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Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

Wed Mar 6, 10-10.45pm, BBC4

By Phil Harrison
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Series one, episode one
‘It’s a great time to be a woman in politics,’ gushes mid-ranking local government official Leslie Knopes. ‘Hillary Clinton. Sarah Palin. Me.’ Leslie is a good-natured, annoying thirtysomething with ideas above her station. The first part of her masterplan involves the construction of a park. But can she deal with hopeless staff, disruptive superiors and her own foot-in-mouth tendency for long enough to make the dream real?

At this early stage, the flaws of ‘Parks and Recreation’ are as evident as the strengths. For a start, it couldn’t be more indebted to the hubris, bathos and narrative devices of ‘The Office’ if it did a silly dance before spunking its severance pay on making a novelty pop record. The consensus from across the pond, however, is that the show has improved dramatically as it’s developed and matured. It’s just been commissioned for a fifth season and is now a well-loved cult concern.

We can just about see why: Amy Poelher’s Knopes is tiresome and deluded but sweetly so. The supporting cast are less memorable but not without promise. Probably one to persevere with.
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