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Parks and Recreation Season 2, Episode 5: "Sister City" - Review

It's wonderful how this week's episode of Parks & Recreation could start off so hilariously prejudiced and then flip the tables around and provide a whole new level of comic bigotry. In "Sister City," Leslie (Amy Poehler) makes the mistake of thinking that the visiting Venezuelan Parks Department officials will be blown away by the luxury of Pawnee, Indiana when, in fact, they're accustomed to a life of power and splendor that puts Pawnee to shame. And not only are they used to a certain opulence, but they think any woman they see is theirs for the taking. And bedding. It was a funny twist that didn't completely wear itself out, although it came close. The trouble with bringing in a funny guest star like Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen as the foreign Parks Director is that it runs the risk of overshadowing your series regulars. The upside of the deal is that Fred was very funny, and the people he over-shadowed were characters that aren't really a laugh-riot to being with. Ann (Rashida Jones) and Mark (Paul Schneider) were pretty much side-lined this episode, and there was no room at all for Chris Pratt's Andy (who is funny, actually). Maybe that's, in fact, how Parks has improved the most this year. They only use characters as needed and don't feel bad about shoe-horning them in when it isn't necessary. Nick Offerman's Ron didn't have much to do in this episode either, but thinking back, now I see that the times that he has been more involved in Season 2, he's been amazingly funny - which is something I couldn't say at all about his character in Season 1. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Parks and Recreation Season 2, Episode 4: "The Practice Date" - Review

Parks & Recreation was able to find a winning formula this week with the very funny and surprising "The Practice Date." I loved watching both Ann (Rashida Jones) and Mark (Paul Schneider) split off from each other and enter into the "insane Olympics" with everyone else. That's not to say that these two aren't the dry, eye-rolling characters on the show, but it was definitely a step forward having them enter into, shall we say, "antics." Just the fact that it was Ann's idea to take the nervous Leslie (Amy Poehler) out on a practice first date to prepare her for her first outing with Dave was unexpected. They were able to make it work by having the practice date actually be the lesser of two evils - with Leslie's plan being to wear a hidden ear-piece that Ann would speak into. Then, while on the date, Ann gets a little spark of ingenuity and decides to scare the crap out of Leslie by being the worst fake date ever. Rashida Jones is sexy and funny, but a lot of her humor is subtle and thankless. This was a good chance to see her let her comedic hair down, so to speak. I also really liked Mark joining in on the "Who Can Uncover The Worst Dirt?" contest. In fact, it was a good idea to have all the Parks and Recreation office bees come together for a hilarious, and somewhat mean spirited and damaging contest. The show is trying on new dynamics and they've mostly been a good fit. I loved the fact that Jerry (Jim O'Heir) objects to the contest, but then feebly tries to enter it, only to get absolutely destroyed by a dark secret that he didn't even know he had. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Parks and Recreation Season 2, Episode 3: "Beauty Pageant" - Review

I'm glad that Parks & Recreation has ventured out to explore other Pawnee, Indiana happenings other than those that revolve around "The Pit," but a beauty pageant seems almost too much of an obvious jokey event. It almost mocks itself. It's already sort of a grotesque Americana spectacle that creeps us out. Throwing Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) in there as judges made for quite a predictable episode, even though I'm still in favor of pairing them up more. I've never been a huge fan of Nick Offerman's Ron character, but he made me laugh so much last week that I was kind of upset to see him written out of this one. April (Aubrey Plaza), Ron's hilarious partner in crime last week, was great this week, entering the Miss Pawnee Pageant in order to win 600 bucks. For some reason, the moment that stands out as the greatest to me in "Beauty Pageant" was April doing her dry impression of her sister as her talent and causing the oldest, most lecherous judge to laugh hysterically. It was amazing. I do wish that April had a funnier capper to her story. It was so great that I really wanted a better ending than her just quitting and walking out. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Parks and Recreation Season 2, Episode 2: "The Stakeout" - Review

