Why I Love Parks and Recreation More than The Office

A mockumentary is a motion picture or television program that takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject. Prominent mockumentaries include The Office and Parks and Recreation, and while it may come down to simple preference, I’d argue that the superior mockumentary is definitely, 100% Parks and Recreation.

Parks and Recreation revolves around Leslie Knope’s three loves- friends, work, and waffles -  while "The Office" functions on mishaps, awkwardness and discomfort. I honestly enjoy "The Office" as well, and I think it is absolutely hilarious. But when I want my spirits lifted or faith in humanity restored, "Parks and Recreation" is my go-to. 

Emphasis on Friendships

Both shows are very similar in that they are both mockumentaries about workplaces full of diverse and peculiar people with an upbeat passionate boss, but Parks and Recreation puts a unique emphasis on friendships and relationships. While Michael Scott works extremely hard to earn the approval of his friends, Leslie Knope goes out of her way to make everyone feel special to her regardless of how they might react to her affection. 

The show emphasizes healthy relationships so much that even Jerry/Larry/Lenny/Terry/Barry/Gerry has a beautiful family. Toby from The Office has nobody! Parks and Recreation gives us the inside scoop on every character’s life. Every character has an important and specific relationship with the other characters of the show. It shows the evolution of their relationships, personalities, and careers, while they are still true to their specific identities and the roles they contribute to the workplace and friendship dynamic.

 

Character Development

[SPOILERS] I am so delighted to have seen April Ludgate grow to be a caring mother of two who found her calling at the American Service Foundation. Tom Haverford became a successful restaurant owner after many failures of being an entrepreneur. Andy Dwyer becomes Johnny Karate! One of my favorite things about Parks and Recreation is that Season 7, the finale season, makes sense according to the characters’ personalities, relationships, and aspirations. 

I adore Michael Scott, Jim and Pam, Dwight, and all the other characters on The Office. But I feel that some of the characters are forgotten or unimportant. There are also a lot of characters that came and went. The show was funny all throughout, but I didn’t get to invest in the smaller characters as much as I did with the minor characters in Parks and Recreation. In fact, I don’t feel that any of the people working in Pawnee City Hall were truly “minor characters.” I was even invested in Jean-Ralphio Saperstein.

 

Work Ethic

Another reason why I enjoyed watching Parks and Recreation is because of how Leslie Knope took her job seriously and found utter happiness in doing it well - especially with her closest friends. I appreciate her dedication and pursuit towards her career goals. She has a lot of love to give and a lot of work to be done. Sometimes it becomes a problem when Leslie becomes a “steamroller,” but ultimately, she is deeply admired and respected because of it.

On another token, I also appreciate how the characters in The Office make the most out of working with Dunder Mifflin. They had the Dundies, Office Olympics, and countless other parties. Contrary to Parks and Recreation, however, the fact that Dunder Mifflin was specifically a paper company wasn’t as much of a driving force to the plot of The Office as it was essential to Parks and Recreation that the characters worked in the Parks and Recreation Department of the Pawnee government.

Parks and Recreation Wins!

Overall, I am a fan of both mockumentaries. They both make me laugh out loud, and they’re both iconic. They’re so hilarious that I still see gifs and screencaps of them; some one-liners are funny with or without context. What sets Parks and Recreation apart for me is that every single detail in the show contributes to the characters’ identities and/or their relationships with each other.