zon.com/e/cm?t=oklahgazet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B002N5N5PM&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr” style=”width: 120px; height: 240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″> Universal Studios Home Entertainment has the audacity to slap the quote “This is the funniest show on television” on the back of the box of “Parks and Recreation.” So good thing it really is!
While I’m still an unapologetic fan of the series’ abbreviated, foot-finding first season, “Parks and Rec” really came into its own from the start of its sophomore season, better and stronger than ever, and showing up “The Office” week after week. Still anchored by Amy Poehler’s go-for-broke performance as Leslie Knope, the ever-cheery public servant of lil’ Pawnee, Ind., the show benefits from moving city planner Mark (Paul Schneider) to the fringes, allowing to bump up screen time for clueless schlub Andy (Chris Pratt) and, especially, sullen emo intern April (Aubrey Plaza, forever redefining droll).
But the MVP? That’s the man with the mustache: Leslie’s boss, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who works hard to not work at all. That Offerman has yet to be recognized by Emmy voters for even a nomination is a crime; in this set, he’s the catalyst for the series’ funniest half-hour yet, in which he reignites an old flame with his ex, the town librarian (played by his real-life wife, Megan Mullally, in a guest spot that deserves a second go-round).
Lucky for viewers, the second funniest episode is also here, as Leslie’s horny colleague, Tom (Aziz Ansari), steals the show at the Miss Pawnee beauty pageant. So is the third, in which a penguin wedding Leslie sets up as an innocent PR stunt inadvertently spirals into a gay-marriage controversy.
Should “Parks and Rec” continue down this path, it has the potential to one day achieve classic sitcom status. It’ll be interesting to see where the upcoming third season, debuting in January, goes; the final few eps of season two shake things up with the arrival of state bean counters Adam Scott and Rob Lowe to slash budgets and personnel.
As with “The Office,” with which “Parks and Rec” shares creators and the discomfort-comedy mockumentary template, the four-disc set is riddled with so many deleted scenes “ and good ones “ that several full episodes could be cobbled together from them. You also get a 15-minute blooper reel that makes me want to work there, a live performance from Mouse Rat (Andy’s rock band with the numerous name changes) and some punchy promos that promoted NBC’s airing of the Winter Olympics. (Watch for the bloody one.)
Last but not least, there’s a great sketch with ?uestlove from The Roots introducing Wu-Tang Clan’s The RZA auditioning for the part that eventually went to Poehler. Absurd touches like are what make “Parks and Rec” so deliciously golden. “Rod Lott