NBC has lost its last good show. And it was over much too quickly.
On Tuesday, the series finale of NBC’s last hope, aka “Parks and Recreation,” aired, leaving me in a jumble of ?sorrow on the floor.
What began as something like “The Office Part II” quickly became one of NBC’s most beloved shows. But it was treated unfairly in its final season — the final 12 episodes aired in six weeks, which, frankly, was not enough time for me to say goodbye.
Not a just farewell on the network’s part, if you ask me.
NBC has lost its spark in recent years. In this columnist’s opinion, “Parks and Rec” was its last great sitcom, and maybe, just maybe, the last great sitcom, period.
Historically, sitcoms have aired almost exclusively on network TV. With the advent of streaming options producing original content combined with the dramatic increase in cable and premium networks doing the same, there’s little reason to watch network TV.
Network TV is censored and relies on advertising. This limits the type of content they can air. Cable TV operates similarly, although censoring plays a lesser role. But premium TV, such as HBO and Showtime, and streaming, such as Netflix and Amazon, aren’t burdened by either. So the type of content they can produce is virtually limitless.
I think it’s pretty clear who’s going to win here.
Furthermore, the line between premium and streaming is blurring. HBO and Showtime both plan to release stand-alone streaming services this year that don’t require a TV subscription.
This puts them on the same level as Netflix and Amazon.
Network TV is lagging behind in this game. CBS launched a similar streaming service last year called “CBS All Access” that streams some live programming and more than 5,000 episodes of past and current shows. Not surprisingly, CBS is “America’s Most-Watched Network.”
But it doesn’t matter how much content they’re streaming if the content is severely limited. And it is.
Why watch some tame, redundant family sitcom on ABC if you can get something racy and untamed on HBO? Hello, life is profane and unpredictable, and if art is meant to imitate life, it can’t be ?censored by the FCC.
So was “Parks and Rec” the last great sitcom because it was truly great? Or was it the last great sitcom just because it was the last, a mere product of nostalgia? Both.
It was a true underdog saga with earnest characters and sharp wit. And not to mention it employed a protagonist, Leslie Knope, who had the demeanor of that woman you know from your hometown who embodied something so special that you just couldn’t help but root for her to climb as high as she could.
But it was also great because it was the last entry into the canon of a dying art form.
When people think of great sitcoms, they will no doubt think of “Parks and Rec,” and it will be the latest one that comes to mind.
It’s kind of sad. I’m kind of sad. I grew up with sitcoms. But mostly I grew up with ?reruns of sitcoms.
Yes, the sitcom will live on. In our hearts, in syndication, in our Netflix queues. But there won’t be any great ones.