Parks and Recreation: Season 1 (2009)


Season 1
Parks and Recreation

Critics Consensus

While it has yet to develop its own identity, Parks and Recreation's awkward and absurd humor hints at its potential to become a great comedy, thanks largely to the talents of Amy Poehler.



Critic Ratings: 36

Audience Score

User Ratings: 0
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Air date: Apr 9, 2009
Air date: Apr 16, 2009
Air date: Apr 23, 2009
Air date: Apr 30, 2009
Air date: May 7, 2009
Air date: May 14, 2009

Parks and Recreation: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

This hilarious and warmhearted mockumentary series focuses on the parks-department employees at the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. While the department's workaholic deputy director, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), fervently believes in the government's capacity to do good, her resolve is tested by a modest project that requires her to fight through endless layers of bureaucracy and red tape: filling in an abandoned construction pit and turning it into a new park. Her allies in this cause include nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), whose slacker boyfriend Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) broke both of his legs after falling into the pit; totally apathetic intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza); coworker Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), who spends most of his day dreaming up get-rich-quick schemes; city planner and ladies' man Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider); and staunchly libertarian parks director Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who believes the government has no business trying to improve anything.

News & Interviews for Parks and Recreation: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Parks and Recreation Season 1

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (22)

Part of Parks and Recreation feels uncomfortable, which would be more tolerable if the rest of the show felt funny.

Apr 9, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Leslie and her outsized enthusiasm for everything D.C. is a gold mine.

Apr 9, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

The show is just good enough to keep you turning back in to see her [Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope] unwarranted optimism curdle.

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

I laughed, often, both while reading the script and while watching the completed pilot.

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Parks and Recreation has many distinctions, not least of all the hugely talented Poehler from Saturday Night Live, who promises to develop Leslie slowly, without the haste required in sketch comedy.

Apr 9, 2009 | Full Review…

Okay, so maybe the show isn't quite as quotable as The Office, but with only six episodes to impress, Parks and Recreation does a far better job convincing its audience to tune in for a second season than its counterpart did in its freshman year.

Oct 10, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Poehler has the skills to pull off the role -- Leslie is sweetly, credibly dumb -- but this kind of sitcom needs to build slowly. For now the biggest laughs go to Nick Offerman as her boss.

Oct 10, 2019 | Full Review…

Parks and Recreation may grow and find its own voice.... Unfortunately, nothing in tonight's pilot [made me laugh], not once. I was hoping for more, and expecting it, too.

Oct 10, 2019 | Full Review…

Poor Leslie is beset on all sides by a slapdash supporting team of lazy and selfish workers, who seems to find no greater joy than watching her fail on a grand scale. This series has a ton of potential going forward.

Oct 9, 2019 | Rating: 7.2/10 | Full Review…

Parks and Recreation is a swell little show that is still figuring out exactly what it wants to be. Fans of The Office will likely enjoy the program but most will likely consider it as a weak little sister.

Oct 9, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

It swerves around the pitfalls of sitcom tedium, thanks to some of the most memorable comedy characters in TV history...

Nov 16, 2018 | Full Review…

Parks and Recreation is a show that is impossible not to befriend.

Oct 10, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Parks and Recreation: Season 1

