Everyone’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?