NBC comedy hits close to home

January 20, 2011

What happens when the government spends too much? NBC’s Parks and Recreation, which returns tonight after an eight-month hiatus, gives us the Hollywood version of a problem that is all-too-real for cities across the nation.

When we last left the fictional city of Pawnee’s Department of Parks and Recreation, it was in the middle of a government spending crisis: the city had gone bankrupt, the government has been shut down, and the only way to fix the problem was to cut every city department’s budget – by nearly half!

Excerpt from last season:

Ben: So, I’d like to talk about where you think there’s waste within your department.

Leslie: Psh, there is none.

Ron: Psh, where do I start?

Ron: What exactly will you be cutting and how much of it and can I watch you do it while eating pork cracklers?

Ben: Okay, lets start with personal. What can you tell me about Gerry Gergich?

Leslie: He is one of the best people on the planet. He is universally adored here, if you fired him there would be a revolt.

Ben: Okay, you need to understand that just to keep this town afloat we probably have to cut the budget of every department by 40 or 50 percent.

Leslie: Well, but Chris said that you just had to, ya know, tinker with things.

Ben: Yeah he said that because that sounds a lot better than, “We’re going to gut it with a machete.”

While the show provides an over-the-top-funny portrayal of Pawnee’s budget crisis, changes are slim real cities in similar situations will find much to enjoy in dealing with their own fiscal crises.

The moral of this comparison? Don’t end up like Pawnee. Recognize the severity of the situation, and start making the tough — but critical – spending cuts before it’s too late.

Above excerpt @ 10:15:

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