Parks and Recreation

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Parks and Recreation TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Local government spoof for mature viewers is goofy at heart.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 107 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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. The coworkers become family over the course of the series, and there's a lot of respect and integrity among them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Leslie Knope is a wonderful role model with a lot of integrity. She's 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. However, they demonstrate teamwork to overcome challenges and red tape. All of the female characters in this series -- Donna, April, Leslie, and Ann -- have sexual agency and have a great deal of control in relationships, both work and personal. Additionally, many of the male characters play against stereotypes (Chris’ sensitivity and battle with depression, Andy’s vulnerability and warmth, Tom's interest in fashion and culture).

Violence

Mild falls/slapstick moments, played for comedic effect.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

Dell computers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that teens who watch Parks and Recreation will find a mockumentary-style sitcom from the creators of The Office with 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byceebee May 6, 2019

Parks and Rec = Cheap Humor

Hi,
I heard that Parks and Rec was a clean, funny show but upon watching episode after episode, I was disheartened to say the least. The show is littered with h... Continue reading
Adult Written byTwinkieVic October 10, 2018

Great show, but not for kids

This show has a PG rating, and my husband and I thought it was funny the few times we'd watched it, so we decided to watch it as a family with our 12 year... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymoongiirlx January 9, 2017

Great Show Overall

Whether a parent lets their child watch Parks and Rec or not is, in my opinion, mainly based on their judgement. For me, Parks and Rec is one of my all-time fav... Continue reading
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'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?

This series is goofy, clever, and ultimately, full of heart. 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way women are portrayed on television and why positive female relationships like those on Parks and Recreation 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?

  • How do the characters on Parks and Recreation demonstrate integrity and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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