The Office and Parks & Recreation are two incredible sitcoms which are often compared to one another. This is perhaps due to the fact that both TV shows are extremely similar, as well as the fact that they are each created by Greg Daniels. The Office and Parks & Rec use the same mockumentary format and each use similar styles of comedy. Although both sitcoms are brilliant in their own right, some things are done a whole lot better on Parks while other elements from The Office are far superior.
What does each series do better than the other? Read our list to find out!
10 JIM & PAM VS ANDY & APRIL - (P&R DOES BEST)
Jim and Pam certainly had their moments as the leading couple on The Office, especially in the first handful of seasons. Yet as the series progressed, it became rather difficult at times to support them as a couple. This became especially true when Pam was unable to support Jim's dream job because she felt as though it interfered with their simple life in Scranton.
April and Andy pretty much work in the opposite way. April and Andy do everything they can to make sure the other person's dreams get fulfilled. Plus, the P&R couple proves that it's totally possible to have a drama-free relationship filled with playfulness and love. They prove that you don't need to have drama in order to have passion. Jim and Pam on the other hand deal with major drama and heartache throughout the entire series.
9 PUNCHING BAG TROPE - (THE OFFICE DOES BEST)
Toby Flenderson and Jerry Gergich essentially serve as the same character on both mockumentary sitcoms. They each play the role as the default punching bag, yet The Office seems to handle this trope more swiftly and carefully than Parks and Rec. Whereas on Parks and Rec every single person treats Jerry terribly, in The Office it is only Michael Scott who serves as Toby's bully.
Seeing the entire ensemble gang up on Jerry just feels mean-spirited more than anything, despite the fact that he takes it like a champ. Sure, Ben admits that he likes Jerry in the end, but it doesn't feel like enough justice for the way they have been continuously putting their co-worker down. On The Office when Michael actively hates on Toby it feels a whole lot more humorous than vicious because he is the only one who's doing it. Everyone else on The Office treats him like a human being.
8 BETTER CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT - (P&R)
Parks and Rec seems to put a whole lot more focus into developing these characters as fully fleshed-out human beings as opposed to the cartoonish personas on The Office which operate more so for laughs than for substance.
At the beginning of Parks and Recreation they feel more like stock characters than people we could actually relate to or point out in our every day lives, yet as the series progresses, so do the characters. They go from one-dimensional to gorgeously humanized in a matter of seasons and it is extremely rewarding to watch. On The Office the characters barely develop, give or take a few people, yet it still works in its own right for comedic purposes.
7 BETTER ENSEMBLE - (THE OFFICE)
As a group unit, the cast of The Office seems more connected and advanced when it comes to their improv skills. They are able to riff off of each other in a way that not only offers bigger laughs but also creates more of a communal environment compared to Parks. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that more members on The Office have experience with improv comedy and a good chunk of the series is improvised.
Parks and Rec is much more scripted, and the cast has even stated that when they go off-script it is almost always less funny. One of the greatest rules of improv is the importance of working as a team and making each other look good, so the ensemble for The Office just feels more organic.
6 BETTER FEMALE CHARACTERS - (P&R)
Pam is the leading female on The Office and she is also one of the only characters in the entire series who barely gets any laughs. Although her character is meant to play it straight so she can further emphasize how outrageous everyone else in the office is, she is the sole person out of the bunch who is given this watered-down role. The minor female characters within the series offer an abundance of hilarious one-liners, yet they aren't given nearly as much screentime as the rest of the cast. Parks and Recreation, on the other hand, has female characters that are written a whole lot better with much more screen time than the female characters on The Office. You could also argue that the female characters on Parks and Rec get a lot more laughs than the male characters, and it's a rather refreshing change of pace from The Office.
5 BETTER BOSS (THE OFFICE)
Hear us out. Leslie Knope is a goddess and a glorious female warrior. This is without question. Yet Michael Scott is the World's Best Boss. His character will go down in history as an iconic classic, and his hilarious quotes will flood the internet until the end of time. In terms of which character is more exciting and fascinating to watch, we're going to have to give the yogurt-lid medal to Michael.
Perhaps it's because it's usually funnier to watch someone who is absolutely oblivious to the world around them as opposed to someone who has got it together and knows exactly what they're doing. Leslie is more inspiring, there is no question about it, but the Dunder Mifflin boss is simply more entertaining to watch.
4 MORE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION (P&R)
Although The Office has a couple of characters of different races and ethnicities, they are minor characters who don't get nearly as much screentime as their caucasian counterparts. All of the leading characters on The Office are white, whereas on Parks and Recreation it is much more diverse and inclusive. Plus, characters of different ethnicities and backgrounds on P&R are given a whole lot more screentime and their characters are a million times more developed than they are on The Office.
3 MORE OVERALL LAUGHS (THE OFFICE)
When it comes to which show is more hilarious as a whole, The Office wins. You can always count on The Office to deliver a ton of laughs and although Parks and Rec is downright hysterical, The Office is more consistently humorous throughout. Perhaps this hits back to our previous point about how the cast of The Office has more time to improvise throughout the series which can lead to more spontaneous content, whereas scripted material can sometimes lead to less freedom for actors to explore their wildest potential.
2 MORE PROGRESSIVE (P&R)
Let's be honest here. Especially in the first handful of seasons, The Office wasn't exactly known for its progressiveness. Michael Scott would say things that were terribly offensive and he would barely get reprimanded for his actions. Even Jim and Pam, who are meant to be the protagonists, reveal their ignorance on more than one occasion. Parks and Recreation is a whole lot more progressive in a multitude of different ways, shining a light on those who usually haven't gotten much of a chance in the spotlight in the past.
1 MORE CLASSIC (THE OFFICE)
Parks and Recreation is a wonderful and iconic series, but The Office is just more of an instant classic. Parks and Rec arguably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for The Office which paved the way to a new form of televised comedy in the mockumentary format. The Office is also the original series and Parks and Rec owes a lot to the workplace comedy. With hilarious characters, epic romances, and unforgettable quotes, The Office will most likely go down as the more classic hit of the two.
Which series do you prefer?