Parks and Recreation received its first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series this year, and if you've been watching the show Thursday nights on NBC, it's easy to see why. But if for some reason you haven't now is the perfect opportunity to catch yourselves up by picking up the newly released third season on DVD.
Parks and Recreation, which is shot in a mocumentary style, follows Deputy Leslie Knope, played by the hilarious Amy Poehler, a mid-level bureaucrat working in the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. In season one, we find Leslie on a quest to build a park for her city, but she runs into many obstacles along the way and hilarity ensues. Though the show's main focus is Leslie, Parks and Recreation would not be the same without its outstanding cast of supporting characters. Leslie's boss, Ron Swanson, played by the brilliant Nick Offerman, is a mustachioed, meat-eating libertarian who despises his job almost as much as his two ex-wives, both named Tammy - one of which we meet in second season. April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is Ron's unruly assistant whose pessimism and inability to care about doing her job correctly is perfect for Ron's aversion to taking calls and meetings with other local government officials or citizens of Pawnee. Ann Perkins, played by the beautiful and charming Rashida Jones, is Leslie's best friend and confidant. Though Ann is a nurse at the Pawnee Hospital during season one and season two, she comes to work with Leslie at the Parks Department in season three which causes a little bit of friction between the two in episode 13 called "The Fight." The other cast of characters includes Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, a new member of the Parks Department who Leslie hates at first but soon develops a different opinion, Chris Pratt as the dense but loveable Andy Dwyer, and Rob Lowe as the Indiana State Auditor Chris Traeger.
The Parks and Recreation Season 3 DVD set is comprised of three discs, all of which have bonus features. The first disc contains the first six episodes along with deleted scenes, a hilarious trailer commercial for "Ron & Tammy 2," the episode where Ron's ex-wife Tammy returns for a second time, as well as commentaries by Adam Scott, Amy Poehler and Michael Schur (the show's creator) for "Flu Season" and Nick Offerman, Meghan Mullaly, and Jim O'Heir for "Ron & Tammy 2." But the best bonus feature on disc one is the hilarious 20-minute gag reel that shows just how wonderful the dynamic is between the members of the cast. Discs two and three contain more deleted scenes, commentaries, and promos.
Parks and Recreation started out with dismal ratings. It was often compared to The Office, 1) because it was advertised as being from the creators of The Office, 2) because of its mocumentary style which became synonymous with The Office, and 3) it had a leading character that seemed to be just as naïve and wacky as Michael Scott, the inept and immature regional manager of the paper and printer company Dunder Mifflin Inc. However, Parks and Recreation has since completely separated itself from that association thanks to the brilliant writing of show and its characters. The character development and genuine humor are what makes Parks and Recreation truly enjoyable to watch.