Why Parks and Rec Is Better than The Office

Why Parks and Rec Is Better than The Office

"Warning: high levels of swagger coming through." — Tom Haverford

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Before the Internet trolls attach me, I should make it clear that I am a huge fan of both The Office and Parks and Recreation. They are arguably the two funniest shows television has aired. In fact, Parks and Rec was supposed to be a spin-off of The Office and be based off a printer company that had to fix one of Dunder Mifflin's copiers. Could that have been interesting? Sure, but I think both shows were better off shot in the same style but with separate story lines. There is a lot of debate as to which of these comedies is the "better one" and I'm here to clear up any confusion of this. PARKS AND REC IS CLEARLY BETTER, and here is why:

Parks and Rec is not nearly as cringe-worthy as The Office

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I'm sure everyone remembers the inevitable cringe-feeling watching the "Scott's Tots" episode. Or how about the "Diversity Day" episode where they all go around with stereotypes pinned to their foreheads. Even the famous character Michael Klump character from "Weight Loss" didn't sit right. As hilarious as The Office is, sometimes they took the jokes a little too far. Parks and Rec has its awkward moments, but you never feel so gross you have to turn away.

Parks and Rec has more comedians

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Without question, Steve Carell is one of the funniest comedians of this time, but as a whole Parks and Rec has more comedy-specialized actors and actresses. Amy Poehler is a comedy genius, Chris Pratt brings comic relief to even his current more serious roles, Aubrey Plaza literally had her character written into the show because she was so unique, Aziz Ansari has hosted his own stand-up specials, and Retta is a stand-up comedian who literally named her new biography.

Even down the road Parks and Rec features more comedians in supporting roles such as Keegan-Michael Key, Billy Eichner, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Ben Schwartz, and Kyle Mooney. Face it, when you have that many comedic minds collaborating, its bound to bring successful comedy.

Characters aren't purely mean to each other

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Yes, Jerry is the target for many office jokes, but ultimately the characters aren't as naturally mean-spirited towards each other on Parks and Rec like they are in The Office. Angela having an affair with Dwight while engaged to Andy, Phyllis blackmailing Angela, Oscar having an affair with the Senator behind Angela's back, Andy leaving the company and his girlfriend Erin for three months, Michael Scott actually harassing some of his coworkers... need I say more? The Parks and Rec relationships are genuine, and even though everyone gets on each other's nerves once in a while, at the end of the day they are a family who truly cares for one another. Leslie Knope's compliments to Anne ALONE adds more positivity to Parks and Rec than all nine seasons of The Office.

The characters are more relatable

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Maybe this is based on my personal experience, but the Parks and Rec characters are more relatable. Perhaps this is because the cast at large is closer to my age, but I think the specific character niches in Parks and Rec more noticeable in an actual workplace. The complete over-achiever (Leslie Knope), the complete under-achiever (April), the one who brings politics into everything and slightly scares you (Ron Swanson), the health freak (Chris), the office comic relief who you low key don't know how they got hired (Andy Dwyer), the quiet one who secretly lives a worldly, interesting life but is just there for the benefits (Donna), the pop-culture, designer-obsessed one who's always talking about what the next big thing is (Tom), the cute and smart guy who always seems a little on edge (Ben), the one who really just blends in (Anne), and of course the office clown (Jerry). In all of my coworkers I see aspects of the Parks and Rec characters.

They responsibly tackled feminist issues

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It's not secret that Leslie Knope was a die-hard feminist on the show, but there was something special about the way Parks and Rec included gender equality and broke gender norms. Anne decided she wanted a baby so she had one! Ron Swanson got an award only women receive. Leslie Knope had no problem admitting she was her personal hero. There was an entire episode dedicated to a camp giving girls the same opportunities girls had. Parks and Rec really came through when it came to recognizing GIRL POWER!

The small-town feel

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Pawnee was a town that all viewers could love. Sure, The Office has Scranton, but we already know Scraton, PA. Pawnee did something different; it brought light to a town that no one had heard of but everyone knew about. It might not be real, but somehow Pawnee Indiana became all of our home town. We all have a JJ's Diner, a park we love, a city hall, and a rival town (Screw Eagleton!). Pawnee had issues but what town doesn't! Pawnee normalized small-town America, and made us all weep over the death of a mini horse. RIP Lil Sebastian.

