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December 08, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-12-08

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6A - Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

NBC' s'Parks'makes for recreational fun

Paris of America
still shining in
fourth season
By SAM CENZHANG
DailyArts Writer
Coming off one of the best
season-and-a-half, stretches in
the history of television comedy,
"Parks and Rec-
reation" makes
its bid for all-*
time classic Parksand
status with sea-
son four. By the Recreation
fourth season, Season Four
most comedies Midseason
know . what
they're good at Thursdays at
and what their 8:30 p.m.
audiences want NBC
to see. Some
shows, like "The
Big Bang Theory" or "The Office,"
are content to languish in stasis,
as their stories get stale and their
jokes become broader and broad-
er. Showrunners Greg Daniels
and Michael Schur seem to have
learned from their mistakes on
"The Office." The fourth season of

"Parks" stays true to the tone and
spirit of the show. With fresh plots
and development of beloved char-
acters, "Parks" proves it still has
plentyto say.
"Parks" has always stood out
among sitcoms for beingunabash-
edly nice. None of the wall-to-wall
laughs come at anyone's expense
(except Jerry, but who cares about
him?). Schur talks often about the
influence of "Cheers" on his work:
Like "Cheers," "Parks" is about
people who, even though they
have to work together, still want to
spend time together. The show's
feel-good endings are earned,
because they're constantly show-
ing us how much these characters
care about each other, even when
jokes are flying.
"Parks" continues to give view-
ers the specificity of its jokes
and the world-building they've
become accustomed to, and there
are no descents into comic broad-
ness in the fourth season. Instead,
"Parks" offers us gems like anoth-
er installment of Perd Hapley (Jay
Jackson, Mr. "I don't understand
what you just said, but it had the
cadence of a joke"), Andy Dwyer
(Chris Pratt) taking a women's
studies class and Ben (Adam

Scott) rolling up his sleeves and
making geopolitical problem solv-
ing his bitch.
Season four has been a mas-
terclass in character work. Ron
Swanson is always teetering on
the edge of caricature, but the
writers have not made a single
misstep as they toe the line. The
stone-cold classic episode "Ron
and Tammys" is probably the
funniest thing to air on television
this year. It also shows us Ron
not just- as a meat-eating, gov-
ernment-hating cartoon, but also
as someone who genuinely cares
about his friends. It's just that
one to three friends are sufficient.
Also, Nick Offerman shaves his
beard. Who knew something that
bone-chillingly unsettling could
be so hilarious?
The pitch-perfect Leslie and
Ben storyline demonstrates that
"Parks" could do heartwarm-
ing romantic comedy just as well
as it did anything else. We've
seen "Parks" tackle relationship
storylines before, but Andy and
April (Aubrey Plaza) got married
almost immediately and eat out of
Frisbees. At first glance, Leslie's
dilemma with Ben seems to be
another rehashing of the tired old,

0

Nsc

"Community' was benched?!"
"Can a woman have it all?" sitcom
plot.
But this is where the show's
specificity saves it. It's not that
Leslie can't juggle work and love.
It's that she's running for office
and in love with someone who
works with her, her boss Chris
(Rob Lowe) banned intra-office
relationships and she bribed
someone to hide their relationship
in season three. The show sticks

the landing with the help of its
actors: Ben and Chris's interplay
in "The Trial of Leslie Knope"was
touching and hilariously over-the-
top at the same time, and Leslie's
reaction shots when she's told why
she got to keep her job are among
the best work Amy Poehler has
done on the show.
If "Parks and Recreation" has
failed at anything this season, it's
simply thatit's notas transcenden-

tallygreatas itslastseason. Season
three was defined by Leslie and
Ben's refreshingly unconvoluted
will-they-won't-they-yes-they-
will. Whatever the show does with
them now that they're together,
expect it to be funny, charming
and compelling. With this excel-
lent first half of a season, "Parks"
continues to be the best comedy -
and quite possiblythe best show -
on television.

IS IT 'THEATER' OR 'THEATRE?' YOU'LL NEVER KNOW ... BUT WE DO.
Request an application to write for Fine Arts at arts@michigandaily.com

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RELEASE DATE- Thursday, December 8, 2011
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625 Church St.
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418 E. Washington
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Best Locations in town
Fully furnished apartments available
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911 S. Forest
1001 S. Forest
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917 Packard
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521 Walnut
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726£S. Statc/Foln
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ARBO
TIVE:
town, C
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AVAIL
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Thee
larg o
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LIMITED 1 BED Apts. Remaining
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HELP rWANTED01- TYPrIST Needed
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Contact Mike at 734-276-3876.
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For Locations & Prices
Call
(734)668-1100
www.varsitymanagement.com
AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS:
WIY PAY $1500 FOR A BED???
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**FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY,
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4 BDRM/2 BATH House
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Avail. Sept. 2012. 734-395-6823
WWW.CAMPUSREALTY.COM
734-665-8825

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