At the press tour (remember those?) NBC finally revealed the premise of what was originally called “The Office Spinoff,” but long ago turned into an unrelated show (“Untitled Amy Poehler Project”) filmed in the same style. The show, which still doesn’t have a title, will try to do for government what The Office did for business, with Aubrey Plaza joining the previously-announced Poehler, Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari.
Cameras follow Leslie Knope (Poehler), described as a “mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.”
…In the show, Leslie attempts to improve her town and advance her career by helping a local nurse (Rashida Jones, “The Office”) turn a construction pit into a park. They’re opposed by defensive bureaucrats, NIMBY neighbors and developers. She’s helped and hindered by Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, “Human Giant,” “Scrubs”), another government official.
This is the kind of premise that is more frequently seen in British TV than American (not to mention Canadian TV, which denies the existence of Canadian government altogether). When U.S. TV does government, it’s usually to focus on the most glamorous, high-pressure jobs. The British are more likely to focus on bureaucracy and the frustrations of trying to get anything done in government; Yes, Minister is the most famous show in that genre. Given the British origins of The Office, it seems appropriate that Greg Daniels and Michael Schur would choose such a British-sounding premise for its first U.S. follow-up