‘The Office’ vs. ‘Parks and Recreation’


Treasure Franklin, Web Editor

Certain shows always have the potential to be the show of a generation. For teens in the 1990s, that show was Friends; for our generation there are actually two shows: Parks and Recreation and The Office.

Although both shows are documentary-style sitcoms, The Office is more entertaining than Parks and Recreation because of the differences in the shows’ plot, subplots, and humor.

The plot and subplots of Parks and Recreation are one implication that the show is less entertaining than The Office. Parks and Recreation is a mockumentary-style show about the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation Department, where their main goal is to turn a pit in the middle of a neighborhood into a park. It is as boring as it sounds…and so is this show.

One way that Parks and Recreation is less entertaining is that they actually work in comparison to The Office where they do not work. For example, since the whole basis of the Parks and Recreation show is their doing their work, some of the show’s scenes are just them talking to officials, requesting funding, etc.

Just like every show, Parks and Recreation also has many relationship subplots within the show. All of these couples though can only be described as the “awkward couple” in high school that everyone knows. This is because whenever the couples on this show are around each other, they just look at each other for an abnormal amount of time or they will have very weird nicknames for each other.

For instance, while Ann and Tom’s relationship only lasted about a week, the nicknames that Tom gives Ann in that time period (such as “Boo-boo Bear”, “Winnie the Boo”, “Cookie Tush”, and “Ann-berry Sauce”) make the relationship awkward and overall cringy. (Season 4, Episode 15).

On the other hand, The Office has a much more entertaining plot. The show is set up as a documentary show about an unorthodox paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania called Dunder Mifflin. Despite being about a paper company, one of the things that makes the show entertaining is that the characters rarely work.

For example, Jim pranks his co-worker, Dwight for the majority of the day. One of his most well-known pranks that makes the show entertaining is when Jim dresses up and acts like Dwight for the day; Dwight then exclaims, “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim… millions of people suffer every year!” (Season 3, Episode 21).

In comparison to Parks and Recreation’s “awkward high school couples”, The Office has many different types of relationship subplots. The Office has “the toxic couple”, “the strange couple”, and “the cute couple”. Michael and Jan are “the toxic couple” because Jan treats Michael terribly, yet he doesn’t seem to notice. (This is evidenced by Jan making Michael sleep on an ottoman, instead of the bed, because she has “space issues”) (Season 4, Episode 13).

This is toxic because this one instance is an example of how the relationship feels very one-sided, with Michael doing everything for Jan. Dwight and Angela are “the strange couple” because they are both strange people in general. They are strange because Dwight can be described as a lovable narcissist; whereas, Angela acts and dresses like a very conservative woman born in the 1800s.

Jim and Pam are “the cute couple” because of the way they love each other and act around each other. They are always affectionate and supportive of one another. One example of this is when Jim shows Pam footage of them falling in love over the years in order to reassure Pam. The plot and subplot of The Office is one way that shows that it is more entertaining than Parks and Recreation.

Along with the plot and characters of the show, the humor of The Office makes it more entertaining than Parks and Recreation. The humor of Parks and Recreation cannot compare to that of The Office.

Like most sitcoms, both shows have a running joke. The running joke of Parks and Recreation is the Director of the Department’s (Ron) ex-wife. Ron’s ex-wife is named Tammy and she makes his life, and everyone’s life around him, a “living hell”.

Every single person that she comes in contact with hates her; also, it is a running joke in the department that she is a terrible person. One of the most known ways that she gets back at Ron is by shoving a push-pin in his forehead and ripping off half of his mustache.

Another joke of Parks and Recreation is Jerry Gergich. Jerry is a person in Parks and Recreation that everyone bullies for no reason. One example of this is when the department plays a game in which they are trying to get dirt on each other and Jerry says he doesn’t want to play. The game goes on and they keep bringing up things on Jerry until it ends when someone makes a joke about Jerry being adopted, to which he responds, “I didn’t even know I was adopted”.

Multiple conversations like these happen throughout the show, which shows that Jerry is bullied often. These examples of the show’s humor cannot match up to that of The Office. The crude humor of The Office is superior to that of any other show. The running joke of the show is a sexual innuendo of “that’s what she said”.

Another example of the show’s humor is Michael’s hatred for the HR Representative, Toby. No one knows why Michael hates him but Michael hates Toby with a passion. One example of Michael proving his hatred for Toby is when he tells Toby, “You are a waste of life and you should give up” (Season 6, Episode 8). The crude humor of The Office, in comparison to the boring humor of Parks and Recreation, proves that The Office is more entertaining.

Though Parks and Recreation and The Office are the shows of this generation, one is sadly more entertaining than the other. While the plot and subplot of Parks and Recreation may be more appealing to some people, there is no debating that the plot and subplot, characters, and humor of The Office are more interesting and far out-rank Parks and Recreation. Though these different aspects don’t have an effect on Parks and Recreation as a whole, they do sadly make the show not as appealing as The Office. Watching The Office will leave the viewer satisfied; at least “that’s what she said.”