I watched a couple episodes of Parks & Recreation when the series first started, but it didn’t grab my attention and, I’ll be honest, I expected NBC to cancel it after the first season. Now heading into its fourth season, the buzz has been so good recently that I decided to give it another try. Buzz warranted!
Amy Poehler is pitch perfect as earnest, ambitious, somewhat naive Leslie Knope; Nick Offerman steals every scene with his gruff, uber-manly, Libertarian Ron Swanson; Aziz Ansari deserves recognition for making what could have been a grating character empathetic; I actually like Rashida Jones here as Ann (did not care for her on The Office); and Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan delivery and secret yearnings as April are at once hilarious and heartbreaking. Also, Megan Mulally as Ron’s second ex-wife? Genius! I’m just starting season 3, so Rob Lowe and Adam Scott are still new but promising. Paul Schneider is an actor I enjoy, but it felt like his story was over.
So, 30 episodes in 4 days and I’m officially a fan of Parks & Recreation. Fanning the flames of obsession comes the announcement from NBC that a new book is in the works: Pawnee, the Greatest Town in America by Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Leslie Knope. Oh Leslie, you are adorable.
The 240-page book, which includes illustrations, photographs, and other characters’ commentaries, will hit bookstores on October 4, 2011.
Each chapter will explore a different aspect of the fictional town’s history and expand upon events hinted at in the series, such as: the time the whole town was on fire, its long list of ridiculous town slogans, and the ongoing raccoon infestation. Knope, a resident of Pawnee since her childhood, provides all of the research and comical insights into this Midwestern town that fans have grown to love.
“If you like small towns with big ideas, this book is for you!” said Poehler. “And here’s hoping that Indianapolis will play Pawnee when they turn this book into a movie!”
“The ever-expanding town of Pawnee has become its own character in our show, and we’re thrilled that we got to accelerate that expansion in one giant, goofy 240-page comedy book,” said Mike Schur, co-creator and executive producer of the series. “It’s a complete portrait of Everytown, USA, which every reader — whether a fan of the show or a newbie — can enjoy.”
Attached: photos of the cast and creative team at a special Emmy screening last month.