April 26th, 2009
One of the downfalls of my trip to California was that I was away during the period where a number of solid debuts took place: Southland seems like a potential keeper for NBC, The Unusuals is still technically in the mix for ABC, and the long-anticipated Parks and Recreation debuted. So while I took time out of my schedule to take a gander at the first two episodes detailing the adventures of Leslie Knope, I didn’t quite have the time to sit down and wrap my head around what I really thought about it.
“The Reporter,” in many ways, actually makes this out to be a good thing: it isn’t that this week’s episode (the show’s third) was substantially different than the two which preceded it, but it demonstrates that the qualities I saw as potential for the future remain firmly intact, and the ability for the rest of the show to fall in around them remains present. The show’s main problem, that it and its protagonist lean too closely to The Office, isn’t even necessarily a problem as long as the elements it is cribbing from its stepbrother are the ones that you like about the show; for me, thus far at least, this seems to be the case.
In many ways, the show is kind of like the park being proposed within the current main storyline of the series: it has plenty of early media attention, and lots of things going for it, but it needs to keep itself afloat during this key development period in order to survive. And while the verdict may still be “We’ll see,” I think that’s exactly where the show needs to be right now.