CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ is Best Comedy of 2011
CHICAGO – There’s quite a race for the best comedy of the year and I suspect that “Modern Family” will take the Emmy at Sunday’s awards (which we’ll get into more in-depth with a predictions feature later in the week), but the winner by a nose for this critic is NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” a show that just got better episode by episode as its brilliant third season progressed. See for yourself with the recently-released DVD from Universal.
Television Rating: 5.0/5.0
“Parks and Recreation” is the perfect example of why shows should be given time to grow. At its start, the program seemed to influenced by “The Office” and focused on elements that have been almost entirely discarded now including Leslie’s (Amy Poehler) relationship with the now-gone Paul Schneider and some generally dopey behavior on the part of our female lead. The writers retooled at the end of season two, bringing in the great Adam Scott and Rob Lowe and recognizing that Poehler was a more effective comedienne when she wasn’t playing stupid. Leslie turned into a more likable, believable character and Poehler gave the best lead comedy actress performance of the year.
Parks and Recreation
Photo credit: Universal
The entire ensemble, arguably the best on TV, upped their game with the retooling and the new cast additions. Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Rashida Jones — this is a great group of talented comedians and they constantly found a way to keep it fresh this year. This is one those comedies that gets better and better the more you spend time with its characters. And its repeat value is insanely high, which means its a perfect program for DVD.
I wish the program was available on Blu-ray (all current shows should be available in the same HD quality in which most fans are watching it) but the DVD set from Universal is still pretty respectable with 3 extended episodes and a ton of special features, including commentaries and deleted scenes.
I doubt that “Parks and Recreation” will be an Emmy contender on Sunday. This was its first year invited to the party in a major way and there are nominees I expect to just beat it out in the big categories (and a lack of a single supporting nomination hints at a lack of general support). That will change. Within a year or two, multiple supporting cast members of this program will be nominated and it will be a solid contender for Best Comedy. “Parks and Recreation” just keeps getting better. Get on the bandwagon now.
o 3 Extended Episodes!
o Deleted Scenes
o Gag Reel
o Li’l Sebastian Tribute
o And More!