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TV SHOWdown: 30 Rock vs. Parks and Recreation

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, and Andy Dwyer versus Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, and Tracy Morgan. A battle of classic NBC sitcoms that both ran for seven seasons and were both undervalued during their heyday (mostly thanks to The Office). However, streaming services have allowed us to relive all the ridiculous plot lines, lovable characters, and endless lessons these two phenomenal shows delivered weekly.

Two of our Bromunity members, Kev Cav and Madame Fuzzywiggle, have taken sides and presented their case for each show. Which show do you think is better? VOTE BELOW!

30 Rock - Kev Cav

Growing up, my mom would sometimes make Reubens for me and my sisters. The Reubens were delicious. but my brother would never want one. Finally, just recently, my brother tried a Reubens. Now, he always talks up Reubens to all of us, like, "Guys, you gotta try this sandwich. It's AMAZING". We know, Brendan, we know. We've been eating Reubens for a long time. You're late to the party, but you can have a seat at the table.

Anyway, that's me with 30 Rock. I just started watching it one month ago (the show started in 2006) and I can't shut up about it. I always tell my siblings, you gotta watch the show. They know, they've already seen it. Well, if i can't make my case to them, I'll make my case to you. Here's why I love 30 Rock, and why it's better than Parks and Rec.

The writing is witty and fast paced. You won't want to be on your phone during this because you're going to miss something good. There are so many jokes. You might say, "YEAH we get it, it's a comedy, there are jokes in comedies". That's a fair point, but the jokes are rapid fire, one after the other. It definitely keeps you on your toes, and is a big reason why the show is enjoyable.

There are so many memorable characters. There are some shows you watch where certain plots are just meh because you're not super invested in the characters who are involved. That is not the case with 30 Rock. No matter who the plot of the episode centers on, it's bound to be entertaining.

There are a tons of repeat jokes throughout the series. My personal favorite: Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. In case you wanna check it out, here's a link for your viewing pleasure. The song shows up at random times in the series without having too much attention called to it, which I love. You get the sense that there is an attention to detail that is not matched by other shows. Talking about these running jokes too in depth would probably not do them any justice. You just gotta watch it, and you'll be glad you did.

Overall, the writing, the acting, the attention to detail -- that's what sets 30 Rock apart from other shows. Not to mention, all of these excellent qualities in a show, packed into a 20 minute episode!! While there are quite a few episodes to watch, it doesn't have the same pressure as having to catch up on a series with 10+ seasons, and every episode is 1 hour. Who even has the time needed to invest in watching a show like that? I do, but my short attention span is holding me back from that.

You know what, I think I'll put an episode on now! Maybe I'll make a Reuben for lunch while I'm at it.

Parks and Recreation - Madame Fuzzywiggle

I’m not saying Parks and Recreation is better than 30 Rock. I could never. Truthfully, there is space in my heart for both Parks and Rock. I mean, I also would never even think of comparing two of my female comedy sheros. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are legends in and within their own right and I could never compare two successful, awe-worthy women in comedy (and producing, writing, mothering, living, killin’ it, etc).

What I will say is this: more times than not, I’ll flip on Parks while I’m cleaning around my apartment or finishing up some work. It’s my automatic go to and will be sorely missed when it leaves Netflix one day. There’s something inside of me that just melts when the theme song plays and April glares at the camera. There is also something to be honored about pre-stupidly-famous Chris Pratt. Ugh, and pre-semi-creepy-questionable-with-women Aziz Ansari.

But there are many things in the show that have actually aged well: the power of waffles, Ben’s excitement at his own Iron Throne, Jerry/Larry/Gerry, Leslie’s encouraging stroll across an ice rink in heels, sigh. Need I go on? Okay, but one more thing: Parks and Rec even gave us a slogan to live our glutinous lives by: Treat Yo Self (fine, leather goooooods).

More than anything though, Parks and Rec holds a special place in my heart for Leslie Knope. At a time when the world feels like a hot mess, Leslie Knope is what I need. I’m soothed by Knope and her optimistic dedication to serving Pawnee and a bit jealous they get her and we don’t. Watching her gleaming relentlessness is the wind in my sails, the gentle nudge I find myself needing more and more lately.

We’re all a little better with more Knope in our lives and we’d certainly be better off with more Knopes in our world. Honestly, I’ve never prayed for a fictional character to be President of the United States more in my life.

Case closed. Book shut. Go watch season 3, episode 7 and laugh with me until we cry.

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