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5 Shows like Parks and Recreation: Inept in the Workplace

Jonny_Sweet_itcher_contributorIf you love the busy-body bluster of Leslie Knope, the sarcastic sneering of Tom Haverford or the deadpan no-nonsense of Ron Swanson, check out similar workplace antics in ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’, ‘Green Wing’ or any of these other great shows like ‘Parks and Recreation’. ~ Jonny Sweet

Office Shenanigans

For many of us who are glued to our desks and computers for forty hours a week with only a water cooler to gossip over and the occasional window cleaner to ogle, the office might seem like the last place we want to revisit when we clock out. Why, then, do we derive such pleasure from office dogsbodies as those found in ‘Parks and Recreation’ and other shows of its ilk?

Perhaps it’s the wanton mischievousness of the ensemble that tickles our fancy. Perhaps it’s the recurring ineptitude of certain individuals that reminds us of similar office buffoons in our own workplace (or perhaps makes us feel better about our own habitual gaffes). Perhaps it’s the novelty of watching smart actors playing stupid characters pretending to be smarter than they are.

Whatever the reason, I love the satirical mockumentary style of the series and chances are, if you’re perusing this article, you do too. For five other great shows similar to ‘Parks and Recreation’ check out these side-splitting recommendations for more antics in the workplace.

‘The Office’ (Greg Daniels, 2005-13)

Let’s be clear – I most definitely prefer the original series written, directed and made famous by Ricky Gervais and his lovable boss from hell, David Brent. However, the American remake is a different animal and one that’s closer to ‘Parks and Recreation’ in style and tone – perhaps largely due to the fact that it was developed by the same man, Greg Daniels.

Similarity Match: 90%
While there are many parallels and similarities to be drawn between characters from ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’, they are both different enough to offer value and novelty in their own rights.

‘Veep’ (Armando Ianucci, 2012-Present)

As with ‘The Office’, ‘Veep’ is a spin-off of a British series by the name of ‘The Thick of It’, which in my humble opinion is far superior in almost every aspect. However, it’s also far more vulgar, with the show being driven by the foul mouth and borderline abusive aggression of Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker.

In contrast, ‘Veep’ is a softer, fluffier version of the political satire, exposing the ineptitude of those in power without going overboard as ‘The Thick of It’ does (in the best possible way). As such, it’s much closer to the category of TV series like ‘Parks and Recreation’ than ‘The Thick of It’ is.

Similarity Match: 80%
Both ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Veep’ feature female protagonists in positions of power who are prone to flustery befuddlement.

‘Community’ (Dan Harmon, 2009-present)

The continual back and forth banter between the unlikely collection of cohorts in ‘Parks and Recreation’ is replicated in ‘Community’, which almost seems to have built its entire stich around employing various stereotypes and throwing them together in the single boardroom of a community college.

Similarity Match: 75%
Though ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Community’ both feature zany characters and witty one-liners galore, the former is far more grounded in reality than the latter – which frequently plays hard and fast with the rules of the sitcom.

‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ (Dan Goor, Michael Schur, 2013-present)

Perhaps akin to a humanised version of secret agent caper ‘Archer’ (find more great similar shows here), ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ features SNL and Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg as a talented cop who doesn’t give a fig for the rules and would rather make an elaborate joke than fill out forms and police reports.

Though the action is somewhat formulaic and the storylines often underwhelming, the real delight of this gem lies in Samberg’s delivery of some hilarious one-liners and his interplay with his superior officer.

Similarity Match: 70%
‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ is goofier and less plausible than ‘Parks and Recreation’ (especially having to swallow Samberg as a successful detective) but employs similar office banter between the principle characters.

‘Green Wing’ (Victoria Pile, 2004-06)

If ‘Community’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ are silly and offbeat TV shows like ‘Parks and Recreations, ‘Green Wing’ is positively bursting with whimsy. It centres on a UK hospital which is staffed by the most ludicrously eccentric and egocentric staff, including perhaps my favourite sitcom creation of all time in Dr Alan Statham.

Scottish lunatics, faux-Swiss charmers and insecure interns abound in this deliciously underrated hospital comedy that makes look ‘Scrubs’ look tame by comparison.

Similarity Match: 70%
‘Green Wing’ is ‘Parks and Recreation’s crazy uncle who escaped from his confinement in the attic some years ago and has since hammered out a passable existence as a hospital doctor in the UK.


Which Workplace Farce Most Reflects Your Own?

Is there a particular show I’ve mentioned above that really rings true with you? Perhaps just even a single character that is a kindred spirit for the offbeat oddball in your office? Or is there another workplace-orientated series like ‘Parks and Recreation’ I haven’t mentioned?

Let us all know in the comments bit below – you know what to do.

I′m Jonny, an English Literature graduate who decided careers and mortgages were too mundane, and travelling, film, music and books were much more enticing. I have recently made a very comfortable nest for myself in Santiago de Chile, and on itcher Mag where I regularly contribute eloquent waffle on all manner of media.
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