2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Parks and Recreation: The Mockumentary Effect
Sara E. Hettel
Dr. Mark Smith, Faculty Mentor

This critical analysis utilizes Nichols's and Hight's (2010) definitions of reflexivity and mockumentaries in order to dissect select moments from each season of NBC's Parks and Recreation in terms of character development, audience interaction and audience inclusivity. A key finding in this study is that had the show been constructed as a traditional situation comedy, characters would likely be misconstrued and elements of dry, slapstick comedy would disappear. Parks and Rec flourished during seasons two through five (as shown by Metacritic's User Scores). Seasons six and seven have produced the lowest User Scores of the entire series, which may be partly attributed to producer Michael Schur's "big middle finger" to the mockumentary style, as he was quoted in Entertainment Weekly. In sum, this paper demonstrates Parks and Rec's ability to connect with the audience utilizing a reflexive mockumentary style that was prevalent in its early years of production.

Keywords: mockumentary, reflexivity, Parks and Recreation


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 209-3
Location: VH 1328
Time: 11:30

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