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 OfficeGiphy
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 comediansGiphy
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 otherGiphy
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 relatableGiphy
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 issuesGiphy
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 feelGiphy
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-linersGiphy
"I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things." — Leslie Knope
"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 ImpactGiphy
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 discussionsGiphy
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 stopGiphy
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**