Problems with Parks and Recreation?
by Joel Keller, posted Mar 23rd 2009 11:36AM
When I first saw the headline from this Nikki Finke report on NBC's Parks and Recreation, the highly-anticipated collaboration between Amy Poehler and the folks who write and produce The Office, I thought the story might be about set tension or significant rewrites or even those ever-so-useful "notes" from the network.
But it turns out that the article was about notes the network got as part of a "Consumer And Market Intelligence Research Summary." Basically, the pilot went through audience testing, and the test audience saw some problems. In the 12-page report (nine of which are charts and graphs, as Finke takes pains to point out), the test audience liked a lot of the pilot, but thought it dragged in parts, was too similar to The Office in tone, that Poehler's character needed to have "more energy and enthusiasm," and that there are "there are no 'datable' men in the cast."
To that, I say: who gives a flying crap?
Look, I'm not trying to defend Parks and Recreation. The pilot may be problematic, and it may end up suffering under the dual expectations from Office fans to be as funny as their favorite show without being exactly like it.
But when was the last time a test audience could be relied on to give good feedback for a show? After all, it's a small sampling of people, many of whom have plenty of time to come to a generic room with a two-way mirror to see screening of a show they've never heard of; how reliable can they be? This reliable: NBC's highest-testing show of 2007 was Journeyman, a good show that didn't get enough an audience for the desperate network to keep it going. And, according to Bill Lawrence, the network's highest-testing show in 2001, the same year Scrubs started, was... Emeril. Let's just say that you need to take this report with a whole shaker of salt.
[via Pop Candy]