Parks and Recreation TV Poster Image

Parks and Recreation



Local government spoof for mature viewers is goofy at heart.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009

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

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. 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 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.

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 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

Premiere date:April 9, 2009
Cast:Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones
Topics:Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Character strengths:Integrity, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Parks and Recreation was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Workplace spoof is hilarious but filled with mature humor.
  • Brilliant, poignant comedy series has mature content.
  • SNL alums craft clever media satire.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byWriteorDie September 21, 2013

Case By Case Basis...

We have been watching this show since the beginning. By we I mean my 9 year old (who caught up via Netflix), myself and her dad. My daughter has seen basically all of the episodes She started watching about a year and a 1/2 ago. She understands the jokes and has grown fond of quite a few of the characters. She LOVES Leslie, April and Andy and does an amazing impression of Jean-Ralphio:) Here's the deal. There are some episodes where there is some sexual innuendo. There are episodes where there is some mature language. If you live in America, your child quite possibly will have encountered both of these themes by this age. I truly believe that every child is different and in my daughter's case, she is a well-rounded, creative child. Art and writing (short stories, scripts, etc.) are her thing. Her father and I are both writers so creativity and humor is encouraged in our home. With that said, if your 9 year old is not mature enough to appreciate and/or understand the humor or turns bright red when they hear the word "sex" then this show may not be for them. However, if you have a child who gets the jokes and is able to appreciate the fictional town of Pawnee and all its quirks, I HIGHLY recommend this show.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byDon Draper February 4, 2013

This is LITRALLY the best comedy on TV

4 out of 5? C'mon people as Chris Traeger would say this is LITRALLY the best comedy on TV. *Note that is not a typo and is how Chris Traeger (played by Rob Lowe) pronounces the word literally*
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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