Parks and Recreation is an American comedy television series on NBC led by Amy Poehler, who stars as Leslie Knope, a perky, mid-level bureaucrat in the parks department of Pawnee, a fictional town in Indiana. It was conceived by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur and debuted on April 9, 2009. The show has run for four seasons and a fifth has been commissioned for the 2012/13 season. It uses a single-camera, mockumentary filming style, with the implication being that a documentary crew is filming everyone. More recently, the Parks and Recreation staff has tried to differentiate their show from The Office through differences in filming technique, and decided in favor of multiple camera angles and frequent jump cuts.
The writers researched local California politics for the show, and consulted with urban planners and elected officials. The Leslie Knope character underwent minor changes after the first season in response to audience feedback that she seemed unintelligent and “ditzy”. The writing staff tried to incorporate current events into their episodes, such as a government shutdown in Pawnee inspired by the real-life global financial crisis. Several guest stars have been featured in the show, and these characters often appear in multiple episodes.
Parks and Recreation received generally mixed reviews during its first season; many critics saw it as too similar to The Office. However, after a reapproach to its format and tone, it is now widely accepted by critics and fans of all ages that the quality of the second and third seasons rank it amongst the best current shows on television. Since it was reformatted, Parks and Recreation has received several awards and nominations, including an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series and two Emmy nominations for Poehler’s performance. The show also has a large online fan base devoted to the character Ron Swanson. Despite the critical acclaim, Parks and Recreation has struggled in the Nielsen ratings throughout its run on NBC.
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