NBC's best comedy is also its best shot to succeed 'The Office' one day
For the last few weeks, I'd been bracing myself to write an open letter to the executives at NBC - either the likely-outgoing members of Jeff Zucker's team or the new people like Bob Greenblatt who are reportedly taking over when the Comcast deal goes through - asking them to do right by the best show on their air that for some silly reason wasn't airing: "Parks and Recreation."
I was going to write that the show had been developed as a companion, and maybe even successor, to "The Office," yet had never gotten to air in the Thursday at 9:30 timeslot which recent history has proven is the only place where a young NBC comedy can do okay for itself. I was going to write that the one time the show aired after "The Office" at all was on its debut night, when NBC ran an extra "Office" at 8, and back when "Parks and Rec" was a shadow of the show it's become. (Rarely have I seen a show with this dramatic an improvement from year one to year two, thanks in large part to a slight reconception of Amy Poehler's character and beefing up the role of Nick Offerman as mustachioed, meat-loving paragon of masculinity Ron Effing Swanson.)
I was going to write that much as I enjoy a number of other comedies on NBC's schedule like "Community" and the creatively resurgent "30 Rock," none of those shows seem as spiritually compatible with "The Office," nor as capable of inheriting that show's audience (which is still strong) should the post-Steve Carell experiment fail. And I was going to write that I had seen the third season's first few episodes a while back when I visited the show's production office to conduct an interview, that they were in many ways even better than the show's marvelous second season - funny and warm and silly and human and full of all kinds of happiness-inducing things - and that it deserved some kind of run at 9:30.