EMMYS: 'Parks & Recreation's Michael Schur

Deadline TV contributor Diane Haithman files this report:

NBC’s Parks And Recreation, which stars Amy Poehler as a small town public servant, has a sterling pedigree for an Emmy. It was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who respectively are the creator and creative team member for NBC’s multi-award-winning veteran comedy The Office. And The Office was adapted by Daniels from the popular BBC series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who join Daniels as executive producers of the U.S. version.

But there’s a downside to being part of this royal family. While The Office has been crowned with the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, Parks And Recreation has not. Poehler was nominated in 2010 but did not win. Plus, out of the box, the show had to live down comparisons to The Office ever since the newer series came on the TV landscape in April 2009. It even airs in the Thursday 9:30 p.m. time slot just after The Office — which won for Outstanding Comedy in 2006 and which in turn follows 30 Rock, which took the crown in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Yet, even as a direct descendent of Emmy-winners, Parks And Recreation remains a commoner, like Kate Middleton before Prince William handed her the wedding ring.

Mike Schur has shared in The Office’s Emmy success, but Parks And Recreation is his own offspring. Nevertheless, he has to constantly correct the popular misconception that Parks and Recreation is an Office spinoff. That’s because the newer show was originally intended to be a spinoff, but then developed with its own original concept. But Schur says the real inspiration for Parks and Recreation came from another multiple-Emmy winner. “I was a huge West Wing fan, and I thought maybe we could think of this as a half-hour comedy version. In The West Wing, it’s about Russia about to invade China. In our show, it’s about your local garbage. We did some research into the lives of municipal government bureaucrats and it was like, wow, this has just not been done. There have been shows about mayors or governors or presidents, but not about the unelected officials doing their day jobs.”

Using the same “mockumentary” style as The Office was a creative choice not intended to mimic, says Schur. “The multi-camera format was based on vaudeville, which was the way a lot of people got into entertainment before TV started. I think the mockumentary is refl ective of the era of YouTube digital video and its very confessional culture. There’s a difference between what you say to a camera and what you say when you are alone in a room, and for our people in government we thought we could get a lot of mileage out of spying on them. We knew we were going to take a hit for being like The Office, but we were trying to make a very long-term decision.”

Schur admits that an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series is a short-term hope. But for a TV series there is always a bigger prize on the horizon: getting renewed season after season. “I guess if we could last as long as The Office, forget about the awards. To tell enough stories to make 150 episodes, that’s the real goal.”

  1. Gotta say, used to be a huge fan of 30 Rock… but this is by far the funniest show on television. Credit to them and the awesome writers and actors for showing us how optimism can be far more enjoyable than cynicism.

  2. I’ve been a fan since day one, it is the best and funniest comedy on TV. Hope it wins multiple Emmy’s!!!

  3. His comment about borrowing The Office’s narrative format, was what turned me off originally from the series. But his gamble paid off. I stuck with the show and think it’s great. Amy Poehler and the cast deliver.

  4. Five comments prove the truth: this show is vastly overrated. Yes, you heard the poster correctly: only five comments in favor of this supposed “fan” favorite show proves that this show is garbage. Great talents on this show are wasted on a weekly basis thanks to a subpar series premise that should’ve been thrown out at the inception.

  5. I’m just posting to add my name in as one of the fans of this show. It’s nice to have positivity win out.

  6. Parks and rec had a perfect season this last year which rarely happens for a sitcom. If it does not win the emmy it will be an injustice.

  7. Quoth the dbag whose name comes from an asenine tv show on the cw designed for tweenage girls…apologies if the humor escapes your pea sized brain, Parks and Rec is probably the most innovative and creative sitcom since Sports Night.

  8. Favorite show on television- hope it is starting to get the audience and recognition that it deserves!

  9. Best sitcom on television. I’ll be praying for it and community to pull out some best comedy nods.

  10. they should def be nominated this year and i think they deserve to win, to me its the funniest comedy and one of the shows i look forward to the most

  11. P&R is my favourite show on television. No other show can match the amount of comedy and heart found in every episode. The high watermark of the sitcom format.

  12. c’mon, the lead is a rip off of Valerie Cherish where he was a writer.

    ALSO, HE’S PRETTY MUCH AN A$$HOLE as a person.

  13. Parks is the best show on TV. No doubt about it. If you’re not watching, you should feel bad for your life decisions.

  14. Oh my, a massive eleven more fan posters. That proves me wrong yesssiree. GREAT show. I am glad to have seen the light finally.

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