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'Parks and Rec' 100th Episode Special

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Videos | January 8, 2014 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Videos | January 8, 2014 |

I started rewatching Parks and Rec from the beginning a few weeks ago, mostly as a filler while cooking. Comedies, especially ones that you’ve seen before, are great for that. It took a couple episodes to realize that I hadn’t actually seen the entire first season. So, um, I suddenly had a bunch of good television that I hadn’t even known that I’d missed. That’s the Netflix way.

I love that damned show. And having never seen the first season (apparently), but having heard at length how it was the worst and not even worth watching if you hadn’t yet, I was intrigued to find that I like it just as much as the subsequent seasons. Suck it rumor!

It’s funny, yes, but as I’ve written elsewhere, what makes the show brilliant to me is the way that it is an outright treatise on the role of government in society, and what a difference small groups of dedicated individuals can make. It might make you laugh, but it’s a show about the nature of democracy every bit as insightful as powerful drama like The West Wing.

Tomorrow night, the show will be broadcasting its 100th episode, remarkable really for a show as tightly bound to a niche audience as this. The cast put together a full 20 minute special on their favorite moments and scenes of the series. It’s wonderful. I love this 20 minutes more than Lil’ Sebastian. By a smidge.

You know what this feels like? The bit they air in the slot before a blockbuster series finale. Twenty years ago we only got that with the Seinfeld level of shows. Now we get them for the shows that people deeply care about thanks to a billion electrons wangling through tubes.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.