Parks and Recreation: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC's "The Office," "King of the Hill") and Michael Schur (NBC's "The Office," "Saturday Night Live"), "Parks and Recreation" is a hilarious ensemble comedy that follows Leslie Knope (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Amy Poehler, NBC's "Saturday Night Live," "Baby Mama"), a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and her tireless efforts to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun.
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The show had an ensemble cast of characters centered around Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope, the Deputy Director of the Pawnee Indiana Department of Parks and Recreation and her boss, Ron Swanson, played brilliantly by Nick Offerman. Many story lines centered around her desire to help everyone and his desire to have government function as little as possible. Each did a great job playing their bleeding heart liberal, and small government libertarian roles, and some of the best moments on the show came when one of them would best the other. The rest of the cast was a true ensemble of relatively little known actors (until Rob Lowe arrived in season 3). Even with all the characters, and personalities the show did a good job of giving all the characters some depth and stories to grow within. Really the only main cast member whose character did not develop much was Paul Schneider who left after the second season.
The show also boasted a bunch of guest stars ranging from cameos by Washington Politicians to recurring character actors. Probably the best was Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman's real life wife, who played is ex wife Tammy 2, who was always trying to corrupt Ron. Her appearances were really the only time Nick Offerman was able to drop the gruff no-nonsense persona of Ron Swanson (aside from when he got to giggle at Leslie's expense) which were really the highlights of any of the seasons. The addition of Rob Lowe (playing the ultra chipper city manager who incorrectly uses the word literally in almost every sentence) and Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, really did a lot to round out the cast and gave the show the feel it would have almost to the end.
The show really did track (and make fun of) the ever changing political climate from 2008 to 2015. It spoofed the various national budget crises, government shutdowns, and sex scandals. You never got the sense that it took itself too seriously or was being preachy about anything, although it is clear what the political leanings of the actors and show runners were. And there were enough stories totally outside the political realm (like Tom's many questionable entrepreneurial ventures) that I think it would be enjoyable regardless of your political leanings or if you had no interest in politics at all.
The set itself is just the individual seasons packaged in one decorative box. Pretty much exactly like The Office's Complete series set was. All the extras were the original material included in the individual season releases. In the first three seasons there were commentary tracks on many episodes, deleted scenes for every episode, and the alternate producer's cuts for some episodes. From season 2 on there was an uncensored gag reel every year. After season 3, the commentary tracks stopped and they started putting some of the commercials and PSAs that aired in the show in the bonus material, as well as things like the Olympics promos, behind the scenes material and the Mouse Rat performances. Overall a lot of material, but there are no extras just for the complete series set alone, so there is no need to get this if you bought the individual seasons as they were released.
liking or disliking any show is very subjective, and this is no different. It was definitely a more adult sit-com, and the show did sometimes skirt the edge of what they could get through the censors. It was probably guilty of trying to hang on a little too long, but the final season was a short one (only 13 episodes) and I think they did a great job of wrapping the series up. Most likely anyone reading this would have already seen enough of the show to know what it is, but if you are one who has not seen it and only heard about it (as I was when I got this set), I would definitely recommend it. Especially if you are a fan of shows like The Office, Arrested Development or anything in a similar vein to those.