The only hint I got that these were aired out of order was early on this episode when Ann talks about how Leslie put together a committee in less than a week (which was in the first episode) and how this was her first experience with government. There was no mention of "last week" and the disastrous town hall meeting ... because technically it hasn't happened yet. Parks & Recreation time travel! I guess it's just too tempting for the suits to futz with the air order of new series.
It looks like things are going to move pretty slowly on this show, despite only a six episode run. I guess with the pit project being the only major plot, there's not much else to do. I hope they have a Plan B if they get picked up. All we got was the team canvassing the neighborhood to gauge reactions to the project and then an impromptu town hall meeting where everyone could voice their opinion. And that went about as well as you might expect; remember the last meeting Leslie ran.
(S01E01) While at its heart, and based on its creators (Michael Schur and Greg Daniels of The Office), you can't help but compare Parks & Recreation to The Office. They both film in that mockumentary style, they both feature clueless leads, and they have some of the same comic sensibilities. But how many multi-camera family sitcoms were on the air back in the '80s? Seinfeld and Friends clones in the '90s? Crime procedurals in the '00s?
It doesn't matter if a show shares similar traits with another if it has a voice all its own. And as I indicated in my "Early Look" of Parks & Recreation, they even use the documentary-style camera work differently. But the real difference for me is in the work of Amy Poehler.
First there was talk of a spin-off of The Office. Word was that Amy Poehler was attached. Then we got the notion that Rashida Jones may just reprise her role of Karen in that spin-off. And then it became Parks and Recreation. The show follows the exploits of the Parks Department in a small city in Indiana. So our spin-off went from more office politics to ... well, politics. But Amy Poehler is here. And while Rashida Jones is on board, it's not as Karen.
Still, the comparisons are going to be inevitable. Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who are both key parts of The Office team, created this show, it airs right before The Office, and both are shot in that mock documentary style. Then you have Poehler's lead role as Deputy Director Leslie Knope. She appears to be as oblivious to the world that truly exists around her as Michael Scott is on The Office, but more in a naively optimistic way than a narcissistic asshat way. As Jones' character Ann Perkins describes her: "She's a little doofy, but she's sweet."
However, if I was there, I would have apparently received the pilot script to the new Amy Poehler-led sitcom that's being written and produced by the folks from The Office, as Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did yesterday. He revealed some details about what the show's going to be about, and they're... interesting.
The show will be shot documentary-style like The Office. In it, Poehler plays Leslie Knope, who is, according to Owen, a "mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana." She works with a local nurse (Rashida Jones) to turn a construction site into a park, and has to battle the usual local-government nemeses at every turn, including those "traffic and noise" complainers and a town official (Aziz Ansari). All the while, she's followed by an intern (Aubrey Plaza) that she hopes to inspire.
Well, partially it's because of Bill Lawrence and the cast, who have been entertaining to cover and very press-friendly. But mostly, it's because of the comedic potential the program showed over it's first couple of years, which included the ability to go from comedy to high drama in an instant and make it look easy.
The eighth(and final?) season premiere was more comedic than dramatic (the second episode of the night, "My Last Words," demonstrates this balance quite well), but it showed that Lawrence was serious when he told critics that he was going to dial down the silly and get back to what made people like the show to begin with.
A lot of people -- fans included -- wonder how Scrubs has managed to get to an eighth season. After all, things weren't breaking its way at the end of what was supposed to be its seventh and final season: the writers' strike truncated the season, its network (NBC) no longer wanted the show, and, though the writing quality had picked up by the time the seventh season was cut short, it had declined enough that even the show's most ardent fans were wondering if it was time to put the show out of its misery.
But thanks to the efforts of Bill Lawrence and ABC Studios, Scrubs does live on, this time on ABC. And, after viewing the first two episodes of the new season, I'm happy to say that going to an eighth season was worth it. Lawrence told me that he wanted to get back to the humor and storytelling basics of the early seasons, and the episodes I saw show evidence of that.
By far, the funniest panel of ABC's first day at the press tour -- one that had Jimmy Kimmel question the network president and had Ashton Kutcher and his fellow producers bring up critics to play a miniature version of Opportunity Knocks -- was the one for Scrubs, which will air its eighth season on the network.
A panel with Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, and John C. McGinley couldn't help but be funny, right? But if you've ever read interviews from the show, you'd know that creator Bill Lawrence is usually the one who steals the show. This time around, though, he had an assist from Neil Flynn, who had a few good zingers thrown in for good measure. One of them came when someone asked him if he knows the name of his character, which for seven years has always been known as "The Janitor."
More after the jump, including an episode spoiler...
What's interesting about this news is that Ansari was also tapped to play one of the new interns on the eighth season of Scrubs, which is produced by and will now air on ABC. What I'm guessing is that, since Scrubs will finish shooting in August, this deal will start after his deal with the veteran medical comedy ends. If there happens to be a ninth season of the show, as Bill Lawrence told me might happen, I'd imagine he'd come back after his Universal deal ends or they'll just replace him with someone else.
That's what I got from him when I spoke to him earlier this week. Yes, we went over what happened with NBC after the writers' strike and how his show was able to make the shift to ABC. But, since he already spoke about that at length, we talked more about why NBC treated the show like it did, what creative shifts he's going to make to the show this year (expect to see less baby and relationship stuff this year, and more of the medical drama and comedy that got people hooked on the show). And, of course, he also dropped the mini-bombshell that I posted about earlier in the week, that there might be a ninth, "next generation" season of Scrubs.
I'll warn you right now, this is a long transcript, which is why we're splitting it into three parts. But it's got a lot of good information, and if you're patient, you'll find some interesting spoilers about what's going to happen next year on the show (production on eighth season should be wrapped up by August, according to Lawrence). So, buckle up and enjoy the ride...
Betsy Beutler is best known for her role as Joanie on the Black Donnellys. Eliza Coupe guest-starred on an episode of Flight of the Conchords and had a role on the prematurely canceled HBO series 12 Miles of Bad Road. Fans of MTV's Human Giant are already familiar with the comedic work of Aziz Ansari.
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to anyone that Human Giant, the new sketch comedy series for MTV, has been granted a second season.
In order to drum up more interest in the show, MTV turned the network over to the Human Giant men: Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer for 24 hours and told them they had to garner one million hits on their Web site if they wanted a second season. Of course, taking into consideration lines from the press release like, "fans can also show up in Times Square to deliver a pizza counting for 80 hits, or carving Paul Scheer's face into Mount Rushmore for the entire million hits" it's obvious the series was going to be renewed all along. Still, it's nice to hear an official announcement.
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