Parks and Recreation vs. The Office

Infographic by Gabriella Backus

Gabriella Backus

Infographic by Gabriella Backus

Amara Del Prato, Entertainment Editor

“The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” are both timeless mockumentaries overflowing with countless comedic and heartwarming moments — but there’s no denying which show is superior: “The Office.”
Although “The Office” aired its final episode nearly six years ago, today it holds the title of the most-watched television show on Netflix, even trumping the classic ’90s sitcom “Friends.”
As most watchers of “Riverdale” know, a show’s popularity doesn’t always speak to its overall quality — but “The Office” deserves the attention it gets.
The show centers around the antics and adventures of Michael Scott, the regional manager for a small paper company in Scranton, Penn. His egotistic and dim-witted (yet surprisingly lovable) personality gets him into all kinds of trouble at his branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
The other characters are just as comical, and their differing personalities make for some interesting dynamics. Dwight Schrute is an annoying and gullible salesman (and volunteer sheriff’s deputy, as he mentions multiple times) who time and time again falls for his coworker Jim Halpert’s creative pranks, which Jim pulls off to impress the receptionist, Pam Beesly.
To be fair, “Parks and Recreation” also has an abundance of likable characters and entertaining dynamics. Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Ind., is fiercely ambitious, but she has almost childish expectations for her social and work life. Like Michael, she can be mildly delusional when it comes to her ego, but her passion for her work makes up for it.
However, “Parks and Recreation” is a show centered mainly around feel-good moments. There is no shortage of comedy, but the repetition of the same moral dilemmas and the same happy endings can become boring and slightly cheesy. “The Office” is able to sprinkle in these moments while still staying true to its focus on comedy.
The type of comedy present in these shows is also different. The mockumentary style that the two shows are both structured upon is unique and clever; it causes viewers to feel as though they are watching a real documentary featuring real people, making the experience more relatable and immersive. However, “Parks and Recreation” slowly deviated from this style over time. The characters became seemingly less and less aware of the camera each season, and by season five, the only resemblance “Parks and Recreation” had to a mockumentary was the cutaway interviews that appeared every few minutes.
“The Office” consistently maintains this feeling of immersion throughout the series, often using the characters’ awareness of the camera to make jokes. Jim likes to look directly at the camera after any of his coworkers say anything particularly unintelligent (which happens frequently), and this pointed look has become trademark of the series.
“The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” are both beloved and entertaining shows with unique styles of comedy that make them worth the watch. However, “The Office” is a classic, unique show that is able to draw a new generation of viewers in while still keeping old viewers hitting replay.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email