Parks and Recreation

Common Sense Media says

Local government spoof for mature viewers is goofy at heart.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the series draws its comedy from government dysfunction, the main character and her colleagues do manage to make some positive changes in their community...eventually.

Positive role models

The main character is passionate about her job, so even when she slips up, her heart's in the right place. But a few of her colleagues are less than ethical. The show also illustrates that women can work together and be still be friends, even if they sometimes disagree.


Mild falls/slapstick moments, played for comedic effect.


Sexual innuendo, along with suggestive euphemisms like "get laid" and "just the tip." Some characters are involved in interoffice affairs and/or one-night stands, etc.


Audible words like "hell," "bitch," "crap," and "douchebag." On occasion, there's also strong bleeped language, as in "f--k my c--k."


Dell computers.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mostly social drinking, but characters sometimes drink on the job to celebrate. Any drunkenness is played for comedy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens who watch this mockumentary-style sitcom from the creators of The Office will find adult-oriented humor when it comes to sexual content, alcohol, and language (including a little bleeped swearing). That said, the main character is goofy but likeable, and her well-intentioned quest to perform her public duties as ethically as possible -- however misguided -- is a noble one.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In PARKS AND RECREATION, an unseen camera crew documents the efforts of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), an idealistic parks and rec official working for the town of Pawnee, Ind., to change her community for the better. But her efforts are often hampered by her own incompetence. Among those aiding Leslie on her quest -- and often standing in her way -- are her skeptical boss, Ron (Nick Offerman); her enterprising colleague, Tom (Aziz Ansari); and a state auditor (Adam Scott) with whom she enters into an under-wraps office romance. She also works closely with a local nurse (Rashida Jones) who becomes the city health department's new public relations director -- and her best friend.

Is it any good?


Playing a deluded public servant with a can-do attitude, Poehler -- who first found fame on Saturday Night Live -- tackles a different kind of comedy in this mockumentary that attempts to do for small-town bureaucrats what The Office did for misguided middle managers. And the verdict is that Parks and Recreation pulls it off, thanks in large part to the comedic chops of a woman who once gangsta rapped with Sarah Palin on SNL's "Weekend Update" while 8 months' pregnant.

The show's first season was funny, if not rolling-on-the-floor hilarious -- but the character-driven comedy gets better with time once audiences are more familiar with the players involved and come to embrace their quirks and foibles. The decision to keep things fresh with new regulars and a steady stream of guest stars and is a smart choice, too, pulling talent like Scott, Rob Lowe and Patricia Clarkson into the mix.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way women are portrayed on television and why positive female relationships tend to be such a rarity. Are women on TV more often shown working together, or working against each other? How do TV stereotypes match up to the behavior of the women you know in real life?

  • Does the mockumentary style work well for a comedy like this one? Would the show be as funny if it were presented as a typical sitcom with a laugh track? Why do you think the show's creators decided to film it the way they did?

  • As far as the content, do you think the show exaggerates what happens behind the scenes in local government offices? Do you think local officials do a good job of running your community?

TV details

Cast:Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones
Topics:Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Parks and Recreation was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bypunkrocker July 1, 2009

Hilarious for older kids

THIS IS THE FUNNIEST SHOW EVER! It's one of my favorite shows and I think that kids should be able to watch it. Kids younger than 10 probably wouldn't get the jokes but I think it's apropriatte for basically any age. It's really funny. I LOVE AMY POEHLER! I love how she just turns any situation around in this show. cough *positive messages* cough.

What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion April 19, 2009

An Okay Show...

PARKS AND RECREATION is an okay show. The whole weekly episode is only 20 minutes long, and there are some funny parts. It's like this: when it's funny, it's really funny. But when it's not funny, it's dull.
There is some language: "b**ch", "a*s", and "d**n" are all used some (stronger language is bleeped out). Reference is made to "getting plastered" at a meeting, and mention is made of two colleagues sleeping together. There is mention of covering up cartoon penises on a mural (nothing is shown).

Teen, 17 years old Written byjohnthemon February 6, 2011

Not nearly as bad as the main reviewer says

This show is pretty clean, and mostly quite family friendly. And did I mention it's hilarious? Recommended for basically everyone 10 and up

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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