Thursday, July 28, 2011

Negativity is a Bore

One of the best moments of the show.

You all know that "Parks and Recreation" is one of the greatest shows on television, right? Right. One of the things I've always enjoyed about it is the fact that Leslie is in charge and everybody loves her. There was some of that in "The Office," but mainly everyone thought Michael was a total idiot. But everyone who works for Leslie, or manages Leslie, loves and respects her. And she's a very positive person. It's very realistic and relatable.

The A.V. Club has an interview with Michael Schur where he talks about the show and he touched upon this topic. And it also pretty much explains why I've never been super into shows like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." I don't hate them, and I've certainly laughed at them, but sometimes I just get so bored or turned-off by the terrible, negative characters.
The next level down, I would say, is that I personally don’t like comedy shows where everyone’s mean to everyone else, where there’s a lot of insult humor and cutting down of people. I think that was a trend that happened for many, many, many years, and I get weary of it. I don’t like watching it. I don’t like snappy sarcastic rejoinders as a comedy engine. It just seems really boring to me. So I’m very pleased with the tone of the show, personally. I think it’s more enjoyable to see positivity than negativity.

That being said, comedy comes from conflict and from problems and from flaws and from a lot of stuff that has a sort of negative connotation or negative spin. So we have to make sure that we’re not just portraying a utopia where everybody’s happy and everything is wonderful. I think the way we’ve done this is, we’ve delocated or decentralized the conflict from our main cast to the town and to the ideas of how hard it is to run a government, and of the problems of small-town America in 2011, and to things like the library, which we’ve just said is a terrible organization. We can bring in villains when we need them, and have there be conflict coming from the outside world, or just from the almost-impossible-to-navigate moral and ethical position that people who work for the government are put in.
If you like the show, read that interview. He walks through episodes 1-4 of last season. Super great.

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