Wallowing in a muddy fourth place among major networks, NBC is betting on Amy Poehler to clean up its ratings with Parks and Recreation, Will Leitch writes in New York magazine. A mockumentary style sitcom “from the people who bring you The Office”—as NBC ads are trumpeting—the show also tanked in test screenings that found it "slow" and "predictable." But, producers say, the show captures the national zeitgeist.
Writers conceived Parks—about an over-optimistic state bureaucrat attempting to start a public works project—during the election, imagining that the government’s role in public life would expand. “We had no idea how right we were,” says co-creator Michael Schur. As for the test screenings, no worries. "We’d done four or five complete edits on the pilot by the time we got the focus-group results back,” says Schur.