Living the dream

Why Parks and Recreation is TV's best show

The Parks and Recreation department, shoved into a hybrid hatchback.

On April 9, 2009, after an episode of The Office, what was billed by the press as a spin-off show called Parks and Recreation launched.

Parks and Recreation didn’t start as humbly as The Office, which was in the middle of its best arc of its fifth season, and one of the best arcs in the entire show. Earlier that year, The Office was featured by NBC after the Super Bowl, and was really as strong as it had ever been. And on April 9, an episode of The Office called “The Michael Scott Paper Company” provided as strong a lead-in as NBC could provide. Unlike The Office, the cast and crew weren’t all no-names: not only was the show co-created by Greg Daniels, the creator and longtime showrunner of The Office, but the cast also featured SNL alumna Amy Poehler and Office alumna Rashida Jones. And at 9:30 PM, after The Office ended, Parks and Recreation debuted…in a sandbox.

It’s been all uphill from there.