It will be interesting to see how Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) eventually deals with the budding relationship between Ann (Rashida Jones) and Mark (Paul Schneider). During "The Stakeout" there seemed to be a momentary disturbance in her force when she unintentionally witnesses them going out on a date together, but all the rest of the signs point to the fact that she might just be fine with them as a couple. For now. There's even a possible love interest introduced in this episode in the form of "by-the-book" Police Officer Dave (Louis CK), who by the end of the episode winds up expressing his attraction for Leslie in a one of those docu-confessional moments. Again, it's best not to over-analyze why this documentary crew would be interviewing the police officer. It's what the show is. "The Stakeout" continued Parks new Season 2 streak of being significantly funnier than Season 1. I'm not chalking any of this up to any sort of tremendous character moments; it's just that the jokes are better. Plain and simple. Ron is still Ron (Nick Offerman) and April (Aubrey Plaza) is still April. Both of them are droll and apathetic, but their interaction in this episode, concerning Ron's hernia, was hilarious. "It's just a minor medical issue," Ron winces as he sits paralyzed in his chair. "AIDS?" April asks. Wow. Great stuff. These characters don't have much to offer, but when put together, their super dry sarcasm creates a mountain of funny. To Read More Click Here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Fall Things Reconsidered: Wednesday & Thursday TV - Featured

The return of the fall TV season is always full of promise, much like every New Year's Eve! And, also like New Year's, we have great hopes for what's ahead, but often find many great and disappointing surprises along the way. So, now that we're fully into the fall season, here at SideReel we've found there are some new and returning shows we thought would be awesome but have turned into letdowns, and some shows we expected to be flops but have become surprising new favs! Earlier this week, Kendra reconsidered The Good Wife , House , The Cleveland Show and Trauma . Now I'm taking a look at some shows from Wednesday and Thursday! Better Than Expected: Eastwick - In my ABC Fall Preview , I was convinced that Eastwick was a poor man's Charmed . The show received pretty much universally negative reviews from critics and was frequently identified as ABC's worst new Fall show. Here's the thing: Eastwick has turned out to be neither of those things. In a line, I'd call the show " Lipstick Jungle (hey, it even has LJ's Lindsay Price) meets Desperate Housewives meets just a wee bit of Charmed ". I was afraid that the witches and magic stuff would all seem too hokey (and again, all done before), but the show has done a good job of incorporating its magic/mystery element in an entertaining, but not overwhelming way. What's more, the witchcraft has taken a backseat to the friendship of the 3 main female characters (hence the Lipstick Jungle vibe) and a general "this town has a mystery" plot (hence the Desperate Housewives vibe) - which I think was a smart way to go. I'm not going to say that Eastwick is necessarily great TV, but it has turned out to be surprisingly entertaining - and possesses just enough magic to make me want to keep coming back to it each week. Parks & Recreation - I watched the abbreviated first season of P&R last Spring mainly out of allegiance to Amy Poehler (whom I love love love ), despite the fact that I wasn't particularly enjoying it. Here was the problem: the show was initially pitched as an Office spinoff, and then that morphed into "not The Office , but Office-like". This ended up becoming the show's biggest problem, as opposed to its fool-proof launchpad to success, because P&R really did just seem like "bad The Office " - and nothing more. But, since its second season has started, P&R has managed to distance itself, its characters and its plotlines from The Office - and now that it has found its own voice - it's actually quite funny! The show is still not perfect; I kind of wish that it wasn't mockumentary-style - to completely cut the cord from further Office comparisons. Furthermore, it seems as though they are not quite sure what to do with Rashida Jones, which is a shame (Chris Pratt in the pit, however, has been comedic gold). But, if you gave up on P&R after last Spring, I highly recommend that you reconsider, because as far as I'm concerned, it has evolved into a delightful 30 minutes of comedy! Worse Than Expected: Cougar Town - Ah Cougar Town . I so hoped that you would funnier than you are. From the previews, I actually thought that they show looked pretty funny. Then I watched the pilot , and while I didn't think that Cougar Town was particularly good from the get-go, I thought that it showed some promise, if for no other reason than because it comes from the hilarious Bill Lawrence, who created Scrubs . But now I have given the show 4 solid episodes to grow and um...as far as I'm concerned...each episode has only gotten worse. I love Courteney Cox - but her character is just not believable, even by sitcom standards. A) She's too attractive to play this role and B) Her various neuroses are so overdone that they come off as not funny, but pathetic and painful to watch. In fact, I get a "trying too hard" vibe from her entire character - though I don't think that this is Cox's fault, so much as the way it is written (which is badly). Furthermore, as I mentioned in my pilot review, I dislike many of the show's supporting characters - particularly the ex-husband - and this has only grown from week to week. However, the show has already been picked up for a full season - so plenty of people are watching each week. But I will no longer be one of them... Community - Before you jump all over me for putting Community into this column, please keep in mind that I still think the show is Fall's second best new comedy (after Modern Family , of course). For me, however, Community has been a victim of overhype. I thought that it looked so funny and so promising from all of the 3 minute preview clips that I watched (which btw, ruined all of the pilot's funniest moments), that perhaps I raised my expectations to a level that was unfairly high. Yes, some of the jokes are funny, but for me, just as many of them have fallen flat. I think that because the show appears in NBC's Thursday night lineup of offbeat/kooky comedy that I expected it to be more offbeat than it actually is. Community is more of a conventional sitcom - which is fine - but at the same time - the jokes that don't work for me are the ones that come off as too sitcom-y. I'm also not sure if I can deal with another developing long-term "will they/won't they" relationship - a la Jeff and Brita. Actually, I think Brita is a little bland as a whole. Again, don't get me wrong, there's a whole lot worse out there than Community , but as I tune in each week, I find myself watching a show that I don't believe is living up to its potential...yet. How about you guys? What Wednesday and Thursday TV shows have you found yourselves reconsidering...and liking more - or less - than you expected you would?

