Okay — instead of me trashing myself about how long it’s been since I’ve written a post (since May, actually), I am just gonna jump right into this post before I get way too over-expressive ;).
I wrote this The Office and Parks and Recreation research paper last year, and since I really needed to post something, but I don’t have a lot of time to write a new full-length post, I’ve just copied and pasted my paper here for you. I’m a huge fan of both The Office and Parks and Rec — though I might lean a bit more towards The Office. So, anyway . . . enjoy and hopefully I’ll be back with another post soon! Beware, in this paper there may be spoilers for both shows.
A lot of people have heard of two very popular television shows that I’m going to discuss. The Office and Parks and Rec are similar in many ways. One of the main similarities is that both of these comedic television shows were distributed by NBC Studios, which managed to make them both very realistic and hilarious at the same time. By hiring great creators and actors for The Office and Parks and Rec, NBC hit a home run.
The Office started its run in 2005 with its first season, which released six episodes. Likewise, the series ended in 2013 with its ninth season. Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation began in 2009 and finished in 2015. There are many similarities in both of these shows, one of them being that the basic plot outline is a documentary crew coming to observe everyday life in the office. Though both of these television shows won the hearts of critics and fans alike, Parks and Rec ended as the more successful program overall, due to the fact that The Office had many poorly rated episodes in its eighth season, and Parks and Rec stayed neutral most of the time. The two series had some differences in plot. The Office is about a paper company called Dunder Mifflin and its odd employees that work in the Scranton Branch. Throughout the series, characters leave and reappear, and the manager of the Scranton Branch changes a few times, nevertheless, a few of the main characters appear in every episode. On the other hand, Parks and Rec is centered around the parks and recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana. The difference here is that Parks and Rec is more about the employees in the department, rather than the department itself. When a character in The Office leaves Dunder Mifflin, that character will not be followed, while Parks and Rec will sometimes follow characters that leave, depending on how much the show would change after that character’s departure.
Almost everyone who watches these television programs will agree that NBC has hired some great cast members and crew members. The Office features Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Ed Helms as the main characters until season seven when Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott, manager of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch, leaves the show. Ed Helms’ character Andy Bernard didn’t appear until season three, but Wilson, Krasinski, and Fischer’s characters Dwight K. Schrute, Jim Halpert, and Pam Halpert stayed on the show for the entire run. Other cast members that were included as employees in the Scranton Branch included Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Clark Duke, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Jake Lacy, Paul Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, Craig Robinson, Phyllis Smith, Catherine Tate, and Zach Woods. David Denman, Melora Hardin, Rashida Jones, Amy Ryan, and James Spader also appeared in the show multiple times.
Parks and Recreation also had a very great cast that included Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta. And, like The Office, a main character left the show in season six. Jones’ and Lowe’s characters Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger left, though the show’s ratings didn’t drop like The Office. However, Poehler, Ansari, Offerman, Plaza, Pratt, O’Heir, and Retta’s characters stayed on the entire show, while Scott and Lowe’s characters came on in late season two. Paul Schneider also appeared on the show several times, but left at the end of season two. Ben Schwartz, Jon Glaser, Mo Collins, Jay Jackson, Jenny Slate, Henry Winkler, Megan Mullally, and Lucy Lawless also made appearances throughout the show as guest stars and citizens of Pawnee. In fact, for The Office, Carell was nominated for an Emmy six times, Wilson three times, and Fischer one time, and for Parks and Rec, Poehler was nominated for an acting Emmy five times, as well as one writing nomination.
Another major question still exists, however: what makes these shows so popular? Well, the two main things I’ve just described — the basic plot outline and the main cast — have a lot to do with it. When The Office first released, a lot of the actors were rather new, but Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and Mindy Kaling had appeared in some earlier films. And the same is true for Parks and Rec — Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Offerman were known, but a lot of the others were new to the scene. As for the plot, both shows have a storyline similar to that of Cheers, Seinfeld, and Friends — just a comedy about normal daily life. Plus, both shows aired on NBC, a very popular channel. Without The Office, in fact, Parks and Rec might have not even succeeded, as both shows had the same concept.
In closing, The Office and Parks and Rec are both some of the greatest television series of all time. Rather than dramatic shows like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, these shows will always make you laugh. With fantastic writing and acting, both shows will live on forever in their incredibly successful nature.
Hello, it’s Whiz Kid back again — not past Whiz Kid . . . present Whiz Kid. Here’s a condensed cast list of the two shows:
Rainn Wilson as Dwight K. Schrute
John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly
Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin
Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance
Kate Flannery as Meredith Palmer
Creed Bratton as Creed Bratton
Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez
Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor
B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard
Ed Helms as Andy Bernard
Paul Lieberstein as Toby Flenderson
Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin
Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon
Zach Woods as Gabe Lewis
Melora Hardin as Jan Levinson
Andy Buckley as David Wallace
Catherine Tate as Nellie Bertram
David Denman as Roy Anderson
Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli
Jake Lacy as Pete Miller
Clark Duke as Clark Green
James Spader as Robert California
Amy Ryan as Holly Flax
Michael Schur as Mose Schrute
Kathy Bates as Jo Bennett (Special Guest Star)
Idris Elba as Charles Miner (Special Guest Star)
Will Ferrell as Deangelo Vickers (Special Guest Star)
Parks and Rec
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson
Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate
Jim O'Heir as Jerry Gergich
Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford
Retta as Donna Meagle
Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer
Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins
Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt
Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger
Jay Jackson as Perd Hapley
Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz
Ben Schwartz as Jean-Ralphio Saperstein
Mo Collins as Joan Callamezzo
Jon Glaser as Councilman Jeremy Jamm
Billy Eichner as Craig Middlebrooks
Kathryn Hahn as Jennifer "Jen" Barkley
Lucy Lawless as Diane Lewis
Jenny Slate as Mona-Lisa Saperstein
Megan Mullally as Tammy Two
Henry Winkler as Doctor Lu Saperstein
Paul Rudd as Bobby Newport
I hope to talk to you guys again soon! Please leave a comment and check out my YouTube channel Whiz Kid Reviews, where I ALSO haven’t posted anything in a while.
Whiz Kid out