I like that this season, Leslie's become a little less caricaturish (yet still often delusional and making ridiculous quips). It's also nice to see the other characters get some more time.

Also, awesome judging rubric. Were all pageant contestants to be judged on Lack of Ostentation...

LA said...

Did I miss something and we found out Tom got divorced? Because it seems odd that he hands out keys to the house he shares with his wife.

For the time being, this is the show I look forward to the most on Thursday nights.

Kenrick said...

I've really been enjoying P&R so far this season. As much as I like The Office, I've been looking forward to the newer series, just because they feel fresher and there's more stuff to learn about the characters. The thing I like about P&R in particular, is that they get out more. It's not just The Office, where we've been stuck seeing the same set 90% of the time over five years, which has gotten kind of stale.

Drew Johnson said...

You're right, Alan. It just keeps getting better and better and I too have enjoyed the incorporation of Louie CK into the ensemble! Here's hoping that this show sticks around for a while so that we can enjoy it!

Billiam said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, and laughed aloud many times: favorite moment was Andy popping his head out of the pit and then ducking back down.
Verification word: "beleaver."

01010 said...

i think anyone who's enjoying S2 so far that wasn't hot on S1 needs to give it a quick revisit. it's 6 episodes, you can bang that out in a day. i've enjoyed the show from the first episode and saw no real glaring issue with any episode last year, the start of the new season has been good, arguably better than S1's offering but not by much. only difference is S2 has established some arcs that took S1 the first few to establish. i ran through the first 6 the same day the S2 premiere aired too. i believe it's been strongly consistent. consistent enough that i even watched through all 6 dvd commentaries and got a kick out of those too. reaffirmed that this show was sound from the start if slow dry humor is what you're into.

Alf said...

Leslie: And he didn't know who Madeliene Albright was.
Ann: Who?

But what follows is important! Leslie tells Ann who Madeleine Albright is, and Ann says, "No, who didn't know?" Ann knows who she is, too.

I really loved this episode. I liked that Leslie noticed the cop not noticing the hot racist chick. He won her over a little there.

I also like seeing a feminist character who's not subjected to the stereotypes of feminists--e.g., that they're angry lesbians who hate men and don't shave their armpits.

Anonymous said...

I sort of feel like as the Office is starting to lose its gallop, PR is starting to come together. Since the show is basically a clone of The Office model, and this is in no way a bad thing, it makes sense that it would take a similar amount of time to get going. In fact, it is true that many high-rated sitcoms of the olden days (Seinfeld, Night Court) would take a significant amount of episodes, sometimes a whole season, to establish itself and its audience. To just throw it away seems wasteful, I can't imagine it costs as much as your average hour long drama, though it's still probably more than the typical brain-dead reality tv show about douchebags.

mq1986 said...

@ Anonymous 1:04 PM OCT 03, I would also add that there were a lot fewer shows on a lot fewer networks back in the days of Night Court and Seinfield. It's certainly a lot tougher to break into the ratings nowadays.

Tyroc said...

I don't know. It is definitely a lot stronger. And makes me laugh here and there. It's amusing.

Consistently funny? Makes me smile, but not laugh out loud.

And I guess it's just a feeling that outside of Rashida Jones' character, I don't care at all about these people nor that pit.

It's all subjective of course, and I'm glad others are liking what the creators are trying to do, since its different than what's done on other shows. But still not really doing it for me. So light. Charming rather than funny.

Vanessa said...

I stuck Parks & Rec out in the Spring cause you could tell it had promise. It just needed to find its stride (plus, Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari are insanely awesome.) It would seriously bum me out if the show is cancelled as it's been so good this season. Last week's was laugh out loud funny. That is so incredibly rare on network comedies.