Videogum

Friday Fight: Parks And Recreation

gabe: did you like parks and recreation?
gabe: be honest
gabe: do not do that thing you do
gabe: where you pretend to like something you don’t like
gabe: out of some kind of moral obligation
lindsay: well, I was keeping expectations extremely low, so it surprised me with being less mediocre than I expected
lindsay: while still kind of mediocre
lindsay: but I knew it would be?
lindsay: Pilots are always weird.
lindsay: ALWAYS
lindsay: every pilot is weird
lindsay: except eastbound and down
gabe: the first episode of Eastbound and Down
gabe: changed things
lindsay: but every other pilot
gabe: that’s not a valid argument anymore


lindsay: haha
lindsay: jinx
lindsay: eastbound and down as an example jinx
lindsay: I’m sure if parks and recreation could have had a naked waterskiiing scene, they would.

gabe: jetskiing
gabe: PAY ATTENTION
lindsay: sorry!
lindsay: yes
lindsay: but you know what surprised me about parks and recreation?
lindsay: they’re making leslie a kind of crazy slut?
gabe: what is that, lindsay?
lindsay: which is great?
lindsay: it’s a little bit shocking for prime time network tv
lindsay: still
lindsay: especially for a show that seems like it’s pandering a little bit to what it thinks americans want
gabe: obviously there are lots of shows that start out rough and get really great later on
gabe: and i have no problem with personally extending parks and recreation a ton of good will
gabe: but there ARE shows that start out great
gabe: West Wing, for example
gabe: first episode of that was already a winner