PARKS AND RECREATIONS "Canvassing" Review

Fool me once, NBC, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Tonight's second episode of Parks and Recreations confirmed that Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was manufactured to be exactly the same as Michael Scott from The Office . I honestly had to do a double taken to make sure it wasn't Steve Carell in a blonde wig. She even got the cringe factor in there during the public forum! It was very similar to the "Lecture Circuit" debacle from The Office. I think Tom (Aziz Ansari), is intended to be the "Jim" of the show (smarter than Leslie, oddly handsome, looks at the camera a lot). Also, let me be clear about something. It's not that I dislike this show because it's a rip off; I dislike it because it's a bad rip off. I don't mind me a good rip off when it's done correctly (examples: RC Cola, Family Guy, Elvis, Del Taco). BUT, if you are going to steal somebody else's idea, at least try to make it better. That's what the 'American' Office did. I think what makes The Office so successful is the large cast of awesome characters. Every scene is hilarious and each character brings something to the show. This is what Parks is lacking. Ansari and Jones are great supporting actors, but the show is still falling short on laughs. That's not to say it didn't have its moments, I definitely laughed at least once (I think it was the band name "Just The Tip"). However, without better characters and dialogue to carry it from start to finish, I can't see the show lasting. Now that I think of it, wasn't "Just The Tip" a line from Wedding Crashers? Sigh... I give this show 4 more episodes before its canned. Source here

Hilarious!

Im a huge fan of The Office, and of course there were similarities, but this show was great. Amy Poehler was extremely funny and so was the rest of the cast. I look forward to the next episode of what will be a great show.

Not that good!

It really wasn't that good of a pilot. It looked too much like The Office .. and after this show I'd rather waste my time watching The Office. Let's just say this was not 'time well wasted'. It's almost seems like they took the Michael Scott character from The Office and spliced into a few different characters with the inappropriate too touchy person, to the idiotic kind of makes you wonder how they got a job like this person .. I don't see this show being on the air for too long, specially if the office is still on. The only good thing about this show is Rashida Jones and the annoying Aziz Ansari.