Thursday, January 17, 2013

Parks and Recreation

Image courtesy of NBC
I have fallen in love with this series, for various reasons. First, the characters are great: the writers have created real friendships and tension between Leslie Knope and the crew who work in her section of a small government department in a small Indiana town. 

There's the meat-lovin', Tammy-marryin', government hatin' Ron Swanson (he works in government to try and destroy it from within "the belly of the beast.") He could be a cardboard character in the hands of a lesser group of writers, but there are layers to him, beyond the huge mustache and secret nightlife of playing a sax for a swooning older crowd of women.

There are the smaller roles, such as Donna (one of my favorites,) Rob Lowe who is fantastic as Perfect Chris, April* and Andy, and the smooth delicious mistake that is Jean-Ralphio. And Tom. How do I describe Tom? Put it this way - I have partied with this dude. Often. And the writers nailed it.
The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

But what really sucked me in is the friendship between Leslie Knope, the main character played by Anmy Poehler, and Ann, portrayed by Rashida Jones. First, I'll watch anything Ms Jones is in - she's always terrific. And Amy Poehler - there are no words.

Without great writing, though, this relationship between them could go "sticky sentimental goo" or "women being bitches to each other." The show does neither - there is a real, best-friend tie between the two women. They exasperate each other to the point where they have a huge fight in a club (with  a breaktime for dancing it out and later to hold each other's hair.) They are truthful and supportive - and gosh darn it, they are friends. 

I just find that is a very rare thing on TV. If women aren't fighting over some lame Batchelor or Flava Flav (Why, women? Why?) they're interrupting each other on The View. To see a real, deepening bestie sitch develop, then, is just SO AWESOME.

Example of how Ann is the greatest friend ever:

Leslie: Ann, I need you to text me every thirty seconds that everything is going to be okay.
Ann: Okay!
Leslie: [Phone rings] Thanks Ann!

And when they create an online profile for Leslie so she can get a date:

Leslie: Yellow haired female... likes waffles and news.
Ann: Sexy, well-read blonde... loves the sweeter things in life.
Leslie: Much better.
Ann: Hobbies?
Leslie: Organizing my agenda. Wait, that doesn't sound fun...jammin' on my planner!
Ann: Favorite place?
Leslie: Upstairs there's this mural of wildflowers, and I like to sit on a bench in front of it.
Ann: Really? It could be anywhere in the world: Paris, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon...
Leslie: Nope. Just the bench in front of the mural.
Ann: What about an actual meadow, where wildflowers are?
Leslie: Eww, Ann, I'm scared of bees, mural!
Ann: Okay, what do you think of dogs?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Cats?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Fish?
Leslie: Love!
Ann: Turtles?
Leslie: No opinion. They're condescending.
Ann: Describe your ideal man.
Leslie: He's dark and mysterious, and he can sing. And he plays the organ.
Ann: I think you just described the Phantom of the Opera.

And this line just sums up the beauty of these two women:
(Leslie is asleep on Ann's couch.)
Ann: I love her so much, but I think I'm going to draw a mustache on her face.

*April Ludgate has the best lines ever.

No comments: