Whenever you think of shows to watch on Netflix, the two most common shows that come up are The Office and Parks and Rec, both produced by legendary TV producer Micheal Schur. The man is a genius for creating both of these incredible, thought-provoking shows. But, which one is better?
Now, I personally have watched each show around two times the whole way through. There are some people who have watched the show in the double digits, but unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I decided to give my own take on this debate, and answer this question once and for all, analyzing the fundamental aspects of the shows. Here’s my take:
I think that Parks and Rec takes the win. Parks and Rec did more to develop their characters, especially their non-main protagonists. It seems like some Office characters were merely ploys to move the plot along to what the audience wants. For example, Karen seems like Jim’s rebound once Pam rejects him, and that’s all she really contributes to the plot. Similarly, we did not learn much about Katie’s personality from the first season. While the Office has some of the most complex characters ever seen in American television, Parks and Rec seems to present the duality of each main character throughouly. 1-0 P & R.
The Office has better humor than Parks and Rec, mainly because of its willingness to outside the box in terms of its humor. The Office can make anyone laugh, because it appeals to both younger, more immature viewers through silly actions, and older, more mature viewers through repeatable dilemmas, especially in the workplace. That doesn’t translate for Parks and Recreation. All tied up.
It’s kind of a tie for this one, but I’ll give it to Parks and Rec. To be fair, both had dramatic changes that forced characters to understand themselves and support each other in order to succeed. Leslie Knope’s campaign. Jim and Pam’s relationship. Michael and Holly. The list of examples goes on and on, but the main distinction here is it being effective. You can have an interesting plots with lots of complex events happening at the same time, and yet viewers don’t necessarily like that. It just seemed like Parks and Rec made the timeline of events more easy to follow, which made viewers want to understand more. This was kind of close, and the plot is dependent upon relationships as a factor. I’ll get into relationships later. 2-1 P & R.
Parks and Rec barely takes the win, mainly based on season 9 of the Office, but also based on the lack of interesting events in their relationship. Parks and Rec kept it dynamic and quirky with Leslie and Ben, and the show always got you to root for a couple in the end. In contrast, once Pam and Jim get married, it’s almost as if relationships on the show became more boring and more inevitable to fade out. This gets into the issues of Season 8 and 9, which further indicates the mess of relationships in the Office.
Seasons 8 and 9 of the Office are a mess, as they were trying to compensate for Micheal Scott leaving the show with more intense drama. As a result, the overall atmosphere was hectic and somewhat unorganized, especially season 9. Jim and Pam both made mistakes that led to their hostile relationship. For instance, Jim did not tell Pam about his Philly job or how much money he initially invested in Athlead, and Pam did seem to support Jim following his dreams even though Jim did support Pam earlier. Yes, the situation has changed, but the same moral principle at heart was being expressed. Pam’s saga with Brian is just appalling, and it contributes to the screwing up of Season 9. Andy and Erin fell apart, because the writers spontaneously ruined his character, making him a complete jerk.
While on paper, the score is towards Parks and Rec, as the more feasible option. In my mind, however, the Office takes the W. American society prioritizes comedy in TV shows, and the creativity of the jokes on The Office was absolutely outstanding! To others, it may seem that relationships and the story itself drive people to watch Parks and Rec, as every good TV show typically indicates both idealized relationships and fascinating plot. As a person who sees TV as a depiction of our lives, I value a show that has characters who are human and realistic, where I can analyze my own life and see the parallels between their lives and mine. These aspects make a show more enjoyable and fascinating to watch and understand for me, and as a result, that is why The Office triumphs over Parks and Rec. It’s not that the Office had bad characters or an uninteresting plot, but the humor on the show makes me so willing to come back and watch clips for the sake of good laughs.
Feel free to dispute me in the comments! And as always, check back to The Roundup for more viewpoints on American television & film!