'Parks and Recreation': Suck it, focus group

Parksandrecreation_lEveryone’s a-buzz today about the lousy focus-group results for Parks and Recreation, the new Amy Poehler-led Office-style mockumentary, which according to an apparently leaked report, didn’t test well. NBC honcho Ben Silverman tells EW that "all of the research we do around initial rough cuts is negative," and that it’s common for successful shows to have crummy focus group results. (No joke.) Silverman confidence or no — I mean, the guy greenlit Knight Rider — I’m still really looking forward to Parks and feel largely able to dismiss the concerns raised in this focus group report. Behold, y’all:

Complaint: It’s too much like The Office First, that’s like complaining that your boyfriend looks too much like Brad Pitt. But I’ll bite: When The Office first premiered, I hated how closely it hewed to the UK’s original — it seemed derivative and redundant. Over the course of its first season, and particularly through its second, however, the US version really found its own unique voice. It’s possible that Parks does feel too much like its progenitor, but that’s far from an unsolvable or surprising problem.

Complaint: "[A]ll the men in the show were seen as ‘sleazy’ in one way or another…there are no ‘datable’ [male characters.]"
I guess that means more Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt for me? (Just kidding, Anna Faris, I hope you guys are really happy togeths.) Sleaze has a way of growing on you: Barney on How I Met Your Mother, Jack on 30 Rock, Chuck on Gossip Girl, Sawyer on the early seasons of Lost, and House on House could all be considered sleazy in some contexts, but that’s hardly limited their appeal. Not worried. Plus…not every show has to be about boning. I can handle 22 minutes without sexual tension.

Complaint: The pacing is too slow, and "many were confused as to the reasons and motivations behind the ‘documentary.’" If the pacing actually is too slow, or the show actually is confusing, those are both common issues for pilots. But they’re also issues that people had with The Office, and that show’s pacing doesn’t bother me at all, nor do I want an explanation of the documentary format. I like the mystery of it all!

Okay, PopWatchers, how are you feeling about Parks and Recreation? Excited? Cautiously so? Or totally tuned out?

addCredit(“Mitch Haddad/NBC”)


Comments (59 total) Add your comment
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  • BrandonK

    I’m excited…it sounds like this show has a lot going for it. I think we all agree focus groups are overrated.

  • Brian

    Yay! Can’t wait for primetime Poehler.

  • Bollywood Talent Associates

    Of course it didn’t test well. Which retard wants to convince everyone that Amy Poehler is a star? Or talented? She’s definitely not either of those. She’s a mildly funny cast member from the Upright Citizens Brigade who got way overrated by landing a gig on SNL and by having a very hard-working publicist who wants us all to believe that Poehler is a hot comic talent. Same thing with Tina Fey. Thinking these two are great stars in any sense is like thinking that OJ is innocent.

  • Stephanie T.

    It sounds as if the writers figured that they could rewrite the stupid sitcom “Hail to the Chief” by adding a little of “The Office (American version)”. I am not sure that it can work if all of the focus is on Poehler. We will see what happens.

  • Dave

    Where do they found the mouth-breathers that make up these focus groups? I just picture a room full of overweight dullards complaining “we don’t get it!” while waiting for their free pizza. Sorry, just flashed back 30 Rock there for a sec…

  • Dave

    Um, yes, it should have said where do they FIND (not found). Removing foot from mouth now….

  • Hey Bollywood Talent

    How’s the short bus ride going?

  • Ace

    I’m not as anti-Amy Poehler as one poster below me, but I just don’t see her carrying a show. She was funny in weekend update, but I found most of her sketches on SNL awkward and annoying. I wish Aziz Ansari had stayed on Scrubs.

  • Kate

    There are certain people that I just trust and would watch anything they do – Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars and any writer from The Office. That’s just the way it is. They will forever have my viewership!

  • Laura

    Focus groups are often way off base…. Still, I am concerned about their complaint that “all the guys are sleazy”. That would be really annoying, if true.

  • Bollywood Talent Associates

    To the poster who asked, “How’s the short bus ride going?” Please explain. Nobody knows what you mean. If they do, somebody fill me in.

  • Brody

    It’s entirely possible that, despite its impressive pedigree, the show’s just not that good. (See: Joey and Related fromt the creators of Friends.)

  • Amy fan

    I’ll give anything with Amy Poehler a chance. And Bollywood, I do get the short bus comment, and its even funnier and on-target that you don’t.

  • jaybo jensen

    Poehler has the talent and look of a terminal bit player. That is to say, she doesn’t have much of either attribute. That she’s considered a comedy star tells us a lot about the extreme gullibility of the American people and the power of publicity departments. She’s about as worthy as all the other SNL cast members who were slightly amusing, but highly annoying – and who we were supposed to believe were stars – people like Julia Sweeney, Denny Dillon, Anthony Michael Hall, Robin Duke, and Joan Cusack. Poehler’s about as talented (and tolerable) as these lame excuses for entertainers.

  • evie

    woah, woah, woah. Chris Pratt is on this show?? As an Office fan, I was definitely going to watch. But as an Everwood fan, now I’m truly excited about it!!

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