Five seasons in, and "Parks and Recreation" is clearly the smartest and funniest comedy on network TV.
I'd go as far as call it a modern-day classic, full of lovable characters and smart one-liners that are as sharp as anything you'll hear on peer "30 Rock."
The season opener (9:30 p.m. Thursday, WBIR, Channel 10) isn't highly spectacular, but it's praise worthy nonetheless. This half-hour package merely does with ease what this overlooked Amy Poehler vehicle does best: It makes you laugh out loud.
While that sounds like exactly what it should be doing, you should consider this: Most sitcoms today don't really go for the funny line anymore. They play much wider, building amusing situations constructed out of charm.
"Parks and Recreation" does that, but it also doesn't forget its prime directive — dialogue that goes beyond only witty.
As earnest councilwoman Leslie Knope from the small town of Pawnee, Ind., Poehler has created a sincere, though occasionally irritating, persona. Over the seasons, Leslie has grown beyond the self-centered style she first had.
Now she's an overgrown Girl Scout, a woman with many causes and most of them are on a very small scale. "We're overrun with raccoons and obese toddlers," she tells guests at a party of Pawnee.
In Washington, D.C., with co-worker Andy (Chris Pratt), Leslie feels extremely small in the largest government pond.
Of the tall and beautiful bureaucratic women in town, she deadpans, "It's like C-SPAN and Neiman Marcus had kids."
Yet Leslie keeps marching on, hoping to make her small slice of the world better.
"Parks and Recreation" does, too, and that makes it worth watching.
Score: 4 stars(out of five)
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!