Before you get mad, let's just start with the truth. Both Parks and Recreation and The Office are some of the best comedies to have ever been on TV. Saying one is definitively better than the other is just wrong. However, there were some things shown in Parks and Rec. that made them come out as the winner in a comparison of both shows. That's why we've put together this list of 10 things Parks and Rec. did better than The Office. Check it out!
10. Better Antagonists
Part of The Office's charm is that some of the characters are just... not great people. They can be selfish and rude, or even judgmental. Typically, the conflict (and comedy) in The Office comes from their own life choices. You just have to root for them in spite of their faults.
In Parks and Recreation, however, you have characters to root against. Whether that's Tammy 2 or Councilman Jamm, Parks and Recreation is well-populated with hatable jerks. The trouble they cause serves not only to give us a good bad guy but to also endear us to the heroes of the Parks and Recreations Department. That's not to say that some of the protagonists of Parks and Rec aren't also jerks. I mean, who eats calzones?
9. Not Dragging Out Relationships
You knew from episode one of The Office that Jim and Pam were destined to be together. So why is it that they’re not even dating until season three? Well, Roy is part of the problem, so is Karen, but the truth is, 'will they/won’t they' storylines keep audiences tuning back in. However, one could argue that the Jim/Pam relationship stretched out a bit too long, along with the Angela and Dwight relationship. Heck, even perhaps the Andy/Erin fling. But on Parks and Recreation, relationships progressed a lot faster. Yes, there were still some ups and downs (remember when Leslie and Ben broke up?), but ultimately, the relationships in Parks and Rec. were a lot more straightforward. There was no "Roys" in that show.
8. Characters Accomplishing Their Dreams
In the early seasons of The Office, we learn that Pam wants to be an artist and that Jim has ambitions of getting out of Dunder Mifflin. But where do these ambitions go? Pam drops out of graphic design school and pretty much stops painting, and Jim doesn’t leave Dunder Mifflin until the very last season. On Parks and Rec., however, we watch Leslie get elected, April start several fulfilling jobs, and Tom begins some successful businesses. Heck, even Jerry gets elected as Mayor of Pawnee! I mean, come on The Office. None of your characters could do what even Jerry could do?
7. More Real-World Stories
Neither The Office or Parks and Rec. is known for its realism. However, the shows use their wacky, out-of-this-world characters in different ways. In The Office, those characters are there to make up hilarious situations. That's true of Parks and Rec. too, but the latter show will also use their characters for another reason. That is, to tell allegorical stories to real-world situations. For example, there's an episode that tells a powerful story about love; but it just happens to be about penguins. Or the episode about nations working together in a middle school model U.N.. Or the episode where Ben loses Li'l Sebastian... (Okay, that last one is just about a small horse — but he's so cute!)
6. Casting Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones is a national treasure. A proper. Freaking. Champion. So as you’re watching The Office, you may be unpleasantly reminded that her character is something of a problem in the show. She’s not an outright antagonist, but the show certainly sets her up as an obstacle to Pam and Jim’s relationship. Then, after the two lovers do get together, her character can come off as bitter and rude. Not so in Parks and Rec.
Ann Perkins is a likable delight, perfectly suited as Leslie’s Dr. Watson or as the star of her own goofy, awkward adventures. Rashida deserved way more than what she got at Dunder Mifflin, and Pawnee, Indiana was the place she found it.
Oh, and if you agree with that statement even a little bit, there is no reason you shouldn’t be watching Angie Tribeca. You owe it to yourself.
5. Building A Bigger World
The world of Scranton’s best paper company is pretty much limited to, well, Scranton. Rarely do we see characters of The Office venture outside the tiny Pennsylvania city. When we do, though, it’s usually to solve some problem directly related to Scranton. That’s not the case in Parks and Rec. The adventures and characters on that show are hardly limited to Pawnee, Indiana, even though that’s where the show is based. Even within the show’s respective towns, Pawnee is a much bigger place. We get to see everything from the town's outskirts to some historic monuments to, of course, the parks. But in The Office, we spend most of our time in Dunder Mifflin. That’s a pretty low standard compared to when Andy went to Guard the Galaxy. Er, London. He went to London.
4. Guest Appearances
Yes, we know that several Hollywood greats showed up on The Office. Will Ferrell was there, so was Amy Adams, and even Ultron. But Parks and Rec. was simply packed with amazing guest appearances, and they definitely take the cake in that competition. In Pawnee, we saw everyone from Sam Elliott to Andy Samberg, and even while venturing to Washington DC we met Joe Biden and Michelle Obama! The guests on The Office were amazing, but none of them were the coolest First Lady in American History.
3. Endearing Characters
Again, we can hear you shouting that The Office had this quality. And yes, it did. In that show, we fell in love with Jim and Pam as much as they fell for each other, and for all his faults, we bawled when Michael Scott decided he’d leave. But for every endearing relationship or character on The Office, there were three on Parks and Rec. From Andy and April’s marriage to the wacky but lovable Chris Traeger to, of course, the fearless hero Leslie Knope. The world of Parks and Rec. is just brimming with characters and character relationships to love. You might pack a couple of tissues for the episodes of The Office you know will pull at your heartstrings. But for Parks and Recreation? You’ll need to buy them in bulk.
Consider this; how many cast family members do you know from The Office? There’s Mose, of course, Pam’s mom, and Stanley’s daughter showed up one time. But besides these and a handful of others, family members of The Office cast rarely appear on the show. In Parks and Rec., however, the characters’ families matter. Ron’s ex-wives, and eventually his current wife, are integral to what goes on in the show. The same can be said for Leslie’s mom and even Gary’s (Jerry’s?) daughters. We know that The Office is supposed to focus on work relationships more than family ones, but come on. We couldn’t have gotten just a little bit more from Jim’s brothers?
Totally kidding. Thank God we never saw more of them.
1. The Ending
The ending of The Office is phenomenal. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching return to everything you've ever loved about the show; it serves as the perfect send-off to the series. The same is true of the Parks and Recreation series finale. The only difference? Parks and Rec. didn't have a two-season controversial lead-up to the end.
While both finales were just so perfect, The Office had a much bumpier road to get there. Parks and Rec., in opposition, had a brilliantly fulfilling final season; one that set-up a finale as only that show could. To argue that one finale alone is better than the other is ridiculous. But when it comes to which had a better final season? Well, watch the episode in which Ron and Leslie get locked in an office, then see what you think.
Do you agree with what we have here? What do you think The Office did better than Parks and Rec.? Let us know in the comments section below!