Bolstered by the success of “The Office,” NBC wanted a spinoff. Creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur realized that a spinoff would always be unfavorably compared to the original. With the help of Amy Poehler, coming off a stellar run on “Saturday Night Live,” they fashioned this little gem, “Parks and Recreation,” the comedy version of “The West Wing,” as Schur said, a mockumentary about a small government office staffed with eccentrics and beset by ditzy townies.
The pilot (original air date: April 9, 2009) opens with Leslie Knope (Poehler), the deputy director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department, at a neighborhood playground and introducing herself to a little girl, who can’t bothered. There’s a drunk trapped in a slide, and Leslie has to push him down with a broom.
“It’s a great time to be a woman in politics,” Leslie tells the camera. “Hillary Clinton. Sarah Palin. Me.”