Parks and Recreation is a surprisingly good show

So, I watched way too much Parks and Recreation the last almost-a-week, but to be fair I only did it when I was supposed to be doing unimportant things like cleaning my apartment or sleeping. It’s one of the best sitcoms I’ve ever seen, to the point I was astounded it wasn’t a remake of a British series. (Let’s face it, the British are just plain better at sitcoms. Also historical drama, but that’s not relevant.)

What I like about it is that it is satirical without being cynical and intensely political without being didactic. Ron Swanson is the best example of this. He is a scathing parody of the hypocritical “small government” bureaucrats that started spawning throughout all levels of government in the early 2000s–people who literally believed that the job they held should not exist and did everything in their power to demonstrate it.

The show does not shy away in the slightest from showing how utterly awful he is, how gleeful he is about destroying the work of others, how horribly he treats his employees, how upside-down his morals are, and how utterly broken he is as a person. Yet at the same time it also builds him into a sympathetic character with hidden depths who gets to be frequently badass. He’s a person–a person who has let his warped philosophy blind him to the world around him, yes, but still not a walking joke the way, say, Andy is.

Also both Sam and Josh from The West Wing eventually show up in it. Fingers crossed for Allison Janney at some point, she’s amazing and very funny.

Have I mentioned I started watching Farscape?

Because I’ve been watching Farscape. So far I enjoy it just barely enough to keep watching–episode 10 in particular (the one where we find out precisely what D’Argo was in prison for) seemed to be the beginning of a noticeable upward leap in the baseline quality of the show, and since then it’s only had one really bad episode. (You are not allowed to mock cargo cults unless you can present documentary proof that you have never in your entire life prayed, yelled at your technology for not working, asked your missing keys where they are, or otherwise acted as if inanimate objects/the universe in general can be spoken to and entreated like people. Even then, you probably shouldn’t.)

Just watched episode 17 last night, the one where the ship got split into its component colors, and it was weird and entertaining and nicely creepy. I like when the show hits that register, it should do it more. Also less focus on John, more on actually interesting characters like Pilot, Rygel, and Chiana please. I think I basically just want a weird, slightly creepy show about puppets and fascinatingly off-putting acting choices. In space.

Also John is usually written as a confused fish out of water, but the actor usually plays him as a confident, swaggering Hollywood leading man, and the combination registers in my brain as “smug, condescending douchebro who refuses to admit that he’s way out of his depth.” Also he keeps derailing interesting stuff about Aeryn exploring ways to challenge herself outside of combat into boring-ass romantic subplot. I kind of hate him.

I have been watching the Netflix

For a variety of reasons, I happened to get Netflix at precisely the moment I had to eliminate my entire entertainment budget (only reason I was able to go to the Protomen was because I paid for the tickets weeks ago), so it’s been getting a pretty hefty workout. I watched all of Breaking Bad, as I mentioned, and then moved on to Weeds because I have had a schoolboy crush on Mary Louise Parker for decades, and also Arrested Development because everybody’s been bugging me about it for years.

Conclusions thus far: Breaking Bad is some of the best television ever made Weeds is not bad but I think I’d have liked it more if I’d watched it before Breaking Bad, which is both more dramatically compelling and more laugh-out-loud funny. But even nearing fifty, Mary Louise Parker’s smile can still light up a room, so I continue. And I liked Arrested Development better when they were poor and it was called Titus.