lindsay: That was another time!
lindsay: Look at 30 Rock, though
lindsay: I remember feeling awkward and weird about the pilot.
lindsay: But now, you look back
lindsay: and it’s all there – all of the elements that make the show great are there in the pilot
lindsay: there’s just an adjustment that you have to go through with a new show
lindsay: also, if you tend to like weird stuff, they can’t do that with the first episode on a network
lindsay: they have to be as broad as possible
gabe: that’s such a weird, network-y attitude to have
gabe: you are basically a spokesperson for NBC
gabe: i mean, i think you’re right that there are certain realities that have to be faced for a show to survive
gabe: on a major scale
gabe: but i also think that it’s weird to say that a show has to be boring and mediocre
lindsay: I’m not saying it’s how it should be!
lindsay: no
gabe: well, you’re kind of saying that
lindsay: I don’t think it needed to be that mediocre.
gabe: Arrested Development, another great pilot
gabe: also: Friday Night Lights
gabe: all shows with outstanding first episodes
lindsay: haha
lindsay: all shows with terrible ratings
gabe: well, since i don’t make any money off of a show’s success
lindsay: in fact, all of our good pilot examples have bad ratings
gabe: i personally do not care about ratings
lindsay: me neither
gabe: that argument is completely beside the point
lindsay: I said, it didn’t have to be as mediocre as it was
gabe: that’s like saying that Extreme Makeover is good
gabe: because it did really well in the target demo
gabe: last week
lindsay: but it is something to notice
lindsay: come on the itch stick guy was hilarious
lindsay: the itch stick!
lindsay: what was on the end of it? gross!
lindsay: that was the best part for me
gabe: no, the itch stick guy was funny
gabe: not hilarious
gabe: that’s the problem
gabe: the highlight of the show was “funny”
lindsay: it didn’t last long enough
gabe: nothing was hilarious
gabe: oh come on, it lasted long enough
gabe: there was plenty of itch-stick guy
gabe: in the pilot of Parks and Recreation
gabe: it is not Itch Stick Guy and Recreation
lindsay: they should make the entire show about the itch stick guy
lindsay: and aziz
gabe: it is weird how the show is basically a spin-off of the office but isn’t a spin-off of the office
gabe: there is a lot of cognitive dissonance there
gabe: i mean, there’s already a Jim and a Michael Scott
gabe: basically
gabe: plus the shaky-cam fauxumentary
lindsay: yes
lindsay: I think we should find out that leslie knope is michael scott’s half sister
gabe: the thing is, the UK Office
gabe: actually made contextual sense
lindsay: though that would cause problems with rashida jones
gabe: because the BBC had already run documentary shows
gabe: like The Airport
gabe: and there was one about a cruise ship I think?
lindsay: yeah, I think they’ll explain though
lindsay: like maybe next week we’ll actually meet the crew
gabe: and here it’s already detached from that just on The Office
gabe: it’s missing that extra element
gabe: so to then divorce it further into this weird subset
gabe: with cross-over acting from Rashida Jones
gabe: it’s weird
gabe: the show feels kind of weird
lindsay: well we’re supposed to feel uncomfortable
gabe: haha, that’s NOT what i’m talking about
lindsay: so maybe they’re not making us uncomfortable enough
gabe: the show is not uncomfortable
gabe: the show is weird
lindsay: like, it just feels like an awkward show
gabe: it is weird for structural reasons
gabe: and that makes me worry
gabe: that it’s not just PIlot Blues
lindsay: I guess I believe in the team behind it enough that I think they probably have tricks up their sleeve.
lindsay: that next week will be really different
lindsay: I mean, they have to be one step ahead, right?
gabe: one can hope
lindsay: this can’t be all there is.
gabe: but they’ve definitely painted themselves into some corners
lindsay: I mean that literally: I don’t believe it is.
gabe: you did not mean that figuratively
gabe: as in Parks and Recreation is a metaphor for the universe
lindsay: well it sounds really insulting to the show
lindsay: when what I mean is I trust them more
gabe: god forbid
lindsay: I’m really naive
lindsay: and idealistic about television
gabe: god forbid you insult people making hundreds and thousands of dollars to provide entertainment to millions of people
gabe: in an IM conversation
lindsay: that they will never see
lindsay: right
lindsay: no, I just don’t want to be wrong later
lindsay: when the show takes crazy turns
gabe: well, you could still be wrong later now
gabe: if the show DOESN’T take crazy turns
lindsay: it’s true
lindsay: but I believe it will
gabe: the possibility to be wrong in the future is CONSTANT
gabe: LIVE IN THE NOW
gabe: i don’t think there is anyone in the entire world
gabe: who thinks “Lindsay Robertson hates Parks and Recreation and is giving it no good will towards finding its footing and being one of her favorite shows of all time yay!”
gabe: there are few certainties in this world
gabe: but your undying devotion towards Thursday night NBC comedies is one of them
lindsay: hahaaha
lindsay: EVEN KATH AND KIM.
lindsay: wow
lindsay: it’s like ben silverman is my boyfriend
gabe: seriously, i don’t even know why you’re here, you should be working in NBC’s publicity department. you’d probably make more $$$$$
lindsay: maybe I do!
gabe: look, everyone wants amy poehler and aziz ansari to succeed

gabe: i’m also a paul schneider fan
lindsay: I figured
gabe: but i don’t think that it’s inappropriate to remind this show
gabe: that IT BETTER DRUMLINE
lindsay: I think the show is going to take a turn for being about personal lives more than boring government
lindsay: hence the “recreation”
gabe: haha, nice close read of the sitcom title
gabe: you should be a professor of Sitcom Title Semantics
gabe: the argument that pilots are always bad just doesn’t float for me anymore
gabe: and that doesn’t mean i won’t give shows more than a pilot
gabe: OF COURSE I WILL
gabe: I’M NOT A MONSTER
gabe: but it still makes me wonder why a show isn’t great out of the gate
gabe: it’s been proven that that’s possible
lindsay: I can’t think of a show I totally loved out of the gate other than eastbound
gabe: a show will almost inevitably get better as you get more involved with it and understand the characters more deeply
gabe: but if you don’t get there in the first couple of episodes
gabe: it makes me wonder why not
lindsay: true
lindsay: look at two and a half men.
lindsay: the first episode had only four or five punchlines about semen said in front of a chiild!
gabe: haha
lindsay: Are you going to watch parks and recreation next week?
gabe: yes
gabe: of course i am
lindsay: ok, me too
gabe: ok
gabe: so did we do it?
gabe: did we solve entertainment?