During the slow days of summer, when network television is a desert in terms of quality programming, I turn to Netflix Instant Viewing for survival. For those of you who are in need of some genuinely funny and entertaining shows, here are a couple work place based sitcoms that I cannot say enough good things about. The fact that both of them feature Adam Scott is purely coincidental (not really - love him.) Best thing is that they are both available now on instant viewing so have fun!
Party Down: "Are we having fun yet?" This short lived Starz series follows a group of small time caterers in Los Angeles, with the majority of the employees treating the gig as their day job while they attempt to make it in show business. The cast is phenomenal - with a lot of cross overs from exec. producer/co-creator Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars, including Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino and Ryan Hansen, who all appeared on the CW series. Adam Scott's failed actor Henry is the sarcastic, depressive realist that anchors the show, that is otherwise filled with pipe-dreaming wacky losers who, for the most part, have no clue that they actually are losers. Henry is haunted throughout the series by one beer commercial he starred in that created a nationwide catchphrase, ala Whazzzzup?! The most original aspect of the show is that every episode takes place at a different party event, ranging from corporate retreats to a Porn awards after party. This creates a great opportunity for amazing guest appearances. Two episodes not to miss are "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," which features guest stars J.K. Simmons (at his foul-mouthed best), Breckin Meyer and Joey Lauren Adams, and "Steve Guttenbergs Birthday" which of course features Veronica Mars alum Steve Guttenberg in a hilarious turn playing himself. Seriously this show is amazing and not to be missed.
Parks and Recreation: What can I say - the parks department of Pawnee Indiana won me over. Led by Amy Poehler's eternal optimist Leslie Knope, the employees of this small town government office are all equal parts quirky and genuine, with a bit of crazy thrown in for good measure. According to my political science geek husband, the depiction of small town politics is surprisingly realistic. To me, though, the reason the show works is that it manages to be funny with a heart - without being overly sappy. And the depiction of the friendship between Leslie and Ann Perkins (played by the lovely Rashida Jones) is the most honest look at true female relationships I have ever seen on television (I'm talking to you, Sex & the City.) Two episodes not to be missed: "Greg Pikitis" wherein Leslie and her cop boyfriend, guest star Louis C.K. attempt to take down the titular teenager who defaces Pawnee property every Halloween, and "Telethon" which features Leslie on a crazy sugar high from eating Sweetums bars and the amazing crash that follows; BONUS - the episode was written by Amy Poehler. The first season starts off slow but season 2 and 3 are not to be missed. Unfortunately season 3 is not yet on instant, but once it is, it is totally worth marathoning!