Parks and Recreation Ssn 1

Thursday, 11 April 2013 17:43
Posted in TV DVDs
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Parks and Recreation - Season 1 on UK DVDAlready in its fifth year in the US, the first season of hit comedy Parks and Recreation finally comes to DVD, having recently aired on BBC4. Creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, both well known for the American version of The Office and Saturday Night Live, have crafted another fabulous fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about some inept but lovable local government workers in the fictional, Indiana town of Pawnee.

Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live, “Blades of Glory”) stars as Leslie Knope, the town’s Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation. When Leslie learns about a local man (Chris Pratt – “Moneyball”) breaking his legs after tumbling into a disused pit, she hastily promises his partner Ann (Rashida Jones – “The Social Network”) that the council will convert the dangerous eyesore into a fantastic new park. Sadly for Leslie, she does not anticipate the resistance from within and without she will encounter.

Leslie is hugely enthusiastic and is determined to see her project come to fruition, but red tape and unfortunate events conspire to stop her at every turn. Her bumbling and bone-idle colleagues do not help matters. Department member Tom (Aziz Ansari – “30 Minutes or Less”) is self-obsessed and tactless, April (Aubrey Plaza – “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”) is a catatonically disinterested summer intern, planner Mark (Paul Schneider – “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) is convinced Leslie will fail from the outset, and her boss Nick (Ron Swanson – “21 Jump Street”) is anti-government!

Although the first season takes a few episodes to find its feet, it is absolutely worth sticking with because the constituent parts ultimately come together brilliantly. Some of the characters initially irritate but once the scripts start peeling away a few of their layers, they become wonderful living, breathing people and you start to forget that the footage is fictional.

The series is very like The Office, only to my mind the central character of Leslie is much more worthy than either David Brent or Michael Scott. She is like an adorable Labrador – tireless, well-meaning and smiley but also frequently a bit slow on the uptake. Half the time you are laughing at her, the other laughing with her, as she strives to overcome petty and mean-minded officials and members of the public.

The humour is a good mixture of slap-stick, hilariously inappropriate comments and behaviour, and lots of comical and knowing glances. I got totally caught up in the goings on in Pawnee, and I am sure that you will too, including humming the absurdly addictive theme tune! Thankfully we do not have long to wait until the second series is released on 3 June, with a full season of 24 episodes to savour.

Bonus features include:

  • ‘Hose’ Cold Open
  • Music Videos
  • Deleted screens for each episode
  • Six episode commentaries by mixed members of the cast and crew

 

The ‘Hose’ clip is an amusing extra scene where Leslie disperses some meddlesome kids from a park, using a make-shift water cannon. The two short music videos are based on songs sung by in-show rock band ‘Mouse Rat’, and a real delight. In essence this is comprehensive and in-character content for a slight, six-episode first season.

Parks and Recreation: Season 1 (2009) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Fremantle Home Entertainment. The disc has a running time of 157 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 11 April 2013 17:49

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