The show had some of the best one-liners

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"I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things." — Leslie Knope

"Do you think a depressed person could make THIS?" - Ben Wyatt

"I can convince small children that I'm a witch."- April Ludgate

"Love…love fades away, but things…things are forever." — Tom Haverford

"I think Comic Sans always screams FUN." — Jerry Gergich

"Leslie, I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and broke everything"- Andy Dwyer

"Biking for charity is LITERALLY one of my interests on Facebook" - Chris Traeger

"Jogging is the WORST! I know it keeps you healthy but God at what cost?!"

"There has never been a sadness that can't be cured by breakfast food." — Ron Swanson

"Yes, I am a hunter and it's 'you' season." — Donna Meagle

The Economic Impact

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We can all agree that the Treat Yo' Self episode is single handedly why the USA came out of a recession, and has been the stability of the economy since

Political cameos and discussions

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Joe Biden, John McCain, and Michelle Obama all made appearances throughout the seven seasons. Plus, Parks and Rec made people comfortable talking about politics. If we're being honest, a lot of what I know about town government and political campaigns is because of that show. Politics are part of our lives, and it was a nice change to see a program take it seriously while still poking so much fun.

They knew when to stop

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Parks and Rec had an amazing seven season, and what I would argue was the best way to end a TV show ever. Unlike The Office (which should have ended when Michael Scott left Scranton) Parks and Rec showed beautiful flash-forwards of the cast's lives and how they come together as a family again in the end. It also features the team tackling one last Pawnee park problem, which was ADORABLE. Even better, they left somethings up to interpretation, like the security team guarding Leslie and Ben at Jerry's funeral. The Office ends with Andy failing, Jim and Pam fighting, and with a weird kidnapping of Angela ticking her off before the wedding (I know that that's not the final episode but overall the show concluded terribly). Seven seasons was perfect for Parks and Rec at the time, but I do hope the rumors for a re-boot are true!

Whether you agree with me on which one is better does not matter as much as long as we can all agree that Parks and Rec was an incredible TV show. **COUGH COUGH (but it's still better than The Office) **COUGH COUGH**

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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Spoiler Alert, But Your Passion Doesn't Have To Be Your Career

Just because I don't want to teach as a career doesn't mean that I don't like teaching at all.

Neve
Neve
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In music, there are a lot of career paths you could pursue. You could pursue music education, music performance, music therapy, music industry, etc. Beyond those, there are even more careers that you can break into smaller categories. When I started college, I wanted to be a high school band director. Now, I definitely don't want to be that. (I honestly don't want to continue in music at all, but that's beside the point.) I changed my major to music performance a few years back because I finally realized that I didn't want to teach high school students day in and day out.

I realize now that I was really confused when I got to college. I had the opportunity to be part of a really great marching band program in high school and it sparked my passion for music. I wanted to continue that great high school marching band program for the rest of my life. But at 17, there was no way for me to realize that a degree in music education and a job as a high school band director wouldn't give me the experience that I was searching for.

A job as a high school band director isn't all marching band competitions and trophies. Depending on your placement, marching season can consist of spoon-feeding music lessons to high school students who didn't get the opportunity to have the thorough training that I did. Speaking of marching season, it's just that: A season. In my area, marching season lasts from roughly August to October. After that, it's over. You're doing other things. You're doing the rest of your job.

From October to May, a band director usually focuses on their concert band. I liked concert season, but it didn't give me the same warm, fuzzy feeling that marching season used to. I loved playing my instrument, but there was something about the competition season that got my brain buzzing.

Knowing what I know now, I realized that I wouldn't be nearly as happy for the rest of the academic year if I were to continue down the path I was going. I realized that I shouldn't pursue something that only gave me my passion 30 percent of the time. What would I do with that other 70 percent? I would probably be happy, but it wasn't what I had imagined.

With all that said and a new major, that doesn't mean that I don't like to teach now. I got the opportunity to help out with my former high school's band camp this summer and I was ELATED. I helped the drum majors navigate the ins and outs of leadership in high school and taught them some helpful conducting maneuvers. I was tired from sweating and being outside all day, but on the drive from the high school back home, I was already thinking of new activities for my drum majors to do.

I'm lucky that my career path and major has so many branches and specializations. I'm lucky that they're all so closely related. But even if your career path isn't as closely aligned as mine, you can still do what you love.

You can do what you love without making a career out of it.

Neve
Neve

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