Wednesday, April 08, 2009

NBC Mid-Season Preview: Parks and Recreation - Premieres April 9; NBC Pulls Kings; TV Land Renews High School Reunion

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 8:30PM ET/PT

From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC's The Office, King of the Hill) and Michael Schur (NBC's The Office, Saturday Night Live) comes a new mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government. The new half-hour comedy will examine the mundane but necessary ways that people interact with their government, and ask why it's frequently so complicated -- as everyone knows from standing in line at the DMV, applying for home construction permits, or trying to get the city to fix a pothole.
The documentary cameras follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, NBC's Saturday Night Live, Baby Mama) a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. In an attempt to beautify her town -- and advance her career -- Leslie takes on what should be a fairly simple project: help local nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones, NBC's The Office, Unhitched) turn an abandoned construction pit into a community park. Opposing them are defensive bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, real estate developers, and single-issue fanatics -- whose weapons are lawsuits, the jumble of city codes, and the very democratic process that Leslie loves so much.
Leslie is alternately helped and undermined by her colleague, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, Human Giant, Scrubs), who cheerfully exploits his government position for personal gain. She is also thwarted by her boss Ron Swanson, who is philosophically opposed to government in any form.
Helping Leslie and Ann navigate the Pawnee bureaucracy is charismatic city planner Mark Brendanawicz, whose outlook has been soured by 15 years of public service.
If they can pull it off, Leslie hopes that she also will have inspired her uninterested college intern April (Aubrey Plaza, Mayne Street) and April's whole generation - all the while moving one step closer to her ultimate goal: becoming the first female president of the United States.
Parks and Recreation is a production of Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios. Along with Daniels and Schur, Howard Klein also serves as executive producer for the series.

Cast Details:

* Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
* Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford
* Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins
* Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson
* Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate
* Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz

Emmy Award nominee Amy Poehler stars as mid-level bureaucrat Leslie Knope on the new NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. The new series is a half-hour mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government.
The year 2008 was a very busy year for Poehler. Between her seventh season of NBC's Saturday Night Live (and her fourth as the co-anchor of Weekend Update), a trio of films and a new animated project for Nickelodeon, she was very active. Poehler received her first Emmy nomination in 2008 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Saturday Night Live. Due to a change in eligibility, this is an unprecedented nomination, making her the first performer in SNL history to land a spot in this category.
Poehler could be seen starring opposite Tina Fey in Universal Pictures' hit comedy film Baby Mama and also lent her voice to the animated film Horton Hears a Who! with Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. Poehler had a starring role in the ice-skating comedy Blades of Glory, alongside Will Ferrell, Will Arnett and Jon Heder, and she also provided the voice to the boxoffice smash hit Shrek the Third as Snow White. Her other feature credits include the hit comedy Mean Girls, Mr. Woodcock, Southland Tales, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, The Ex, Wet Hot American Summer and Envy.
Poehler has made memorable appearances on television ranging from NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien (as recurring character Stacey, Andy Richter's little sister), Arrested Development, Wonder Showzen and Undeclared. She also was a voice on O'Grady and The Simpsons.

Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford) is poised for 2009 to be his breakout year with a new television series, a trio of films, and a headlining comedy tour. Before the new series premieres, Ansari will appear in a handful of features. He recently began production on Judd Apatow's upcoming comedy Funny People, opposite Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, and also has roles in I Love You, Man with Paul Rudd, and opposite Rogen and Anna Faris in Observe and Report.
Ansari is best known for his role on MTV's hit sketch comedy series, Human Giant. The series is based around comedy sketches performed by Ansari, along with Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. Many of their sketches have become Internet sensations and have popularized the trio with young people all across the U.S. Last year, Ansari also had a memorable guest-starring role on Flight of the Conchords, in which he portrayed a racist fruit vendor. He can also be seen in a multi-episode arc on Scrubs.

Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins) can be seen in the feature film I Love You, Man for writer-director John Hamburg, starring opposite Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. She recently completed her starring roles in the independent features Life in Flight (with Patrick Wilson and Amy Smart), and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (with Max Minghella) -- both set for release later this year. Her past film credits include Little Black Book, opposite Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates and Brittany Murphy.
Jones caught attention of audiences and the industry alike when she portrayed the ambitious saleswoman, Karen Filippelli, in NBC's Emmy Award-winning comedy NBC's The Office, opposite Steve Carell. She also starred as Kate on Unhitched a half-hour comedy from the Farrelly brothers. Her previous television credits include David E. Kelley's Boston Public as Louisa Fenn and Jorge Zamacoma's Wanted as Detective Carla Merced. She also appeared in Judd Apatow's Freaks and Geeks, If These Walls Could Talk II, The Chappelle Show and the British television series NY-LON. Jones was also a weekly correspondent on the talk show Vibe TV.

Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) received his B.F.A. in theater from the University of Illinois and has performed at Chicago’s famed Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters. He was a series regular on American Body Shop and has appeared on 24, Deadwood, Will & Grace, Monk, The West Wing, CSI: NY and NYPD Blue. He recurred on George Lopez as Randy.
His feature credits include Wristcutters, Patriotville, The Go Getter, Sin City, and Miss Congeniality 2. Nick can next be seen in the feature films Men Who Stare at Goats with George Clooney and Ewan McGregor and All Good Things with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst.

Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate) is originally from Wilmington, Del., and is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is an actor, writer and comedian. She has been performing improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater since 2004. She also recently began performing stand-up and has appeared at the Laugh Factory and The Improv.
Plaza stars in the upcoming comedy features Funny People, directed by Judd Apatow, and Derrick Comedy's Mystery Team which debuted at Sundance. She can also be seen in the hit online series The Jeanne Tate Show, and ESPN's Mayne Street. Plaza will next star in the Universal feature Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, directed by Edgar Wright.

Paul Schneider (Mark Brendanawicz) will next be seen in Bright Star directed by Jane Campion as well as Sam Mendes Away We Go opposite John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. Schneider was lauded for his performance in Lars and the Real Girl opposite Ryan Gosling as well as The Assassination of Jesse James with Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. His directorial debut Pretty Bird starred Billy Crudup and Paul Giamatti and screened in competition in Sundance in 2008. He has also received critical acclaim for his work in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, All the Real Girls and The Family Stone.


Pilot Plot:

#1 - SERIES PREMIERE--MAKE MY PIT A PARK - From Emmy Award-winning executive producers of The Office comes a new mockumentary that looks at the exciting world of local government. The documentary cameras follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. In an attempt to beautify her town Leslie takes on what should be a fairly simple project: help local nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) turn an abandoned construction pit into a community park. Leslie is alternately helped and undermined by her colleague, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), who cheerfully exploits his government position for personal gain. She is also thwarted by her boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) who is philosophically opposed to government in any form. Helping Leslie and Ann navigate the Pawnee bureaucracy is charismatic city planner Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider), whose outlook has been soured by 15 years of public service. If they can pull it off, Leslie hopes that she also will have inspired her uninterested college intern April (Aubrey Plaza) and April’s whole generation – all the while moving one step closer to her ultimate goal: becoming the first female president of the United States.

#2 - REPORTER - LESLIE HAS TROUBLE WITH A REPORTER - When Leslie (Amy Poehler) invites a reporter to do a story on her park project, she and her committee have trouble staying on message. Leslie calls in Mark (Paul Schneider) to help save the story, but he only makes the situation worse. Meanwhile, Tom (Aziz Ansari) kisses up to his boss (Nick Offerman). Rashida Jones and Aubrey Plaza also star.

Analysis:

Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain any screener copies in time for review. The show looks pretty funny from the promos and 5-minute preview they've posted online. I've always liked Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones, so I will be tuning in to watch the premiere. I'm not too familiar with the rest of the cast. NBC is set to air 6 episodes.

Here are some external reviews:

The Hollywood Reporter
Entertainment Weekly
Variety
Newsday
San Francisco Chronicle
Zap2it

More on Google News

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, April 9 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • Knope Knows - A Parks and Recreation fansite
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Parks and Recreation Photo Gallery


    Sorry we couldn't give you our take on the pilot. If we somehow get the pilot before airing, we will edit it in and let you know. Thanks for the preview, Todd! Anyway, back to the news...NBC has pulled Kings from the Sunday line-up. NBC will dethrone to Kings to Saturdays at 8PM effective Saturday, April 18. Kings will not air this week. NBC will replace Kings' Sundays at 8PM airings with an expanded Dateline from 7-9PM. Kings is just the latest NBC bomb. NBC says they will air all the episodes, so that should last it into June. Kings lasted only 4 weeks on Sundays.

    TV Land announced that it has picked up its successful reality series High School Reunion for a third season. Over 1 million people have been watching the current season, which airs its final episode tonight (April 8) at 10pm ET/PT. Now viewers can tune in as Las Vegas' Chaparral High School's Class of 1989 will experience a reunion like no other. Set on the garden isle of Kauai, the classmates of Chaparral -- some of whom haven't seen each other in over twenty years -- will have the unique opportunity to finally settle a score, find new love or rekindle an old flame and reconnect during this luxurious getaway. High School Reunion is produced for TV Land by Mike Fleiss through his NEXT Entertainment production company in association with Warner Horizon Television. High School Reunion is set to debut its third season on TV Land, with eight episodes, in the third quarter of 2009, on TV Land during TV Land PRIME, the network's primetime destination block.
    Season two of High School Reunion has been averaging 883,000 total viewers with a median age of 45. Among A25-54, it has been posting a 0.5 rating and 554,000viewers 25-54 and among A40-54 a 0.6 rating and 343,000 viewers among 40-54.

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