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Old May 11 2012, 06:16 AM   #1
SJSharksfan39
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Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

There was a thread a while back talking about how this is one of the worst seasons of TV he can remember and I got to thinking about all those shows with Story Arcs that fail. A point was brought up that shows are trying to be the next Lost, and while I've never seen Lost, I can understand that. My personal problem with Story Arcs is more often than not, an arc can be really strong, but the ending leaves a ton to be desired. It happened with shows like Battlestar Galactica, (to a small extent) Deep Space Nine, and some shows I tried to get into this year, like Alcatraz. There are times when I feel kind of cheated when I invest a whole season worth of shows to lead up to something and when the Finale airs, I'm left with a sense of "That's it?"

Well, tonight I watched a show that showed exactly how a Story Arc should be done. It just so happens to be my favorite Comedy on TV so maybe I'm biased, but I'm talking about Parks and Recreation, and the conclusion of the Leslie running for City Council arc. We've seen ups and downs in this story, sometimes I wished they wouldn't focus on it, but tonight was the perfect ending to this season long arc. It covered the themes of following your dreams, it had a nice bookend with Leslie allowing Ben to work in Washington DC despite the relationship, and to it's core it was damn emotional and I felt like it was well worth it.

I know not a lot of people here watch this show, but tonight's episode was a perfect end to this story arc. It felt planned out, hit all it's spots and I left feeling gratified as to the result. If more shows learned from Parks and Recreation as to how to "end" a story arc, I think shows would be a whole lot better. I hope Parks get's renewed, but if not, I can proudly say how awesome this show is and it was a fantastic 4 years of television.
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Old May 11 2012, 06:32 AM   #2
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

People like to complain.

You can't complain about perfect shows.
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Old May 11 2012, 07:20 AM   #3
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
People like to complain.

You can't complain about perfect shows.
I'm not sure I called Parks and Rec perfect. I called tonight's episode perfect though, because that's exactly how I felt.
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Old May 11 2012, 08:06 AM   #4
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

I'm not independently allowed to call parks and Recreation perfect?

I hate gushing.

It shows a complete lack of self control.
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Old May 11 2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

It was really nicely done, but then again, I would expect no less from Parks and Recreation. I think a strength of the show is how reverent it is to its characters. Unlike some sitcoms, they haven't allowed the characters to become caricatures of themselves. The easy comparison is to The Office, where I feel like those characters are continually put into situations that show off their worst side. P&R allows their characters to shine and last night's episode again showed off each character's good points (Ann finding the perfect way to help Leslie, Jerry bumbling things but hoping they come through, Donna able to solve problems in a pinch, Andy standing by April, April showing how much she really does care about things, Ron dispensing advice, and, of course, Leslie and Ben remembering what's important for the other one).
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Old May 12 2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

And for more good news, TVbythenumbers and Deadline reported that Parks got a 22 episode pick up for the 5th season. That makes me thrilled, as if I wasn't already when it came to this show.
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Old May 12 2012, 03:35 AM   #7
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

Yay!

I saw an article the other day about a short season for 30 Rock and they suggested Parks and Recreation would also have a short season.

Glad to hear it got a full season pick-up.
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Old May 12 2012, 03:56 AM   #8
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

Season three was perfect; season four has been really good. I've seen bits and pieces from the first two seasons, but have never been crazy about them. The writers and actors really found the show's voice when they introduced Ben and Chris in the last two episodes of season two.
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Old May 12 2012, 04:23 AM   #9
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

Andy losing a fight with a Raccoon for his tent in the pit was classic.

I just love Pawnee history lessons.

Racism through the lense of the Obese.
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Old May 13 2012, 09:00 PM   #10
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

shivkala wrote: View Post
Yay!

I saw an article the other day about a short season for 30 Rock and they suggested Parks and Recreation would also have a short season.

Glad to hear it got a full season pick-up.
I am too, but I am a little nonplussed to realize that--because Parks had only a six-episode first season and a sixteen-episode third season--- the first four seasons only constitute 68 episodes. A 22 episode fifth season will only bring us to 90 episodes, which is slightly below the number generally accepted as necessary for syndication these days.
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Old May 13 2012, 09:16 PM   #11
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

TV movies can be sliced up into episodes after the fact.

They do that with cartoons all the time.

Even Transfomers did it, and that was a theatrical release.
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Old May 14 2012, 02:14 AM   #12
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

An OK, show, I blasted through all the eps over the course of a couple of weeks. Ron Swanson and April probably give me the biggest laughs. Leslie is too corny, as was the election arc, and I don't care for her love interest at all, though the addition of Rob Lowe wasn't unwelcome.

Anytime they focus on Ann's love life is a total waste IMO.
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Old May 14 2012, 03:08 AM   #13
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
TV movies can be sliced up into episodes after the fact...
When did they produce "Community" TV movies?
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Old June 22 2012, 03:27 AM   #14
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

I know it's "just TV.". However, given the pains the show has taken to use government ethics as a plot point all along, it strains credibility to think Leslie can serve as both a city councillor and as a city employee.

It's a pretty basic tenet of conflict of interest law that an elected official can't work for the agencies he or she oversees in a legislative or budgetary capacity.

At the very least Leslie would have to abstain from all votes that affect her department-including citywide budget matters. Furthermore, since the city council appoints the city manager she would be in a position to be-in essence-her boss' boss. Another very basic ethical breach.

This was driven home in the ep where Leslie was trying to stop city council from cutting the parks budget. The show has, in fact, established the conflict of interest. Now it's hard to ignore it going forward.
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Old June 22 2012, 05:50 AM   #15
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Re: Parks and Recreation Season 4 - How Story Arcs Should Be Done

One thing I like about this show is that it doesn't generally fall back on the "everybody just constantly insults and belittles each other" deal that most sit-coms seem to fall back on.

Most of the characters are fairly likeable and actually seem to like each other.
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