The Office vs. Parks and Recreation

Colleen White, Staff Writer

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There’s a question that’s on every TV lover’s mind. Which sitcom is better, The Office or Parks and Recreation? Both shows are iconic and have hilarious dialogue but, *drum roll* Parks and Recreation is the better show. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Michael Scott and his co-workers, but I recently re-watched Parks and Rec and I have to say, Parks and Rec outshines The Office in many ways. The writers of both shows, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (who plays Dwight’s weird cousin Mose), knew exactly what they were doing when they created another “mockumentary” style show.  From Lil’ Sebastian to Treat Yo’self-day, and the best character ever created, Jean Ralphio, Parks and Rec is filled with tons of comedy gold.

I can’t deny The Office’s humor and talent of the cast. You can’t beat season five’s “Stress Relief” where Michael is learning first aid techniques and Dwight pulls a Silence of the Lambs on the dummy. Also, you can’t go through your Twitter feed without seeing a gif or reference from the show. The show had nine seasons and had great ratings for every season because more people watched the show than Parks and Rec. The Office had a lot of bad episodes during the nine seasons though. I say to people who haven’t watched the show, “You have to get to the good episodes.”

The Office is widely believed to be in Netflix’s top three of most watched shows. Parks and Rec is on Netflix as well, but you don’t see the same passion for the show. The Office fans claim Michael Scott is better than Leslie Knope because his jokes worked better and he constantly was messing around. Also, the show “apparently” had a better cast than Parks. The characters were relatable and they bounced off of each other. Except for Dwight, the characters represent the different types of people dealt with in the workplace. They are realistic characters in a lot of realistic situations, that’s why the cast is loved so much. The Office relies on cringe humor. For example, the second episode of the first season “Diversity Day,” which has Michael being extremely racist without even knowing it. Cringe-worthy humor is definitely a personal preference. That’s why we won’t be seeing a reunion according to Steve Carell; the comedy is too controversial.

On the other hand, Parks and Rec has the better cast hands down. We got introduced to the incredibly funny Aziz Ansari, and Chris Pratt went from a poorly dressed man-child singing about a miniature horse to Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy. In my opinion, the characters are just more likeable and funnier. Plus, there were a bunch of celebrity guest stars to keep the storyline interesting as well, from Andy Samberg and Paul Rudd, to Michelle Obama playing herself. Also, the relationships between the characters grow and develop through the show, especially Ron and Leslie. Jim and Dwight just keep butting heads and pulling pranks, with that being the majority of their friendship. April and Ann’s relationship actually develops. April always insults Ann, but eventually when Ann leaves Pawnee, April expresses affection for her. The Office also wasn’t consistent at all. There were so many great episodes but so many ones where I  just have them on for background noise while I’m doing homework. Also, in Parks and Recreation, you learn way more about Pawnee than you do about Scranton. We learn tiny pieces about Scranton, but Parks and Rec created an entire community from scratch, from JJ’s Diner and the Library where Ron’s ex wife Tammy works, to the competing town Eagleton. Personally, I was far more invested in Parks and Rec than The Office.

I enjoyed both shows and I will gladly rewatch them again. Even though The Office was the stepping stone for “mockumentary” type comedies and had better ratings, Parks and Rec will always outshine The Office.