  • Jan 10, 2019
  • Dec 21, 2018
    The first time I saw this it was an episode somewhere in the middle of the series and I didn't get it. So didn't watch more. Then I had the chance to start at episode one. Gotta start there to appreciate, for me at least. Then I binged for a few hours. Don't have time to watch every series I start. Who does? But I may visit again. I developed a soft spot for Amy Poehler's grown up girlscout optimism. Yes we're going to sell the cookies. Yes, we're going to build this park!
  • Apr 25, 2018
    Good show could be more funny 7/10
  • Jan 22, 2018
    Parks and Recreation season 1 is a bad example for the rest of the show. Start with a later episode and I promise it gets good.
  • Jan 09, 2018
    While "Parks and Recreation" season 1 has a rocky start, it luckily got better for every season onward to become my favorite show of all time. These are my rating for each episode of Season 1: "Pilot"- B+ "Canvassing"- B "The Reporter- A- "Boy's Club"- A- "The Banquet"- B+ "Rock Show"- A+ (One of my favorite episode of the series)
  • Apr 17, 2017
    Boring start to a series, dreaded watching further, but I thankfully kept going after this season
  • Mar 17, 2017
    Parks and Recreation: Season 1 Amy Poehler just owns it
  • Feb 25, 2017
    Due to the fact that I consider "The Office" & "Modern Family" as among my favorite TV shows, I finally decided to give this short (six episodes) Season One of "Parks & Recreation" a try, as it seems to be created in a similar vein. Perhaps I'm just getting worn down by these "mockumentary-style" shows, or maybe "Parks & Rec." just didn't bring anything new to the format (more likely). Either way, I didn't find much to enjoy in these six episodes. For a basic summary, "Parks & Rec." is set up much like "The Office", except that the location is now a government office, and thus plays off those themes. The main character is Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a go-getter of the highest order who truly believes in her small-town government post. The main theme of this first season chronicles the beginning of her struggle to turn a community dumping pit into a beautiful park, complete with all the struggles such a seemingly simple task shouldn't have to face but does because, well, government. There are also a number of supporting cast members, including: -Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), a high-level bureaucrat who wants nothing to do with government. -April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), a fresh-faced intern who is completely bored by any and all proceedings. -Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), a comic stooge who realizes the ridiculous of every situation. -Mark Brandanawicz (Paul Schneider), Leslie's confidant and potential love interest. -Ann (Rashida Jones) and Andy (Chris Pratt), the couple who brings the pit to the city government's attention and have numerous personal issues of their own. It's clear from the very start that this show is set up to capitalize on the success of "The Office", even poaching Rashida Jones straight from that show. Unfortunately, it lacks two key attributes that "The Office" had in spades: 1. There is no dramatic presence to this show (until it is rushed and contrived in the final scenes of the sixth episode). Where "The Office" had Jim and Pam to create high drama to go along with the comedy, "Parks & Rec" has none of that. It could have, with Ann and Andy, but it doesn't try to capitalize on it until the final episode, and even then does so in a haphazard fashion. There are many, many average sitcoms on the airwaves at any given time, and what usually sets the good apart from the mediocre is that the good ones include enough dramatic elements to take themselves just seriously enough to transcend the comedy genre. This show doesn't do that with these episodes. 2. Amy Poehler just isn't as good as Steve Carell's Michael Scott. Maybe that isn't necessarily a fair comparison, as the Scott character was both brilliant and first, but the point still stands. I felt like I knew who Leslie Knope was right from her opening scene and didn't have that opinion changed one bit through the end of the season. Having such a static lead character is going to be a problem. Thus, despite the fact that I can tell "Parks & Rec" is made with care and efforts are being given all around, I just don't feel like this first batch of episodes adds anything new to this genre. The laughs weren't their for me, and (as previously mentioned) there isn't a drama component as a counterpoint. I've heard that this show vastly improves even as quickly as the second season, so maybe in the future I'll try to jump back into it, but right now I'm pretty low on the entire concept after Season One.
  • Jun 27, 2016
    Unique and funny, Parks and Rec succeeds due to several excellent actors and some clever writing.
  • Jun 18, 2016
    'Parks and Recreation'; a show full of random and embarrassing moments. Season 1 might not shine as much as its successors, but it sure is the first one. The humor is very good, and combined with these weird and funny characters, well it's a smart mix-up! But it's not always as funny as what it could be. As the first installment to a brand new show; a lot of time is spent on getting us to know these diverse characters, which yes, may take some of the fun out of the plot and the humor, but there could have been way more inside to our characters. More development and less laughing zombie-alike characters could have been more awesome to see. The ambitious but unprofessional cinematography is another aspect, it's a brave move and I adore it! The show kind of comes along as it goes, and the weird direction is therefor a fit. Still, the real shine lies with the genuine chemistry, the splendid actors & the relatable moments (of positivity) with our characters. That's Parks & Rec in a nutshell! Overall personal rating for each episode: 68.3/100. Personal rating: 72/100 Critical rating: 68/100

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