Sophomore settles debate over The Office and Parks and Rec


It’s time to settle a debate: which is the better show, The Office or Parks and Recreation?



Parks and Recreation and The Office are both workplace mockumentaries produced by NBC. The Office is the older show, and it is generally accepted that Parks and Recreation was created because of the success The Office had when it was still on TV. Both shows are now off the air, with all of their episodes available to stream on Netflix. For those of you who have never seen either show, I’ll give you a rundown of each and help you decide what you’ll inevitably be binge watching sometime over Spring Break.


  1. Story

While Parks and Recreation has some story arcs such as the pit and Ben and Leslie’s marriage, the episode arcs from The Office are longer and more meaningful. There is the story about Pam and Jim eventually getting married, which lasts for pretty much the entire show. The Office also has shorter arcs, like Ryan’s attempts to modernize Dunder Mifflin and Charles Miner’s run as regional manager during the fifth season.

Advantage: The Office


  1. Cast

Parks and Recreation wins this category by a mile. The Office does have a talented cast, but their best known actors are probably Steve Carell and Ed Helms, neither of whom appear in every season. Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation has Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman, to name a few. Both shows have Rashida Jones, but her character in The Office is only in seasons three and four.

Advantage: Parks and Recreation


  1. Characters

Parks and Recreation’s most memorable characters are by far Ron Swanson, and Leslie Knope. The Office has Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and Pam and Jim Halpert. While Ron Swanson has some legendary lines and sequences, the interactions between Jim and Dwight are some of the best parts of The Office, and Michael’s quotes are always hilarious.

Advantage: The Office


  1. Humor

Both shows have running jokes that make them more enjoyable. There’s the general dislike of Toby in The Office and Jim’s obsession with pranking Dwight. In Parks and Rec. you have Ron’s continuous love of breakfast food and Tom Haverford’s endless supply of invention ideas. The awkward moments The Office supplies definitely outweigh the humor of Parks and Rec. From Dwight’s handling of health care benefits to the iconic “Scott’s Tots” episode where Michael is unable to fulfill his promise of paying college tuition for a class of high school seniors, The Office is full of funny and embarrassing moments.

Advantage: The Office


  1. Memorable Episodes

The Office and Parks and Recreation both have great episodes. In The Office, some of my favorites are Dinner Party, Murder, The Fire and Fun Run. As for Parks and Recreation, who could forget Flu Season, Telethon, and the season-six premiere: London. Most of the better Parks and Rec. episodes include Leslie being in some kind of different location or physical state. But The Office can be about literally anything and still deliver laughs, and a good number of the best episodes take place during a normal day.

Advantage: The Office


  1. Longevity

In Parks and Rec., the show seems to improve as time passes. Some people would even argue that Parks and Rec. quit while it was still ahead and could have had one or two more seasons. I think this is in reverse for The Office, as most people would say that the glory days of the show occur in seasons two and three. The general consensus is that The Office significantly drops off after Michael leaves at the end of season seven. However, I believe that the show instantly becomes worse when Dunder Mifflin is bought by Sabre. This change introduces characters that are mostly unfunny, such as Gabe Wallace, Robert California and Jo Bennett. The episodes in season eight and nine are some of the worst of the series, except for the last few of season nine that lead up to the finale. While The Office had more seasons, Parks and Rec. knew when it was time to go off the air.

Advantage: Parks and Recreation

  1. Ratings and Awards

More than 11 million people watched the first episode of The Office, while just a little fewer than seven million tuned in for the pilot of Parks and Rec. The ratings for The Office skyrocketed when season two began before reaching its peak in season five and dropping each season after that. As for Parks and Rec., the first season actually had the best ratings of the entire show, and ratings generally dropped after that before going up again in the final season. The Office received 42 Emmy nominations and won five, while Parks and Rec. only got two and never won an Emmy. Amy Poehler and Steve Carell each won Golden Globes for their portrayals of Leslie Knope and Michael Scott.

Advantage: The Office


The Verdict: The Office

Though The Office did win in five out of the seven categories, I could have thrown them all away and it still would have won. What this debate comes down to is the fact that The Office is a television classic, while Parks and Recreation doesn’t even come close. I think Parks and Rec. is kind of like The Office’s little brother that is desperately trying to outshine their older sibling. To me, the decision is simple. Give me The Office.