Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Olympics, you aren't as amusing as Ron Fucking Swanson

Many people have been watching the Olympics. That’s fine. Some people like watching the endless hours of sports they wouldn’t watch normally. People should probably stop being delusional and acting as if they’d give a damn about (insert random ski event) at any time between the quad-yearly events.

What the Olympians do is amazing. There is no doubt that they kick some ass at what they are doing. I by no means am saying that the athletes aren’t legitimate or they don’t deserve some recognition. I am saying that I can’t genuinely follow them just because there is nothing else to watch.

That’s partially my point of this entire blog entry. The past week has left a void in my life. Quality television has been at an abysmal level this past ten days. All I ask for is that my favorite shows air some brand new episodes. The biggest problem of this all is that the best show on television airs on the network that is banking their year’s budget on the success of the Olympics. That means I have to wait until next week to get my fix.

Hold on one second there, tiger. You are probably assuming that I am talking about “The Office”, “30 Rock”, or one of those ever stale “Law and Order” shows. Well, it is safe to say I am not referring to “Law and Order”. I can’t watch more than ten minutes of any of those shows without feeling as if I am watching a rerun. “The Office” has been off its game since the middle of last season. They’ve taken their lovable Jim Halpert (John Krasinksi) and turned him into an unlikable tool job. In fact, I’d rather watch Sarah Palin in a geography-bee than see Jim try to play manager again. It was awful and uncomfortable and not the kind of uncomfortable that “The Office” did exceptionally well.

Now I can’t really say anything critical about “30 Rock”. It is as funny as one could ask for, but I just don’t think it is the best show on television. The show now firmly in my crosshairs as the best is “Parks and Recreation”.

Now I don’t mean it is just the best comedy. I mean that it is the best show on network television period. That is saying a lot from a guy who has been in love with “Lost” for the past five year. Right now I can’t think of one show firing on all cylinders like “Parks” currently is. Now I know what you are saying to yourself. “Wasn’t Parke and Recreation that bland Office rip-off?” I can’t say that you are wrong with such a statement. Season one was a six episode heap of disappointment. Amy Poehler’s character of Leslie Knope was a lite beer version of Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott. To put it simply, “Parks” had not found its own identity and was set to get dumped real quick if it didn’t gain some momentum.

The season premiere of its second season brought a creative spark from this mockumentary comedy about small town government. The show found its own niche in taking plausible situations any small town citizen could relate to and adding its own twist. In other words, it became something to identify with. “Parks” became the kind of show that was funny because you’ve been there before.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in “Parks and Recreation” is the character development. They have created a cast of characters so diverse and amusing that anyone could deliver the punch line. On top of that, the show has become self aware of all the characters’ flaws. They know that the character of Mark (Paul Schneider) is a little boring, so they poke fun and exploit that fact. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) does some douche-bag things, but not to a level where he is a caricature. However, you forgive those indiscretions when he has moments of brilliance such as DJ Roomba (go ahead and youtube that). Even the “minor” characters have a lot to show. Andy (Chris Pratt), April (Aubrey Plaza), Donna (Retta), and Jerry (Jim O’Heir) are just gold whenever they utter a line.

Amy Poehler deserves a lot of credit for transforming Leslie Knope from a half-witted deputy director of the Pawnee Parks department into a competent and occasionally overzealous woman of politics. Once her character wasn’t written as a complete dunce, the show found its groove. It was no longer a show about her weekly misadventures. Leslie Knope became the solid anchor for chaos and tomfoolery to ensue around her while occasionally being misguided by her own ambition. Now she is the one rolling her eyes at the ridiculous bullshit she sees around her rather than being the one we roll our eyes at.

Let’s cut to the chase, folks. All that stuff I just raved about is as true as true gets, but all of it pales into comparison to the most awesome component of “Parks and Recreation”. This pillar of kick-ass is known as Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). Ron Fucking Swanson, as he once dubbed himself, is by the far the best written character on television. He is a bad ass. He is funny. He likes bacon, especially when it is served at a strip club breakfast buffet. In a nut shell, he is the epitome of an awesome and iconic character that we will remember for years to come. He is the guy you end up quoting every Friday morning. For example, let’s take a gander at some of the best lines uttered by Ron Swanson:

“I got my first job when I was 9. Worked at a sheet metal factory. In two weeks, I was running the floor. Child labor laws are ruining this country.”

“On my deathbed, my final wish is to have my ex-wives rush to my side so I can use my dying breath to tell them both to go to hell one last time.”

Regarding his ex wife: “Every time she laughs, an angel dies. Even telemarketers avoid her. Her birth was payback for the sins of man. But you know the worst thing about her? She works for the library.”

“I would prefer that she ask me for my permission so I could say no. I like saying no. It lowers their enthusiasm.”

Try to tell that those aren’t gems. If there is one character that will get you on board with “Parks and Recreation” it is Ron Swanson. Trust me on that.

I think I have summed up my points on why “Parks and Recreation” is currently the best show on television. They are on a real roll right now. The show is topical, witty, and carries the occasional does of heart. That’s rare for a television show these days. Perhaps we should all embrace it before NBC cancels it for some stupid reality show about people getting married to their pets.

You laugh now, but it is not impossible. NBC is capable of everything. Right, Conan?

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