I don’t normally become particularly excised over entertainment industry awards. They are what they are, with politics playing as much a role as performance. But something has to be said about the utterly baffling snub the TV academy has delivered to Parks and Recreation.
The Emmy voters have seen fit to again shaft Parks and Rec in the best comedy category, despite the fact (yes, I said fact) that Parks and Recreation is — literally — the best comedy on television. It is superior to critical darling Curb Your Enthusiasm, funnier and smarter than public favorite The Big Bang Theory, and always better than the admittedly very funny Modern Family.
On the plus side, Amy Poehler was nominated for her pitch-perfect portrayal of perpetually sunny, ever striving Leslie Knope. But in a cast that is the best ensemble on TV, Poehler got the only nomination. Even Nick Offerman, whose portrayal of ubber-male libertarian Ron Swanson has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, didn’t get a nomination for supporting actor, while all FOUR men from Modern Family were nominated — again. Even more confusing, two Parks and Rec writers were nominated for writing awards. Apparently, two episodes were judged to be among the best on TV last year, but the series doesn’t get a nod? (On that same topic, Modern Family got zero writing nominations. Go figure.)
I am perplexed. If I had to choose just one show to watch on TV at the exclusion of everything else, I would …. well, I’d probably kill myself first, but if I didn’t, I’d choose Parks and Rec. Consider this season’s story arc, which culminated in Leslie Knope winning a seat on city council. You simply won’t find a more engrossing, sharply written, keenly observed storyline on any show outside of Breaking Bad. Leslie’s ultimate victory was brilliant television, a perfect blend of comedy with a touch of humanity that is the hallmark of the show.
In its four seasons, Parks and Rec has created a self-contained universe second only to Springfield in The Simpsons. Fictional Pawnee, Ind. is as much a character as any human on the show. For reasons unknown, it has a fetish for a miniature horse named Lil’ Sebastian, so much so that when it died, the town held a lavish memorial service. The town’s biggest company is Sweetums, a sweets factory that is directly responsible for the town being one of America’s most obese. The town’s historic murals depict its history of atrocities against the native population. The producers have even produced a website, http://www.pawneeindiana.com/, that is required reading for any fan, new or old.
How did this wonderful show not make the list of top comedies? Well, HBO has decided to enter the comedy world this season, and basically anything HBO does is automatically an Emmy favorite. I think if HBO even announced its intention to create a show, it could get a nomination under the title “Untitled HBO Project 2013.” This year, the so-so Veep and the hot button Girls got spots that should have gone to Parks and Rec.
Fortunately, Parks and Rec is on NBC, which has nothing else to show, so it has been renewed for a full fifth season. I’m looking forward to the further adventures of Leslie Knope, city councilperson, even if nobody who votes for the Emmys feels the same way.