I came home just in time to check out two midseason series’ premieres last night, NBC’s Amy Poehler-starrer Parks and Recreation and CBS’s heavily promoted Harper’s Island. Parks has potential, with Poehler being reliably funny as Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the Parks & Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana. She’s supported by a capable cast which includes Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Offerman. My fave is Ansari, who plays Tom, a department member. I’ve enjoyed his work since his guest stint as the racist (only towards New Zealeanders) fruit vendor in Flight of the Conchords. This guy is so funny and out there; you never know what crazy stuff is gonna come out of his mouth.
Yes, this show is very similar in The Office in style and execution but since Office hasn’t been very funny this season, you might want to check out Parks, or at least the website that was created about Pawnee.
My favorite lines from the show:
- “The problem is anything over twenty-five dollars, I have to report. So, um, maybe give my wife a call and give her the suits. And if they don’t fit her, maybe she’ll give them to me.”—Tom (Ansari) talking to someone on the phone.
- “These people are members of the community that cares about where they live. What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.”—Leslie after a community-outreach meeting.
- “Recently, I led a city-wide drive to disinfect the sandbox sand after we had those problems with the cats.” —Leslie proudly discussing some of her recent accomplishments.
- “Tom and I…are both outsiders. I’m a woman; he’s a…oh, I think he’s a Libyan.”—Leslie about how well she and Tom work together.
After Parks, I tuned in to Harper’s Island, an entirely different kind of show. If you haven’t heard, the 13-part mystery’s premise is kind of a scripted Survivor crossed with Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The plot concerns a bunch of people coming to the fictional titular island for a wedding and each week one person gets murdered. You see, seven years ago, six people were killed on the island by a serial killer until the sheriff killed him. Or did he?
So far, there are too many people to keep track of and not many of them are compelling characters yet. There’s lots of ham-fisted, over-the-top, soap opera acting but I must admit, I was totally creeped out by this show. The murder methods were shocking (since this was the pilot, they bumped off two people—how generous!). I’m not a fan of scary movies—I like suspense, not gore; Hitchcock, not Tarantino—but the hour went by fast, I jumped a few times and will tune in again next week.
Nerd Verdicts: Parks has potential and just sit right back and watch the tale on Island