Parks and Recreation, The TV Show (NBC)

Superficially, NBC's instant cult classic sitcom "Parks and Recreation" could be described as "The Office, but with parks."

The comparison is natural, since "The Office" is the most successful contemporary workplace comedy, and "Parks and Recreation" follows the "secret camera" formula. But "Parks and Recreation" is so much more!

Starring Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, "Parks and Recreation" follows the trials and travails of minor government officials in a small Indiana town. In the first episode, neighborhood resident Ann Perkins (played by former "The Office" star Rashida Jones) brings a complaint to Knope's attention. A condo development bailed on its construction, leaving a giant open pit next door to Ann's house.

Leslie Knope sees an opportunity in The Pit: if she can have it officially turned into a town park, her legacy will be secured. Growing up in her mother's shadow, Leslie has been looking for a way to make a name for herself - and what better way than having a park named after her?

"Parks and Recreation" is a fun, sweet, sometimes poignant show about hope, love, and the futility of trying to push back the tide.

Less mean-spirited than its cousin "The Office," even the unlikable characters have genuine moments of warmth and humanity.

The supporting cast deserves just as much acclaim as its stars:

Paul Schneider plays the office Ladies' Man, Mark Brendanawicz. Schneider's performance is pitch perfect - in the hands of a lesser actor Brendanawicz would be a sleazy skirt-chaser, but Schneider is likable as the day is long.

Aziz Ansari lights up the room as Tom Haverford, an Indian-American from North Carolina whose ethnicity is constantly being questioned. But more than "the ethnic guy," Haverford is a career climber constantly on the lookout for another opportunity to get ahead. Nevertheless, he accompanies Knope on her various wild goose chases with bemusement.

Nick Offerman is criminally under-utilized as Ron Swanson, the boss who thinks his job is useless, and spends all day every day phoning it in, punching the clock until his eventual retirement.

Aubrey Plaza is April Ludgate, the unpaid intern who seems as baffled by her presence in the halls of government as we are. April would clearly rather spend her time clubbing or texting, but her keen observations and cutting insistence on plain talk elevate her role to that of the office oracle.

If any show deserves a larger audience, it's "Parks and Recreation." Now that "30 Rock" has earned the audience it deserves, "Parks and Recreation" is the next underdog hit!

Watch the Parks and Recreation Trailers

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