Friday, August 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Parks and Rec’ mulls merits of modern men

decicco column sig

By
From page B1 | March 14, 2014 |

For a show with a woman as its protagonist, NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” has a lot to say about being a modern man.

The sitcom, which began life as a spinoff of “The Office,” has survived six seasons and seems poised for a seventh. The show has battled low ratings and annual questions about renewal throughout its run.

Although Amy Poehler shines as the show’s leading lady, former city councilwoman Leslie Knope, through its kaleidoscope of male characters, it shows the many shades of the modern man and masculinity.

While many bask in the alpha male glory of Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson, the show offers a hodgepodge of male archetypes, from Swanson, who tends toward classic male traits, to thirtysomething man-child Andy Dwyer, played by Chris Pratt.

Where it makes them compelling is the details. Swanson, a woodworking, libertarian carnivore with an avowed aversion to displays of affection and hard work, is not given to the audience as a bulldozing tank of manliness. He did win Indiana Woman of the Year once, after all.

For all of Swanson’s old-school testosterone, he shrinks in the company of a self-possessed woman. Of his two ex-wives named Tammy, one turns him into a sex-crazed maniac while the other regresses him to an eager-to-please boy.

He enjoys working with Knope, a take-charge politician who aspires to prominent political heights. The two are often at opposite ends of the spectrum, but also share the sweetness of siblings.

Also unlike Swanson is Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger, an effervescent health nut. The two faced situations which should end disastrously, but managed to find a happy medium, such as wager over managerial skills in which the only clear winner was Dwyer’s wife, April.

The show refuses to elevate Traeger or Swanson over the other, giving both of them opportunities to be the butt of the joke as well as the victor.

Another ongoing commentary on manliness is Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford, a chic entrepreneur who is sometimes as overeager in business as he is in pursuing women. Though often oppressive in his flirting and misguided as a businessman, Haverford has grown and shown maturity in later seasons, opening a profitable clothes rental business and dating a doctor.

Even Jim O’Heir’s Jerry Gergich, the lightning rod for his colleagues’ electric zingers, is given moments of sweet redemption, such as the touching reveal that he absorbs their charges because he values his home life much more.

While there are cartoonish moments for them all, Knope’s husband, Ben Wyatt, played by Adam Scott, tends to feel the most down to earth and realistic.

Wyatt is perhaps the show’s most well-developed man because, while he fits comfortably inside of Knope’s universe, he also has his own ambitions, directions and purpose. He doesn’t bend to his wife’s every whim and she doesn’t bend to his. He’s dealt with difficulty in his career – a disastrous, town-bankrupting turn as mayor in Minnesota at age 18 – but learned to mature, compromise and progress as a politician and a person.

Because Wyatt and Knope demonstrate each other’s strengths as well as weaknesses, it explains why they’re often the show’s healthiest relationship, although the Dwyers also make an unusual but adorable, loving pair.

Wyatt, Swanson, Traeger, Dwyer, Gergich and Haverford make the show’s take on masculinity less about filling a prescribed role than about simply being oneself. More than anything, that is the emotional truth of the array of men on “Parks and Recreation.”

Because it does such great creative service to all of its men, showing them as flawed as well as triumphant, it never holds any one above the others for long, underscoring that no one is greater than another, just different.

It may not be the most complicated of insights, but like the show’s point about being true to oneself, at least it’s genuine.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Hood-Courtland: Small towns boast interesting facts

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

 
Vallejo Symphony launches new season Sept. 21

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Opponents: State water plan will destroy Delta

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New role for symphony conductor begins next year

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Prolific pears rule Courtland area

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
1 critical after 2 shot at Fairfield bus stop

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Dare Devil Chaos Coaster set for Six Flags debut in 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Vallejo festival will celebrate Wilderness Act anniversary

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Candace Lightner: Founder of MADD, Armijo grad

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Police in Vacaville schedule DUI checkpoint

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Suisun police plan holiday weekend checkpoint

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
No plea as Vacaville homicide suspect appears in court

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Vacaville man convicted of fifth DUI

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
Accused park shooters set for probable cause hearing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Solano continues to deal with earthquake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Bunting earns praise for role in paint case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Weather for Aug. 29, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Mom won’t be charged in school confrontation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California Supreme Court pick confirmed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

High school buddies followed similar path to jihad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drugs killed Oklahoma inmate in troubled execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

4 killed in New Mexico crash of medical flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
US rebukes Oklahoma for ditching school standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Suit claims police brutality at Ferguson protests

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Flight diverts to Boston over reclined-seat upset

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Testimony wraps up in former Va. governor trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Obama sets no timeline for action on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Obama rules out US military action in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
UN Security Council meets on Ukraine crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Russian columns enter Ukraine; leader urges calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
A look at the Islamic State militants in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Jihadists kill dozens of captured Syrian soldiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
UN: Ebola disease caseload could reach 20,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Attempt to call missing jet may alter search area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Europe seeks role in postwar Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

More ways to help stop bullies

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
How about keeping our ISIS plan secret?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

What should the US do about the Islamic State?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

How do I deal with my overweight cousin who smells like cat urine?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 29-Sept. 4

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘As Above’ so-so

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Ex-007 actor spying again in ‘Nov. Man’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: The case against binge-watching TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Entertainment calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Jolie, Pitt wed privately at chateau in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Sports

Prep football preview: Rio Vista looks to get back to playoffs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Angels rally in 10th for 4-3 win over Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Record-setting Petit leads Giants past Rockies 4-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Carr’s 3 TDs lead Raiders past Seahawks 41-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Rise in flags makes NFL defenders wary of contact

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

After Rice, NFL increases domestic violence bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
USC coach accepts some blame in Shaw situation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Williams overcomes 3 early double-faults to win at U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Mickelson in a bind with 4 straight playoff events

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Weakened US team aims for world basketball title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local youngster will play baseball on national stage

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

Week Zero prep football capsules

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Stewart returning to competition after fatal crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

This date in sports history for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Power looks for elusive IndyCar title at Fontana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Business

M235i revives classic BMW memories

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.1 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Obama touts revised economic growth numbers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US economy grew at brisk 4.2 pct. rate in Q2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ukraine conflict weighs on markets; Retailers fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Apple to unveil next products at Sept. 9 event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lois C. Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13