Few television shows can bring a smile to your face like Parks and Recreation. It is a charming and hilarious comedy series following the exploits of the government employees of the fictional Pawnee, Indiana. With seven fantastic seasons, the show gave us plenty of fun and laughs with its cast of lovable characters.
Just like any other show, Parks and Recreation is not perfect. Not every episode is a smash hit with fans, as IMDB’s episode ranking can show. The popularity of the show is evident as none of the rankings are awful, but it's clear fans have liked some more than others. Here are the worst episodes of Parks and Recreation according to IMDB.
10 Kaboom (Season 2, Episode 6)
Even the worst episodes of Parks and Rec and a lot more fun than most television comedies. In this Season 2 episode, Leslie takes some drastic steps to get things done which end up going terribly wrong when Andy is accidentally injured.
The show is really starting to find its voice at this point, finding the real entertaining moments for each character. But the heart of the show still isn't there which makes the characters like Andy harder to connect with just yet.
9 Sister City (Season 2, Episode 5)
In "Sister City", Pawnee gets a visit from delegates from its Sister City in Venezuela. However, instead of being a poor city like expected, the delegates are used to a much wealthier lifestyle and are let down by what they see in Pawnee.
The episode features some great moments and a hilarious guest appearance from Fred Armisen. However, with this being the only storyline of the episode, things do tend to drag a bit by the end. With some subplots thrown in, it could have been a fantastic episode.
8 Rock Show (Season 1, Episode 6)
Some of the best episodes of the show bring all the characters together to have some fun outside of the workplace. So with the final episode of the first season finding them going to one of Andy's rock shows, you would expect it to be a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, the show had not developed with supporting cast very well at this point so that fun group dynamic is not there. What's more, the episode devotes a lot of time to Leslie and Mark's relationship which is a pretty uninteresting romance.
7 William Henry Harrison (Season 7, Episode 3)
The final season of Parks and Rec has a fun time jump to see how far the characters have come in their lives since he last saw them. While most of the episodes had fun with this gimmick, this particular episode seemed like a bit of a waste so close the show's end.
Much of the episode deals with the mysterious feud between Leslie and Ron meaning our favorite characters are at odds, robbing the show of so much of its fun. But the real problem is that the episode feels like a filler without much fun to the whole thing.
6 New Slogan (Season 6, Episode 16)
After six seasons, the show had very few misses. This rare misfire follows Leslie's quest to come up with a new slogan of Pawnee. But her plans are sidelined when the public poll is hijacked by some local radio DJs who push more a more inventive slogan.
The storyline has a lot of potential but it ultimately doesn't go anywhere exciting with it. The subplots about Andy finding out one of Ron's secrets and Tom searching for a restaurant venue are equally uninspired. It just makes the episode feel a bit empty.
5 Boys' Club (Season 1, Episode 4)
As this list clearly shows, the early days of Parks and Rec were not the most popular. In this early episode, Leslie attempts to join what she perceived to be a "boys' club" only to unwittingly kick-starting a potential scandal.
Leslie Knope was always a fun and entertaining character, however, one of the major problems with these early episodes is that she is the only interesting character. In later years, the show would have one of the best cast of characters on television, but in Season 1, they were dull background people leading to uninteresting episodes like this.
4 The Banquet (Season 1, Episode 5)
Here is yet another of the first season's disappointing episodes but does still point to the potential of the show in future seasons. The episode revolves around the Parks gang attending a banquet which is honoring Leslie's mother.
Again, in the later seasons, such a setting would be an ideal occasion for the characters to bounce off each other in a formal setting. But with the cast still undefined, the episode just drags. It's also not fun to see Leslie try and fail to play dirty political games.
3 The Reporter (Season 1, Episode 3)
In this Season 1 episode, Leslie tries to get traction for her park project by getting an interview with a local newspaper. Predictably, things end up getting out of control, leading to some unfavorable headlines. Things only get worse when Mark becomes involved with the reporter.
While there are some funny moments in this episode, it has those common early problems where they still seem to be figuring out the characters. Leslie is funny but somewhat incompetent, which isn't fun to see. Also, the supposed romance with her and Mark is still unconvincing.
2 Canvassing (Season 1, Episode 2)
Part of the reason Parks and Rec was a fun show was because it embraced its very weird sense of humor. Pawnee is made to be a ridiculous place filled with eccentric people and a hilariously disorganized government. But it took the show a while to gain the confidence to really be that "out there".
This early episode highlights the somewhat dull feel of the show in its first season. It tried to have fun with the mundane aspects of the government but it just feels a little flat. Seeing Leslie's early ambitions with the park is fine, but it is missing that wacky element.
1 Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
Given how beloved Parks and Rec is after all these years, it’s interesting to see that it didn’t have the best start. However, it could also be said that after its first episode, it only got better from there.
Pilot episodes are difficult, especially for comedies. They need to set up all the characters, the world of the show and the main storyline. With all that setup, the jokes can feel a bit secondary and the show is robbed of any looseness. Such is the case with Parks and Rec, but once the show got into a rhythm, it became a classic.