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<I>Parks and Recreation</I>: A Wreck, But Can It Be Fixed?

It was announced this week that midseason sitcom Parks and Recreation earned itself a spot on the NBC lineup next fall. Which is somewhat of a shock, since the show hasn't really been all that funny, and NBC has a very limited amount of space come next season due to Jay Leno taking over five hours of valuable primetime space. The show has a good pedigree (being from the executive producers of The Office) and serious comedic potential (with Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari) but after four episodes we're pretty bored. However, The Office's first season (which also started in the spring) was pretty dull too. It wasn't until season two when The Office finally stopped trying to be a copycat of the UK version and decided to be its own show, that it actually got funny. If Parks and Recreation decides next season to stop being an Office clone, it has a chance at improving. Here are our suggestions.

More screentime for Aziz
He's a comic gem whom we adore, his slacker Tom is a spectacular screw-up and he's hands-down the best part of the show. When Tom and Poehler's Leslie are together, those are the moments that actually make us chuckle. But too often he's out of the picture.

Less bureaucratic stuff, more hands-on community action
Yes, this show is about the painstakingly slow process of getting anything done in local government, but actually watching that makes the show tediously dull. Even The Office guys barely sell paper. Liven the series up with some more of Leslie coping with poop-throwing teenagers or meeting and freaking out anti-park residents and we'll be happier.

Figure out Brendanawicz's deal
Sometimes it seems like Paul Schneider's Mark likes Leslie; other times he seems to hate her and is disgusted by the idea that they once hooked up. You can't have it both ways. He's either her unrequited love, or there's the potential for romance there. The inconsistency isn't working.

Put Leslie's boss and mom on the show more
They are the two people in Leslie's life who realize that she's crazy, but still try to help her out... mostly to get her to shut up. Their eye-rolling and annoyed glares are fabulous, but they are few and far between since they aren't on regularly. Let's fix that and at the very least make Leslie's disillusioned (and anti-establishment) boss Ron more of a permanent fixture. We'd love to hear more of his theories on how the government should actually be run. One guy in a room with a button sounds interesting.

Get rid of April
Nothing against Aubrey Plaza as an actress, but her character is a waste here. She's a petulant teen intern who adds nothing. You've already got one disinterested slacker in Tom, together their disaffected behavior is too dull to care about. If they insist on keeping her around, at least give her more of a personality.

More Andy and Ann at home
Andy (Chris Pratt) and Ann (Rashida Jones) have this oddball relationship that we enjoy, and watching Andy try to get around with two broken legs is a cheap laugh, but at least it is a laugh. We'll take what we can get.

More projects than just the pit
It's fine that the pit is this big overarching theme and project for Leslie to work on, but there are only so many times people can throw garbage in the pit or fall into it before they run out of things to do there.

Be less boring
I think the boredom factor is really the worst thing about it. While some of these other suggestions are minor tweaks, trying to liven this show up is the biggest hurdle that this series has to face.

Your thoughts on the show? Leave 'em below.

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