After an enjoyable but inconsistent first year, 'Parks and Recreation''s second season sees the show getting into its magnificent stride, with plenty of wonderful one-liners, excellent character development, and some incisive and genuinely hilarious plotlines. For the uniniatiated, it's fine to skip the first season - as fun as a lot of it is - as there's nothing in Season 2 which will confuse those who haven't seen the previous season. The show centers around the Parks and Recreation Department, a Government branch in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana - "the fourth fattest city in America", a city filled to the brim with bizarre locals and a history of oppression to the Native Americans. Pawnee provides an excellent backdrop for some of the best characters and dialogue of any recent U.S. sitcom (no surprise considering the show's creators were behind 'The Office' [US]). At the head of the show is the earnest, excitable and sometimes competent Leslie Knope, deputy-director of the department, surrounded in the office by a hilariously macho boss, a sulky intern, and a married flirt who fancies himself as a style mogul, and turns up to a halloween party dressed as T. Pain (Tom Haverford, excellently played by stand-up comic Aziz Ansari).
For the initiated, Season 2 is the best so far from 'Parks and Recreation'. The character development, especially on the front of the previously rather one-dimensional April, and perennial joker Tom Haverford, is exceptional, and genuinely moving. The comedy is still the show's bread and butter, though, and from Leslie inadvertantly promoting gay Penguin marriage ('Pawnee Zoo'), to Leslie providing Tom with money for a stripper, and the appearance of ultra-sleazy would-be playboy Jean-Ralphio, who invites Donna to a club, "either in your Mercedes-Benz or my pre-owned Acura Legend" ('Woman of the Year'), it is absolute gold. There isn't really anything I can say wrong about Season 2 of 'Parks and Rec'. With the exception of one poor, borderline offensive episode ('Sister City'), there's nothing here not to love. From surprising new relationships, to Ron wearing a fur-lined hat, it's all great. A wealth of deleted scenes, insightful commentaries, and an extended version of a few episodes, is just an added bonus.